Huawei Mate 30 pro is out and does not have apps and services from the Big G pre-installed. Here is a quick guide on using an Android phone without Google Services. Hint: it isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro is a cutting edge premium smartphone with impressive specs. A big display, flashy body finish, and outstanding multimedia capabilities stand it out. But sometyhing else stands it out in the ocean of Android smartphones of 2019: it does not have Google Mobile Services (GMS) pre-installed.
What does that mean? Here is a quick primer: this year, the US government placed Huawei on a trade ban list, effectively barring US companies from selling products and services to Huawei. Android OS is open source, so anyone, including Huawei, can use it. But Google Services – the part of Android that uses Googles core services like Play Store, Gmail and Youtube and Maps – and also the very part that makes mining your personal data so efficiently – is not. It is a licensed service owned entirely by Google. See this article for a more detailed explanation.
The trade ban means that Google cannot license GMS to Huawei. Are you following me so far? Cool. So, instead of using an alternative operating system, Huawei decides, “Hell yeah! We are going to keep using Android OS.” But they can’t get their hands on GMS. The Huawei Mate 30 is the first smartpone affected by that US trade ban.
What we have here is a full Android smartphone – you can install and use Android apps – but one that does niot mine your personal data (which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it), and that does not include Google’s apps. Primer over.
Using an Android phone without Google Services
Let’s get down to the different ways of using an Android phone (in this case, Huawei Mate 30 Pro) without Google Services.
Install a 3rd party app store and live happily ever after
One, you can free yourself completely from Google’s data farm and privacy issues by using the phone as is. Just install one of the available 3rd party app stores, so you can have access to the apps you need. Huawei’s own APpGallery is there for you, but it isn’t quite up there.
Note that even if you are able to install Google apps from those stores, they might not function properly because Google services are still missing. In other words: enjoy life and breathe knowing that you are not being tracked, your contacts are not being read, etc, etc, and be happy.
Billions of people in China use Android that way: without Google services – and they have not died. Though, in their case, it is more of exchanging one veil for the other. Who needs Google and Facebook snooping through their lives when their own government does it so flagrantly? But who says that certain a Western government does not snoop too? Anyway, in your own case, if you choose to use the Mate 30 Pro without Google services, you are free from Google and Facebook and others milking your privacy for big bucks. Hallelujah!
Install MicroG to add Google’s framework
But you might be one of those who want Huawei’s cutting edge hardware but your life and work depend on apps that require Google services to function well. Social networks, music streaming services, popular games, most navigation tools, cloud storage providers, video streaming sites, and others more need to be able to access your contacts and location (and everything else under the sun) to work well. If you absolutely need to use those, you might want to consider installing MicroG.
What the heck is that, you may ask? MicroG adds the core Google framework to your Android smartphone while leaving out the part that mines your data. Or so they say. MicroG is used in 3rd party/custom Android ROMs that are designed for freedom from Google. Personally, I am not sure how much freedom this gets you. You are likely to install Google apps anyway, and those still milk and mine your private data.
But you want Google services on your phone, and perhaps the easiest way to get it is to install MicroG. The catch is that the process is not consumer-friendly. It is technical. Do you know what the terms “unlocked bootloader”, “custom recovery” installed, and “custom ROM installed” mean? If you don’t, chances are that you are not technical enough to follow the convoluted steps to install MicroG on your non-Google Android phone. Move on.
Root the Android phone to install Google Services
Another option, if you need to use all those apps, is to root the Huawei Mate 30 Pro to install Google Mobile Services. But chnaces are that if you are not technical enough to install MicroG, you are not technical enough to do this either. The process looks more like speaking Klingon than English.
Flashback to Windows Mobile 10
So, bottomline, buying the Huawei Mate 30 Pro means using an Android phone without Google services. And, to be honest, it isn’t such a bad idea. I used the Lumia 950 for a few years without Google, and I did not die. If you have used Windows Mobile 10, you will remember that Google refused to give Microsoft to use their services.
I lived productively and the Lumia 950 served well. i still have it till now. Remember my article, You have to pry the Lumia 950 out of my cold, dead hands!? Yes; I meant every word. That phone is bae.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is a different beast, yet to similar to the Lumia 950 in many ways. For one, it is a great camera phone, and you can install most Android apps. Can you live with it? Can you live with using an Android phone without Google services? Your call.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.