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So I'm finally diving into the custom ROM world after experiencing some issues on CM12.1 on my OnePlus One. I have a question though that googling couldn't answer. If I flash only the essential Google stuff : play store, play services, etc, and then install the rest of Google apps from the play store, how would that be different from flashing the full Google apps package? Apart from, of course, using space that would have otherwise been used on the system partition.

I'm especially interested in this as there are a lot of Google apps I never use. I'm aware of the existence of smaller sized Gapps packages but none have the combination of apps I want.

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You can go ahead and flash Gapps Pico (Google system Base, Google play services, Google play store) which contains apps that are essential for Google Play-store support. You can later install other Google apps which fit your need.
You can refer to the image below to find if there is any package that fits your need.

gapps comparison chart

Click to enlarge. source:androidrootz

Alternatively, if you are not satisfied, you can install the Complete Gapps package and simply uninstall whichever apps you don't need by Root Uninstaller

  • Yes, I'm aware that smaller Gapps packages are available. What I wanted to know was whether this approach (pico Gapps + play store install) would lead to reduced functionality compared to flashing all Google apps. Is there a particular reason why Google apps are flashed in the system partition? – chaalu Sep 17 '15 at 14:12
  • @chaalu You can't uninstall system apps (by normal means), which is good for apps like the play store/services etc. But not apps like Google Earth (unless you don't mind) No other differences, really. – Rhaegar Sep 17 '15 at 14:46
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    @chaalu Flashing gapps from recovery just installs the app as System-app which restricts uninstallation by clicking on uninstall in settings. As far as I know, no other difference, really. – Manubhargav Sep 17 '15 at 15:17
  • @chaalu, the functionality wouldn't be reduced. But your question asking that particular reason is good. Consider editing your question and ask it there. – Firelord Sep 17 '15 at 19:23
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Flashing Gapps is just a process, with the same outcome. You would flash Gapps regardless of which downloaded Gapps package you want. Typical you flash your 1. ROM 2.Gapps at the same time so when have at least Play Services and Store. Most ROM's only have their apps for the OS, not Google. So from a lot of trial and error with of flashing ROM's without Gapps or the "wrong" Gapps it is a pain to recover if you are doing this as a standalone process (without a computer). The way your Gapps are configured far as the system or not is not an issue, you are rooted so you can change that how every you want.

Answer your question, Yes you can just uninstall whichever you wont or add later. You can flash over the top of your first flash and it will add the missing Gapps. So download a couple to have on hand.

There is only one reason to flash your Gapps over installing one by one from Play Store or third-party that I can think of. I just did an Android 7.01 update on custom Rom and I had to flash the Gapps with a patch for the 7.01 to work due to the early release.

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