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Google: Unsafe to sideload Google apps on Huawei devices without PlayStore

Huawei and its sub-brand Honor are facing some challenging times due to the ongoing restrictions by the US Government. For newer models, their devices are shipped with Huawei Mobile Services which lacks your typical Google apps and services including the Google Play Store.

Although there are unofficial workarounds to have Google apps and even the Play Store installed on these new Huawei devices, Google has warned against using such methods. The search giant has received a number of questions on the possibility of installing Google apps and services on new Huawei models and they have posted its response on the Android Help community page.

According to Google, its apps and services are not available for preload or sideload on new Huawei devices due to government restrictions. It added that only devices with Google Play Protect certification are allowed to offer Google Play Store, Google Play Protect and Google core apps. This is to ensure protection for user data privacy, security and it safeguards the overall experience.

Google emphasised that Play Protect certified devices undergo rigorous security review and compatibility testing to ensure that user data and app information are kept safe. In addition, these devices are shipped out of the factory with Google Play Protect software which also provides protection for the device from being compromised.

Due to the US government restrictions, they can’t certify new Huawei models after 16 May 2019. As a result, newer Huawei devices are considered “uncertified” and it won’t be able to utilise Google’s apps and services.

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Google clarified that side loading Google apps will not work reliably because they will not allow its services to run on uncertified devices where security can be compromised. It also warned that side loading Google’s apps also carry a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.

If you have a Huawei and Honor device with Huawei Mobile Services, the best way to discover and download apps is via Huawei’s AppGallery. Although Huawei is working hard to get as many popular apps onboard, it is still far from complete.

Some of the new devices that run on Huawei Mobile Services in Malaysia include the Huawei Mate 30, Mate 30 Pro, Mate 30 Pro 5G, Nova 7i and the Honor 9X Pro. The safest way to experience Google apps such as Gmail, Maps and YouTube on a Huawei/Honor device without Google Play Store is via the web browser. However, you will lose out on the full fledged app features including notification.

The problem with side-loading is the questionable source that offer these APK files. Even when you try to sideload manually, Huawei will warn you that installing apps from unknown sources may put your device at risk.

Existing Huawei devices with Google Mobile Services pre-installed are not affected and this include the Huawei Nova 5T, Y9s, Y9 Prime 2019, P30, P30 Pro, Honor 20, Honor 20 Pro and Honor 9X. Google has also added that they are committed in protecting the security of Google users on millions of Huawei devices around the world. Google is permitted to work with Huawei on devices that are made available to the public before 16th May 2019. However, it is worth pointing out that Huawei/Honor has been rehashing older models in order to pre-install Google Play Store on “newer” phones.

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Alexander Wong