LineageOS and G-apps
What are G-apps?
LineageOS got its start when Cyanogen was released in 2009 for the HTC smartphones “Dream” and “Magic”. In the
Google has been known for its dynamic approach towards technology and therefore along with their search engine they have managed to introduce other extremely powerful tools. These tools are aimed at enhancing the user experience and allowing them to get more out of their devices. These tools come pre-installed on most Android devices and include Gmail, Play Store, Google Chrome, Google Calendar, and much more. Gapps or Google Applications refer to such apps offered by Google.
G-apps packages are an integral part of the Android custom ROM landscape since many custom ROMs do not support official google applications. There are several Gapps packages available for people to download and install on their unlocked Android device.
Google Apps and LineageOS
One of the major reasons for the emergence of custom ROMs is the tracking and security issues that have plagued the official Android OS. Custom ROMs such as LineageOS, have been built with the user’s security as a priority and hence do not include G-apps by default. However, G-apps offer a ton of utility and the lack of these applications can sour a user’s experience.
Lineage OS does not ship with Google Applications to ensure better security. However, you can easily install Google Apps on your LineageOS device to extract similar productivity as a normal Android device. Nevertheless, LineageOS allows users to use their devices completely Google-free.
Why should you use Gapps?
Gapps allow users to carry out technologically complicated tasks with extreme ease and enhance their productivity. Some of the biggest advantages of G-apps are:
- Access to other apps: With Gapps, users have access to the Google Play Store and can easily download third-party apps as it offers one of the largest libraries of mobile applications. Without Google Play it can be quite difficult to download the applications you need.
- Better coordination between Users: Google Apps makes collaborating with others super simple. It allows users to create and modify documents in real-time, conduct video calls, share work, access apps developed by different developers, among other things.
- Reliable Google Apps are an extremely reliable set of tools and have proven to be able to handle strenuous tasks.
- Convenient: The data is often stored online with Google Apps and therefore the files are easy to store and are readily available for use on multiple devices.
- Internet Connection is mandatory: It is significant to note that while a user operates Gapps everything is hosted on the cloud. This means, to access such services the user will require an internet connection.
- Security: Whenever data is stored online the security associated with it can be questioned as it is tough to rival the security of a physical locker. Historically, cloud storage has been a subject of unsolicited attacks by third parties, as well as data breaches by the host.
As discussed earlier, most of the stock ROMs have Google Apps pre-installed. However, if your device does not have these you can easily download them through the Google Play Store.
On the hand, AOSP (Android Open Source Project) based custom ROMs do not have Google Apps due to licensing restrictions. Therefore, in order to use Gapps on such ROMs, it is required that the apps are installed separately via custom recovery. It is further important to note that every time a user installs a new custom ROM these apps need to be re-downloaded. Custom ROMs such as LineageOS for microG (hyperlinked to alternatives page) include G-apps as part of the ROM making it easier for users to enjoy the utility these apps provide. However, most custom ROMs will require users to go through the process manually.
There are various different Gapps packages available to select from. Users can choose to install packages that only include the essentials such as the Play Store, Gmail, etc. or they can install packages that offer many Google apps at once. You can find a list of a few different variants of Gapps packages here.
You can find instructions for installing G-apps on your device here.
Have you used Gapps on your LineageOS device? If so, please share your experience in the comments. And if you haven’t please let us know why!