When first installing a custom ROM, google play is not pre-installed (due to legalities) and so it is up to the user to install the gapps pack through their bootloader. I cannot tell you how much happier I am because I’ve opted out on the option to have Google Play services running on my phone. Instead I have an app called Yalp Store which gives me the same functionality as Google Play, allowing me to install apps while maintaining privacy and a slow-down free phone. Here’s how you can do the same:
The first thing we need to do is download the app. If you’ve just installed a custom ROM without the Gapps package, you’re going to have to download the .apk from a web browser of your choice. Android has a security feature that stops the installation of apps from unknown sources (such as web browser) so we’ll have to disable that. To do this we have to navigate to our settings app, tap on security and scroll down until we come across “Unkown Sources”. Flick the switch to on and we’re ready to go!
Great, so now we have to actually download the app and use it. Downloading the app is simple, like I said before, you can use the browser of your choice and download the app from this website (scroll down to where it says “Download APK” or just click here for the direct download). Now if you’ve downloaded the APK from your computer, you’re obviously going to have to put it on your phone’s storage.
Once complete, we have to install the app. Installing the app is straightforward. Using the file manager of your choice, on your phone, locate your downloads folder and tap on the .apk file. It should ask you if you wish to install and you just have to go ahead and hit install. Awesome.
Start up the app from your home-screen. Tap on the search bar in the upper right corner and search for an app you wish to install. The app will then ask you if you wish to log in with your own Google account or using a fake Yalp store ID. I prefer to use the Yalp store ID as it adds privacy. Now, select the app you wish to install and hit download. The app will download and you will get a notification that the download is complete and you must “tap to install”. That’s it! Congratulations! Bye bye Google! Please note however, that not all apps will work. They will install fine but they will say that “Google Play Services” is required to run the app. If you leave a comment with the app you’re trying to run, I can try and find a work-around for you as I did with Instagram (known as just ignoring the pop-up and logging in anyway).
There are some extra functionalities that Yalp store can do. If we go back to “Your Apps”, we can check for updates and install them by tapping on the bar at the bottom saying “Check for Updates” and hitting “Update All” (note that you’re going to have to “touch to install” for this). Alternatively, you can tap the three dots in the top right corner, hit “Updates” and tap on “Update all” and do the same as above. If you go into the settings panel by tapping on the three dots in the upper-right corner, and scroll down to where it says “Install apps immediately”, check it. This way, you don’t have to always go to tap on the “download complete” notification to install the app. Just below that is another option called “Delete .apk after installation”, check that also. This way, instead of keeping the installer for the app after its finished downloading and installing, Yalp store deletes it resulting in more space for your other doo-hickies.
Sometimes, Yalp store won’t let you “touch to install”, especially with updates. To remedy this, you can go into your downloads folder and install each APK by tapping on it and installing (note, you’ll have to delete the downloaded APKs manually), (this is the preferred method). You can also go into “Your Apps” and manually tap on each one and hit install (this is for updates only). Also, make sure to update Yalp store frequently either by using the Fdroid app, downloading Yalp store from your browser again or just tapping on the three dots and selecting Updates, then finding Yalp store and hitting install.