Custom ROMs sometimes have the tags GApps and Vanilla, what do they mean, what’s GApps and what is Vanilla? GApps is Google Apps packages, all in one flashable zip file, while Vanilla is barebones stock Android. Waiting for you to be customized. GApps is a must-have if you store all of your data in sync. Vanilla can be used if you are all about your privacy.
GApps and Vanilla: The Open GApps Project.
In the years when Android was first released, there was already OEM software, software that already contains everything for the end user’s usage. And there were also Custom ROMs like CyanogenMod or so, which was mainly focusing on being the better android by having close to no Google Applications inside.
The Open GApps Project, which started its way in 2015 till now, has had a great impact on the Custom ROM community. OpenGApps had GApps starting from Android 4.4 till Android 11. They are kind of late in the industry of Custom ROMs now, which is why they are migrating to Sourceforge, instead of using their servers. This might be the reason that OpenGApps is slow in making new GApps on new Android releases. Here’s the link for OpenGApps.
There are alternatives to OpenGApps. Which are the community’s favorites. Let’s see what they are.
Speaking of GApps and Vanilla, LineageOS is the resurrection of what CyanogenMod was at the time. Most of the devs from CyanogenMod have migrated their ways on LineageOS, but some of them also work on OEM ROMs like OneUI, there is CyanogenMod influence, even in the OEM ROMs nowadays. MindTheGApps only and only has the user package, which has most of the Google Apps inside, ready to be flashed and uses as is. MindTheGApps is highly recommended by LineageOS developers. Here is the link for MindTheGApps.
For the people that don’t have enough system space, or cannot have a system space mounted on recovery at all. LiteGApps is here for you. LiteGApps can be flashed as a Magisk module and still be used as normal GApps. It still has bugs here and there, such as contacts not syncing, Whatsapp backup not working, etc. Those all have workarounds in their Telegram group. LiteGApps is a lifesaver. And it’s also heavily tweakable! Here is the link for LiteGApps.
FlameGApps is the third most-used GApps in the Custom ROM community. It is highly stable and highly recommend. FlameGApps have all the packages for all users, starting with Basic and Full. The basic package only gives the basic apps that make GApps work without any bugs whatsoever, while the Full package makes your Vanilla Custom ROM so close to making the user experience like a Pixel phone. Here is the link to FlameGApps.
The Custom ROM that already comes with GApps
Those Custom ROMs won’t need any GApps to be flashed in the first place and give the most stable user experience you can find on a custom ROM. One of those ROMs is Pixel Experience. Pixel Experience is one of the highest-rated and most-used Custom ROM of all time, mainly because it makes your phone’s user experience almost like a Google Pixel device, hence the name. You can click on Pixel Experience and see if your device is supported by clicking here.
Vanilla ROMs are mostly for the people that don’t want Google services to be on their tails. And Vanilla can be customized by the user however they would like, it can be used as FOSS, It can be used with GApps. Most users that want FOSS software are using Vanilla ROMs such as LineageOS, /e/, GrapheneOS, and AOSP in general. You can check on our articles about /e/ by clicking here, and see about the best 3 privacy-focused ROMs by clicking here.
GApps and Vanilla: The Verdict
GApps and Vanilla ROMs both are great, giving the user both experiences of a fully working Google-ified user experience, and also the most private user experience ever. The people that don’t use social media apps don’t have backups, or use the modded version of those social media apps, mostly prefer Vanilla. The users that are using the raw versions of the social media apps, taking backups up to their contacts, their emails, and more else might want to use GApps. GApps help the user to make their experience autonomous by syncing every single service into the Google servers. This is the way how GApps and Vanilla ROMs work.