** UPDATE: The information in this guide may no longer be available. Since the changes in mid-2014, many of the GOOGLE APPS services have been severely restricted or curtailed. http://www.michaeltyler.co.uk/life-behind-the-wall-vpn-in-china/
In this guide I talk about accessing and downloading Google apps (apk)’s without having to have the Google Play functioning on your smartphone..
Imagine the horror! After purchasing a brand new Samsung Galaxy S Duo S7566, you discover that due to the regional nature of corporate money making and Geo-politics, you’re disallowed from downloading the latest apps from Google Play just because you live in CHina!
The easiest way around this is to ROOT your phone, remove all the Chinese bloat and apps and set your locale up as somewhere more friendly, perhaps the US or Senegal…
This Rooting will make your phone function like a finely tuned vehicle, or render it useless, depending on your technical skills.
Due to the fact I’ve just purchased my phone, I won’t be taking this route. Instead, I’d like to present…
Accessing Google Play without Rooting your phone – A noobs guide
There’s no rooting involved in this method, just follow the simple steps and you’ll be able to access and download Google Apps on any device from any locale, including China.
Step 1) Check your Device:
No matter what software you’re running, or the state of your build, you need to check your device is supported by the apps store. The list of supported devices is here https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1727131?hl=en. Find your device on the list.
Step 2) Log and and visit Google Play:
1 Visit is enough for Google Play to recognise your device. If it doesn’t do this automatically, select the My Orders & Settings link at the bottom. Navigate to the settings tab and it should show a picture of your phone.
Step 3) Download the newest version of Kies:
This is the bundled file management software for Samsung phones. Each manufacturer has a different software. For Samsung phones, you can find the latest version of Kies here http://www.samsung.com/us/kies/.
Step 4) Install Kies:
It may take some time to apply the hotfixes. For my build and locale it was enough time for me to make a drink and then some. About 10-15 mins in all. Once the installation starts, you can wait a little longer.
Installing Kies simply INSURES you have the latest drivers and firmware installed on your phone.
Step 5) Download Snappea:
This is a GUI that draws information directly from your phone. It allows you to transfer files, apps, contacts, mails and messages directly to and from your PC. Download Snappea http://www.snappea.com/.
Step 6) Launch Kies:
Navigate to the ‘Apps Store’. This may require more time whilst changes are made according to your set-up and locale. Be patient.
Step 7) Launch Snappea:
Step 8) Plug in your phone (USB).
Step 9) In Snappea:
The dropdown on the top-left. ‘Connect new phone’. Select ‘connect from USB’.
If this fails, (as was the case with my Chinese market GT-S7566 Samsung), Enter the name of your phone manually in the ‘Phone name incorrect’ option.
Snappea will launch a new window with the name of your phone and all the different functions provided by the software (messages, contacts, sync, etc.)
Step 10) Click the ‘Google Play’ icon:
Select the ‘sign in’. Log into your account and begin downloading.
Hey Presto! Access Google Play apps from all over the world!
2 Software downloads.
About 1/2 an hour of your time.
Unfortunately, your device still needs to be on the list of Google Play’s supported devices. Which can be found here. https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1727131?hl=en
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 Michael Tyler in China. Stories of things Chinese