Business Insider Edition

The one easy way to install Google apps on Huawei’s new Mate 30 – despite American sanctions – suddenly stopped working

Isobel Asher Hamilton , Business Insider US
 Oct 02, 2019, 09:44 PM

The Huawei Mate 30 is the first Huawei phone to come bereft of Google apps.
Christof Stache / AFP / Getty

  • Last month Huawei released its flagship smartphone the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, both of which come without access to Google's apps. Huawei has been on a US trade blacklist since May.
  • It meant that anyone buying the new phones wouldn't have access to Google's Play Store or apps like Gmail, YouTube, and Google search.
  • But Android researcher John Wu found a workaround to installing Google apps on the phone using an app called "LZPlay."
  • Hours after Wu reported his findings, LZPlay vanished, 9 to 5 Google reports.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

One of the only easy workarounds for getting Google apps onto the new Huawei Mate 30 has disappeared, 9to5 Google reports.

The Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro launched last month, notably arriving without any access to Google's Play Store or Google apps and services. That's because Huawei has been on a US trade blacklist since May, and isn't permitted to do business with Google. The upshot for anyone buying the new phones was that the devices would be running on a de-Googled version of Android.

Still, users quickly found ways around the issue. In late September, 9to5Mac detailed a service called LZPlay which would let Mate 30 owners easily download and run Google services.

On Tuesday, Android researcher John Wu published an article detailing exactly how LZPlay worked. Just hours after the publication of Wu's article LZPlay's website vanished and any already-downloaded copies of their APK ceased to work, 9to5 Google reported.

Wu noted that the service lets users download an Android application package (APK), which in turn allowed them to install Google services on their phone.

What was most curious, according to Wu, was that the app made use of special permissions on Huawei's phones to install system apps - permissions that he said Huawei actively must have granted.

Wu's conclusion was that Huawei was aware of LZPlay's existence and "explicitly" allowed it to remain on its App Gallery store as a "backdoor" for allowing people to download Google apps. "The sole purpose of the app is to install Google Services on a non licensed device, and it sounds very sketchy to me," he wrote.

Commenting on LZPlay's subsequent disappearance, Wu speculated that Huawei had revoked the app's permissions.

Huawei was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.

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