Your Android phone didn’t ship with Google applications (GAPPS)? Here’s how to fix this in 3 easy steps

Google applications otherwise known as GAPPS are Google branded apps which often ship with Android phones. Some examples are:

  • Gmail
  • Google+
  • Youtube
  • Chrome

You’ll usually realize your Android phone doesn’t have Gapps by the absence of Google Play Store and Google Play Services.

Why are Gapps missing on my Android phone?

Most of the phones I’ve experienced this on were Chinese variants of the models. I’ve recently encountered Coolpad, Gionee and Lenovo phones encountering this issue.

While I might not be able to tell why your OEM left out Gapps, I’ve noticed that the Chinese prefer to pre-install their own alternatives to Google apps; alternatives I find somewhat annoying (maybe because I don’t understand Chinese).

Can’t I just download and install the apks?

Contrary to what you might think, just downloading and trying to install the apks hardly ever works. That’s one of the causes of the Unfortunately, Google Play Services has stopped error.

Does my phone need to be rooted in order to install Gapps?

Well. not necessarily. The primary objective is to replace your phone’s stock recovery with a working custom recovery. If (for some reason), the only way to achieve this is by rooting first then I guess you’ll need to root.

How do I install Gapps on my Android phone?

There are 3 main steps in successfully installing Gapps to your Android phone

Step 1: Downloading the right

You first need to find out your Phone’s Processor / Platform (e.g ARM, ARM64, X86_64 or x86 etc) and Android version (e.g 4.4, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 7.0, 7.1 or 8.0 etc) using the procedure described here.

Armed with this info, head over to and tick the appropriate boxes for your Platform, Android version and Variant of Gapps you want (I usually recommend pico) then click the Download button

How to download Gapps

After downloading, copy the zip file to your phone’s Storage or SD card.

Step 2: Flashing a custom recovery

You need to replace the stock recovery on your phone with a custom recovery ported or built for your exact model. Using something else could corrupt your recovery partition or even brick the phone.

How you flash the recovery would depend on your phone’s Chipset i.e your choice to flash using a tool or via fastboot. If you’re unable to find a custom recovery for your model then you can request at the Hovatek Forum Android Development section. Just ensure to provide the phone’s

  1. Chipset
  2. Build Number
  3. Android version
  4. Stock recovery.img (and scatter file if Mediatek)

We’ll be happy to port one for you and explain how to flash the custom recovery.

Step 3: Flashing

At this point, I presume you have the right saved to your phone and a custom recovery installed. Now, boot your Android phone into recovery mode. If your custom recovery prompts you to install or fix root, select No.

In your custom recovery, tap Install, navigate to the location of the and select it. Ensure to confirm your intention to flash the zip file if prompted to then reboot the phone (to system).

Important Note!

Flashing from a custom recovery tends to brick certain protected / encrypted Android phones (even if you flashed the correct gapps package). For such devices:

  • Ensure the phone is rooted
  • Download the correct package for your device and unpack (using 7zip) to your PC
  • Install a root browser on the phone (e.g ES Explorer, ROM Toolbox Lite etc)
  • Copy the following folders from the unzipped and paste in System/priv-app folder of the phone; GoogleLoginService, GoogleServicesFramework, PrebuiltGmsCore, Phonesky
  • Long-press each and give all permissions (Read/Write/Location etc)
  • Reboot the device