App lounge not working

After months of avoiding the app lounge by just downloading most apps drectly from gitlab or github, i just cleared data and cache in order to jumpstart it working again.

Upon startup it can’t find a connection (via orbot or directly), claims it cant login anonymously due to a bad connection, yet it somehow recognizes some of my apps downloaded, allows me to click “update”, downloads updates, then fails to install them despite the storage clearly having been increased by the download.

My questions:
where are the downloads so that i can try to install them directly? (I didn’t find them in the apps folder (temp or otherwise) inside the android’s data folder)
Short of allowing apps and (or any form of google) to have unfettered access to my phone, hoe can i download and install the apps?
Why won’t downloads directly from github/lab work sometimes? {Downloads but install fails)

Thanks if you have any advice!

Edit for errors:

When clicking install or update for rethinkdns: “width and height must be >0” and separately “imageview must be null”
Sounds like someone installed a screen overlay on my device doesn’t it…?? I do get very odd dns name requests a few times a day (having random strings followed by arpa)

Everytime i search app lounge for any app specifically, it crashes.

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