Good and EVOTips & Deals

How to install Android apps that are blocked on your device with almost no risk

Market Helper - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereOne of the most annoying things about Android is its fragmentation – not only between different versions of the OS running on different devices, but also the fragmentation of the Play Store. I’m talking about those apps that are invisible to certain Android devices for no good reason; they’d run fine on any old Android device, but for whatever reason, the app developer only makes them visible to certain devices.

Previously, it was possible to get around this particular restriction by simply editing the build.prop file – this is a text file that can only be edited if you have root access, and can lead to some unexpected results if you’re not careful. For example, people have had OTA updates fail because of an altered build.prop, and depending on what you change, your device might even become unstable. Additionally, while it’s always recommended to make a backup before editing anything at the system level of Android, lots of people don’t – and if you mess something up without having a backup, it can be painful or downright impossible to completely recover your device.

Luckily, I recently stumbled upon a root-only app that helps solve this problem. Called Market Helper, this app does precisely what you’d think it would: it makes the Google Play Store even better, by spoofing your Android device to download otherwise “incompatible” apps. Here’s how it works:

Simply open up the app, and grant it root access. Then choose which device you’d like to spoof: Right now, the only options are the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Amazon Kindle, the Kindle HD, and the ASUS Nexus 7 3G, but the developer is working on making more device profiles available soon. (There’s even an option to contribute by sending in your own device’s profile – this way, the developer will eventually be able to support dozens of different devices.) Then, simply open up the Play Store and find your app. That’s it!

To restore your device’s default profile, just select that option in the app. Or, alternately, you can reboot your device; the changes that this app makes do not survive a reboot, so there’s no need to worry about backing anything up or permanently messing up your device. Pretty simple, right?

For obvious reasons, this isn’t in the Play Store, so you’ll have to download it directly from the developer’s website. There’s also a recent note on the site about the developer having internet connectivity issues, so there may be a delay before the app is updated to support more device profiles. In any case, it worked perfectly for my purposes: I ended up installing Mr. Number on my ASUS Nexus 7. I’m a fan of this particular app’s reverse phone lookup functionality, but it’s not officially available on tablets. Since I didn’t want it running all the time on my HTC EVO 4G LTE, I decided to use Market Helper to download Mr. Number by spoofing a Galaxy S III.

Another obvious use is to spoof a Nexus 7 in order to download the Amazon tablet app on an “unsupported” tablet. As more devices eventually are supported, more uses will arise.

You can download the app below.

[Market Helper]
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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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15 thoughts on “How to install Android apps that are blocked on your device with almost no risk

  • Avatar of Paul E King

    I tried a couple of different devices, then selected restore, and so far I don’t see the EVO listed again…

    Not terribly worried about it, but any idea how long it takes for the change to reflect to the market web page side?

    Reply
    • You mean on the web version of the Play Store? If so, maybe that’s the reason why my Nexus 7 disappeared for a short while… if that’s what you’re talking about, it should appear again in a day or two. Mine disappeared and then reappeared; I guess it just goes on its own schedule…

      Reply
      • Avatar of Paul E King

        it’s back now – was fairly busy today and did not have a chance to look, but it’s been about 4 hours since I hit restore… so less than 4 hours to get the web page functioning normally.

        Reply
  • Avatar of Randy S

    Doesn’t seem to work on the EVO View 4G… dashboard still always says EVO View 4G, no matter which device I try to set it to. :/

    Reply
    • No, don’t look at that … just open the Play Store on your tablet, not your computer. You should be able to download any apps that were previous blocked, AS LONG AS the app is available for the device you just spoofed.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Randy S

        Searched Chrome in the Play Store and it still said it was incompatible with my device. Second time I searched for it, it didn’t even show up. I’ll try again, I suppose.

        Reply
        • Avatar of Randy S

          Same results… switched it to the GS3 and the Play Store tells me “Your device isn’t compatible with this version.”

          Reply
          • What app are you looking for? Are you absolutely sure it’s compatible with the S III? I’ve downloaded several apps this way…

          • Avatar of Randy S

            Of course I’m rooted. :)

            I was hoping to put Chrome on the EVO View… and I’m certain it’s compatible with the GS3 because it’s compatible with all 4.0+ devices, AFAIK.

          • Avatar of Randy S

            I also tried the Nexus 7 and Kindle options and they all netted the same result. Even if the GS3 couldn’t install Chrome, the N7 can.

          • OK, that’s probably because the EVO View is running Honeycomb, and it’s impossible to install Chrome on anything before ICS – even if rooted, as far as I’m aware. So, I guess Chrome is probably one of the very few exceptions that even this little trick won’t help you with… sorry. :-/

          • Avatar of Randy S

            That sucks… I’m not interested (as far as I know) in any apps that are device-restricted, but I figured if the play store thought I was on a GS3, it’d let me at least install Chrome… if it doesn’t work after installing, then I know it’s a real incompatibility, but I suspect that Chrome is only restricted to 4.0+ in an attempt to force OEMs to upgrade devices. :(

  • Is the amazon prime instant video app in the google play marker or in the amazon market? i wonder if this could be used to watch prime on my tablet.

    Reply
  • Avatar of manish gupta

    My android blocked for we chat how tu open.

    Reply

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