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I installed CyanogenMod 11 about a half a year ago on my phone (Sony Xperia Z aka. yuga) and now I want to update to CM12 manually. I know how to do that but my question is: does the Recoverymode reset your phone if I choose "Install Zip", so do I have a new Android on my phone without any Apps, because in every install guide they're telling me to flash gApps again. I don't want do reinstall all my apps again and setup my phone again, because it's a lot of pain in the a**. Hope you understand my "problem"...

Thanks for your answers

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    Why not take backup of your apps and then flash from the scratch? I don't advise dirty flash. – Firelord Jul 11 '15 at 13:21
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    I agree with @Firelord here. As a side-effect, you've got a pretty clean system. But if you chose not to: unless you wipe manually, ROM-flashing usually does not (some images include that, but most do not). Still, I'd strongly advice to at least wipe cache and Dalvik/ART cache (will be rebuilt automatically). Apart from that, each ROM usually comes with instructions, which you should follow :) – Izzy Jul 11 '15 at 13:45
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To answer your question:

Installing the zip will delete (or change some apps) but not all. When you flash the zip it overwrites the "system" partition on your phone and so it changes which system apps are on your phone. Since google apps are system apps, but are not included in the CM zip, this is why you have to reflash gapps after because they get deleted. However, the zip does not overwrite the "data" partition which is where most of the user apps are (apps that you installed from the play store and such). But, flashing the zip without wiping the system and the "data" partition, and consequently all of your applications, is known as dirty flashing and is not recommended. It is especially not recommended when making a large jump such as from CM11 to CM12. Regardless, you should always perform a android backup before flashing anything just to be safe.

Now for a solution:

There are apps such as Titanium backup which allow you to back up your applications before wiping and flashing and then restore the applications once you've upgraded.

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