In Google Play store, there are about half a million applications, paid and free. As the owner of an Android phone, you may have a number of preinstalled apps and some apps that you installed. Some of these preinstalled apps are collectively known as bloatware.
I don’t know about you, but on my Android phone I would want to remove unnecessary bloatware and install some advanced apps most of which are incompatible with the phone. This is a procedure that requires root level access to your Android device as well as editing some of the important system files. In this article, let’s see how this is done.
In order to make your Android device compatible with all the apps out there, you should have your device ‘rooted’. This is a process that could void its warranty and render it inoperable. If you are an advanced user, you may already know the side effects of rooting and flashing new firmware to your device—you could brick it! (that is turning it into a glittering black brick, literally).
What Is Rooting?
Android runs on Linux kernel; if you know or have used Linux, you know the administrator account is known as ‘root’. Linux, unlike Windows, doesn’t provide you with system level access. This is one of the reasons that make Linux highly secure.
When you get root access on Linux or Android, it essentially renders the device insecure. This is one of the reasons why Google Wallet gives you an alert when you try to use it on a rooted device.
Also, you should know if your phone is capable of handling rooting process. Phones like HTC One X, One S, Desire, Inspire 4G, Evo 4G, Samsung Galaxy Note, Galaxy S2, S3, Galaxy Nexus, etc., have all been found to root successfully. For specific information about rooting and to see if your device supports it, go to XDA-Developers forum, CynogenMod Wiki, or RootzWiki. It goes without saying that you should back up your phone’s important data before proceeding.
After rooting has been done, install an app to explore and edit files on Android (similar to Explorer on Windows)—ES File Explorer is the popular one used by power users.
You have to edit the bulild.prop file in order to make your device compatible with incompatible apps. Build.prop as you know is like a registry to Android, and editing it without proper knowledge is not going to do anything good to your device. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and research on Android support forums and blogs before attempting it on your phone.
Edit Build.prop and Set Device Name
Within the ES File Explorer Settings, put a check to ‘Root Explorer’ and ‘Mount File System’.
Browse to build.prop file, located within the System directory. This file identifies your device to Google Play store. Hence, editing it and changing the device name would actually fool the app store thus enabling your device to download the necessary app. Back it up first and then open it within ES Explorer. If it doesn’t open properly, press on the icon longer and select ‘Open As’; select text and open with ES Note Editor.
Within this text file, you will see ‘ro.product.model’ field and ‘ro.product.manufacturer’ fields. Change them to whatever you would like to use in order to change the identity of the phone. For example:
If you have Nexus S and want to change to HTC One X, then change it in this way:
Save the file and you are done!
In order to actually test the app, however, you have to restart the device. Sometimes, you have to also clear the cached information stored by Google Play store on your device—go to Google Play app ‘Manage Applications’ page and clear the offline storage from here.
Although this is a workaround to get apps running on your device, the system doesn’t impart an actual compatibility, does it? So, you can’t expect any app to run on your device. If the app is literally not compatible, there is no way you can get it to work.