How To Install Incompatible Apps From Android Market For Unsupported Devices

Have you ever come across an app on Android Market that you really, really wanted to try but couldn’t since the app in question was incompatible with your Android device? With the fragmentation issues facing the platform, I’m pretty sure you have! Although there are some established ways to getting these apps to work on your device (like using ChainFire 3D for incompatible games), we came across a newer and more effective method today. Check it out after the break!

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So, is it possible to download incompatible apps from Market to my Android device?

There are always some promotions in Goolge Play Store.Now it’s 49 cents for some apps. Users with incompatible devices may want to download the on-sale apps for use with a newer, compatible device down the road.

The procedure is pretty simple: you have to edit your device’s build.prop file so that it appears to Google’s servers that you’re using a compatible device. For example, if you’ve got a shiny new HTC Rezound which isn’t compatible with, say, app XYZ, then you can change your device’s properties to a well-supported device like the Nexus S. Once the hack is applied successfully, you’ll be able to download the app as usual. Of course, the app may or may not actually work on your device, but that’s not our concern at the moment.

You will need to have an Android device with privileged (root) access to be able to change build.prop’s settings since it is a systemfile (which you normally don’t have access to).

Please be sure to take a nandroid backup using ClockworkMod Recovery (or ROM Manager) before going ahead. As with all sorts of hacks, business is risky and you do not want to be caught with a device stuck in bootloop.

DISCLAIMER: Redmond Pie will not be held responsible if you lose data or your device gets damaged in the following of this guide. Proceed at your own risk.

This hack doesn’t work for everyone, so it is rather hit-or-miss. We have seen reports of it working for people, so it may or may not work for you.

Step 1: Clear data from Settings > Applications > All > Market

Step 2: Download and install ES File Explorer [Market Link].

Step 3: Launch ES File Explorer. Enable both Root Explorer and Mount File System under Settings > Root Settings.

Step 4: Navigate to /system. Here you will find the build.prop file. Take a backup of it by copy-pasting it to your SD card.

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Step 5: Tap on build.prop > ES Note Editor. Make the following changes to ro.product.model and ro.product.manufacter:

Note: You can actually change this for any other device as well, by the way. We chose the Nexus S because it is the most supported phone.

ro.product.model = Nexus S

ro.product.manufacturer = samsung

SC20111212-211226

Step 6: After editing, hit the menu button and tap Save.

If you followed the steps correctly, you should now be able to purchase and download incompatible apps from Android Market from your device.

If, in case encountered any issue during operation, you may try with ADB to modify build.prop instead.  We need do:
– Connect PC and Phone via USB
– Use ADB to copy the Phone’s current build.prop text file to the PC
– Modify the build.prop file on the PC
– Use ADB to overwrite the Phone’s build.prop file with the one you have modified
– Reboot the Phone using ADB

Step 1: Download ADB tool and Extract it to the root of your Windows drive (C:\ in all probability).

Step 2: On your phone, go to Setttings>Applications>Development and turn USB debugging ON.

Step 3: Connect the phone to your pc with USB cable

Step 4: Go to “Run” or “Command Prompt” (depending on which Windows version you are using) and type “cmd”, return.

Step 5: type “ADB devices” and return. You should see something like “xxxx HTC device”. If you don’t see this, Windows is not communicating with the phone. Or you may be running Win 7 64bit…!

Step 6: type “ADB pull /system/build.prop c:\”

Step 7:
open the build.prop file in C:\ on your PC using Notepad or similar. You will need to use Wordwrap to view the file correctly (Format from the Menu bar)

Step 8: Modify build.prop file similar to above instructions. and save the file.

Step 9: type “ADB remount”

Step 10: type “ADB push c:\build.prop /system/”

Step 11: type “ADB reboot” and wait phone reboot.

And that’s it.

=========== Update on March 27, 2012 =============
The simplest solution is to install a hacked Google Play, which removed the limitation.

 

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  1. Any chance of an app that could automate this and give us a selection of devices to choose from? and then restore to true settings?

    Thanks
    Armisis

  2. Your instructions make no sense, step 2 says to download and install an app but I can’t download and install apps from your link which is the google play app store. That is why I am trying to fool google into thinking my device is something else, so i can download and install apps from google play.

    You are basically saying to use the exact service you are trying to hack into before you hack into it.

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