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HowTo: Install Google Play on original Jolla Phone (sbj)

asked 2014-02-28 02:59:23 +0300

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updated 2018-05-06 23:07:49 +0300

jollajo gravatar image


Do not install, if you do not trust Google ("do not be evil" – this was long ago ;-).

The following procedure limits the software installed just to the Google Play store, eliminating all other stuff most often accompanying the Play store installation.

Alternative to Google Play Store installation

Question HowTo: Download app installation (apk) files from Google Play Store points to a web address allowing to download the app installation file when you know the package name or Google Play URL. So, at least for apps you do not have to pay for in-store, this could be an alternative to a Google Play Store installation as described below. (This alternative may not be more trustworthy than Google itself, see the comments to that question. Also: No idea, how app updates will be handled when you have not installed Play Store.)

Got a Jolla C or Tablet?

If you are looking for instructions for installing Google Play on your Jolla C or Tablet, have a look at this guide instead.


You need on your Jolla handset:

  • Jolla Store access
  • Internet access (WLAN/WiFi or mobile network)
  • App "File Browser" from Jolla Store
  • Since Sailfish OS possibly: Installation of untrusted software being enabled. Set |- Settings | System | Untrusted software | "Allow untrusted software" = active -|. (I could not test this, installation may also work while this option is left inactive.)

Note: Linux file and directory names are case sensitive!


  1. Make sure you have a Jolla account and the Jolla device can access the Jolla Store.
  2. Go to |- Settings | System Settings | Developer Mode -|.
    Because your Jolla device can access the Jolla Store, a Terminal app is installed now.
  3. Activate „Developer mode“.
  4. Activate „Remote connection” (either enter and [Save] a password or [Generate] it; if you generate it, you have to edit it slightly before the [Save] button becomes available).
  5. Using the Jolla device, open the browser and download ~ instead try:
    The file is downloaded to directory /home/nemo/Downloads
  6. Open the Terminal app installed during step 2.
    The SailfishOS command prompt will appear. You are logged in as user, the prompt is a "$".
  7. Go to the download directory: Enter cd ~/Downloads [Enter]
    In case of an English Terminal keyboard layout, the "~" key is the shifted "=" key.
  8. Unzip the file: Enter unzip [Enter].
  9. Get root access: Enter devel-su [Enter].
  10. When requested: Enter your password (as specified during step 4) and [Enter].
    The prompt changes from "$" to "#". Now, you have root access to the Jolla device! Be careful!
  11. Go to the destination directory: Enter cd /opt/alien/system/app [Enter].
  12. Copy the following files one by one (you do not need all the other ones unzipped before):
    • cp /home/nemo/Downloads/system/app/Phonesky.apk .
      (Do not forget the dot at the end of the line.)
    • cp /home/nemo/Downloads/system/app/GoogleLoginService.apk .
    • cp /home/nemo/Downloads/system/app/GoogleServicesFramework.apk .
      By now, your Terminal window will look like:
      bash-3.2$ cd ~/Downloads
      bash-3.2$ unzip
      inflating: (… many, many lines …)
      Inflating: system/usr/srec/en-US/symbols
      bash-3.2$ devel-su
      bash-3.2# cd /opt/alien/system/app
      bash-3.2# cp /home/nemo/Downloads/system/app/Phonesky.apk .
      bash-3.2# cp /home/nemo/Downloads/system/app/GoogleLoginService.apk .
      bash-3.2# cp /home/nemo/Downloads/system/app/GoogleServicesFramework.apk .
  13. Reboot the Jolla handset (switch off and on using the power button).

    • Restart Alien Dalvik service: Enter systemctl restart aliendalvik.service [Return].
    • End root access: Enter exit [Return].
    • End Terminal: Enter exit [Return].
  14. Open app "File Browser".
  15. Goto directory /opt/alien/system/app.
    The File Browser opens in the /home/nemo/ directory. To get to the root directory you have to tap the 2 upper left dots, then you can go down to the app directory.
  16. Tap file Phonesky.apk.
    A new page opens with details of this file.
  17. From the pulley menu select "Install".
    The Google Play store is being installed, a corresponding icon placed on the launcher screen.
  18. Using File Browser you may clean up the Downloads directory from all the files unzipped there and not required any longer.
  19. Start the Play app and log in to the Play store. Refuse all options you do not want (e.g. backup to the Google cloud).

You are done.

Google account

The google account is saved in /data/system/users/0/accounts.db. If you wish to purge Google completely, then you can delete this file. Delete accounts.db (or better renaming it to accounts_backup.db) helps also for the cannot connect problem. The google account name is also saved into /data/system/sync/accounts.xml

Helpful was: -

Edit by @Tanghus: Some apps also require Google Play Services in order to e.g. pay for tickets etc.In that case you'll have to install the apk mentioned in this answer

After doing that you will have to repeat the step with tapping at Phonesky.apk to re-install it. Don't ask me why :)

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Excellent handholding guide. Did this a month back and a few steps had me scratching my head.

orjans ( 2014-03-06 03:35:59 +0300 )edit

On step 13 you don't have to reboot your Jolla, you just have to restart Alien Dalvik: systemctl restart aliendalvik.service.

Lcferrum ( 2014-03-06 08:43:29 +0300 )edit

Thanks for this very detailed guide! Is it possible to download paid for apps already purchased on an android device with my account? (tomtom for example) ( 2014-03-06 10:16:01 +0300 )edit

I have only bought a few app through play store. They will download and before installing them Play Store will crash, but you can find the temp file in data/app-private. If you rename that temp file to .apk you can install it manually and it will work. At least mine did.

Ozymandias ( 2014-03-06 10:27:27 +0300 )edit

Very cool. I've got Google Play on my Jolla. When I tried to authenticate to my Google account over WiFi it could not connect to the Google server to authenticate. So I switched wifi off and switched to 3G. This enabled me to login. As soon as it logged in the PlayStore quit. So I reloaded it and it tried to load the Google play home page. It this point it says "Server Error" - retry. Switch back to wifi and retry and still see same error.

Any suggestions?


JupiterOrbit ( 2014-03-07 18:02:17 +0300 )edit

16 Answers

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answered 2014-03-06 11:04:45 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2014-03-09 22:47:22 +0300

jgr gravatar image

Paid apps

  • Paid app paid outside Play Store: Several users successfully installed Sygic Navigation.
  • Paid app paid inside Play Store: According to @Ozymandias they will download and before installing them, Play Store will crash. Then you can find the temp file in directory /data/app-private. If you rename that temp file to .apk you can install it manually and it will work.

Renaming a file, e.g.:

  • Use Android OI File Manager (from Yandex Store), mark the file and select "Rename" from the menu.
  • Use Terminal (see question above):
    • devel-su
    • cd /data/app-private
    • dir to list the current content of the directory. (Alternatively you may use ls.)
    • mv xxx.tmp xxx.apk (replace "xxx.tmp" by the current name of the file).
    • exit to end root access.

After renaming, use File Browser to install the app as shown with Phonesky.apk in the question above.

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Thanks for adding this.

orjans ( 2014-03-06 11:57:24 +0300 )edit

Thanks from me too. Saw it once but forgot the place I found it. I wonder though what actually happens when the store crashes. It should be doing some kind of secure validation of the purchase that fails so badly that it either quits or crashes. So what I'm curious about is whether this is some sort of API/functionality missing in the alien dalvik that could be fixed by jolla or if its some other deficiency/intolerance in the play store-app. Interesting to hear if any Jolla dev has any idea.

Larswad ( 2014-04-10 13:55:29 +0300 )edit

I had to change the permissions of the paid and failed package to 'chmod 777 xxx.apk' using the devel-su terminal session before I was able to inspect its contents with the excellent File Browser, helas the installation failed. I copied, as devel-su the apk-file into the Android storage space in the data area of some application, then I scanned for the applications with Clean Master for Android. The package appears now in the Backup section of Clean Master and installs nicely. Thanks!

canne ( 2014-04-12 22:40:59 +0300 )edit

What about apps that have in app purchases. I have this one word book app (Duden Wörterbuch) where you buy the word books that you want inside the app. App itself is free and you download the wordbook data after the in app payment. So has anybody tried if it is possible to reinstate your purchases?

Olli_K ( 2014-05-03 20:22:51 +0300 )edit

I've just renamed my downloaded .tmp file to a .apk file, and moved it from /data/app-private to /data/app, and now the app appears to be installed and running well.. didn't need to "install" the apk, or change permissions.. do you think this is a good workaround, or should I be installing paid apps another way?

starpollo ( 2014-05-20 12:17:57 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-03-20 22:02:54 +0300

Schturman gravatar image

I created a simple package (installer) based on this thread :) Thanks for instruction!

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Sounds interesting.

"Dev mode should be activated and python installed.": Is this a precondition even you go this way: "1. From file browser as USER -> pull down -> install -> wait for notification."? If so, is it easier to install python than to install Google Play the way explained in the question?

jgr ( 2014-03-20 22:11:26 +0300 )edit

sorry, python added to the spec file, that mean when you will install my package from warehouseo and if you phone not have python it should install it..

Schturman ( 2014-03-20 23:20:43 +0300 )edit

how can i enable operator billing for paid apps? everytime i try to pay for a app using my phonebill it displays a error, and tells me to try again.. to no avail...

XiliX ( 2014-03-21 00:53:36 +0300 )edit

Are you sure that your operator supports operator billing in Play Store?

See, heading "Direct carrier billing for apps and digital content"

jgr ( 2014-03-24 00:31:04 +0300 )edit

package no longer available on open repos

DarkTuring ( 2016-10-30 00:23:32 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-04-10 12:48:09 +0300

Kristjan gravatar image

updated 2014-10-14 11:25:24 +0300

Larswad gravatar image

is this safe? when sailfish was officially launched there was a warning that said if you are in a developer mode and you then update, your device would be broken.

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It seems to me that the new guide presented here is much less invasive, hence less dangerous. It simply adds / install a few .apk packages, it doesn't replace a whole hierarchy of files like the last one did. I'd say this method is very safe providing it is done right and the guide is followed correctly.

Larswad ( 2014-04-10 13:52:00 +0300 )edit

How can safely uninstall Google Play Services completely. Is it enough to uninstall these apps: Phonesky.apk GoogleLoginService.apk GoogleServicesFramework.apk?

Louis ( 2014-04-12 17:59:22 +0300 )edit

Yes I think these are the three .apk-files you have to remove. When you uninstall AndroidSupport-app (from Jolla Store) you can see that these are the only remaining files inside the /opt/Alien/-directory. When you want to have a new clean /opt/Alien/-directory:

  1. uninstall the AndroidSupport-app
  2. enter terminal and become root
  3. rm -R /opt/alien/*
  4. install again the AndroidSupport-app
alex ( 2014-04-13 01:08:20 +0300 )edit

Is there any way to delete google play market and google services without unistalling AndroidSupport-app?

nix ( 2014-11-23 18:13:43 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-10-02 19:14:00 +0300

shaan7 gravatar image

when i choose install from the pulley menu for PhoneSky.apk, nothing happens. i have all three apk files and followed the instructions step by step.

any hints on how to debug what might be wrong? i'm on sailfish

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I have this problem as well. I recently had to reset my phone (I made of mess of things when I formatted my SDcard). This worked perfectly the first time I did it, but now it fails when I ask it to install phonesky. It says "install launched. If nothing happens then the package is probably faulty." I have done everything twice now, and get the same results.

EDIT: Another user reported that turning off the phone and removing the battery worked for him. I tried it and it worked for me to. The app installed just fine after the battery had spent some time on the desk.

NevilClavain ( 2014-11-03 14:12:14 +0300 )edit

This is not an answer. Please convert it to a comment.

Tanghus ( 2014-11-23 18:05:06 +0300 )edit

Ok,but,acctually, here all the answers are not answers. And a question is not a question

nix ( 2014-11-23 18:09:24 +0300 )edit

True, but I chose not to comment on the other "answers" as they are pretty old. Thanks for applying to my request :)

Tanghus ( 2014-11-23 18:22:35 +0300 )edit

I have this problem, and removing battery does not give a result, how long need to remove?

Konrad ( 2014-12-16 12:43:44 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-01-06 17:20:31 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-01-06 17:50:46 +0300

foss4ever gravatar image

As Google Play Services and droid-ware that requires them is not supported in Jolla and in my view, never officially will be, enabling and promoting them is counter-productive and out-of-scope in regards to this forum and #SailfisOS native app provision. Questions, issues, requests and how-to's that link to Google Play (Services) should be closed and/or removed from this forum as irrelevant, counter-productive and/or out-of-scope.

It's ok and fine (because the SailfishOs native app spread is still quite small) that AlienDalvik related support is available in Jolla devices and this forum but Google Play support and advocacy is IMO just helping the competitors and is thus not good for Jolla and #SailfishOS and native app ecoystem future, nor to it's advocators, supportes, collaborarors, users or developers.

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Also, it could possibly lead to legal issues?

anandrkris ( 2015-01-06 17:27:27 +0300 )edit

Besides legal issues, I strongly disagree with @jjaone. I am one of the few who use jolla as the main and only mobile phone in day to day business. And you know all the things that still don't work, functionalities missing, and sometimes even are a real pita (calendar and many others, all massively voted).

There are some apps who are only available through the google play. I need a special security app for generating access codes for remote access. Same goes for banking apps and others. The android engine is fine, but you need to access playstore for getting/buying them.

If your suggestion would lead to deleting this thread, I will stop using jolla and period. It's not about advertising android apps here, but sbout making jolla more and better usable!

melg01 ( 2015-01-06 17:55:06 +0300 )edit

@jjaone: Dream on. Jolla is not Apple. Proceed as you like ... and Jolla will end up on the same place where you can already find WebOS, PALM, Symbian, Atari -- you name it. Even Microsoft and Adobe have realized that they have to open up their eco systems (at least, partly) in order to survive.

There may be legal reasons that Jolla does not support Play officially, but obviously there is nothing wrong in publishing the way to a solution.

jgr ( 2015-01-06 18:57:06 +0300 )edit

I think it should be a user decision where to download Android apps from. If I need Android apps for certain functionalities, I would prefer to download them from the most official source which currently is the Play Store. If not prefered by you, you can simply ignore the post. Those who are interested, let them help each other. Its fine if employees of Jolla do not respond to this particular post due to legal reasons, but we have a wonderful community supporting each other.

Aashish ( 2015-01-06 21:29:27 +0300 )edit

Not that surpring that in a HowTo-thread that gives instructions to hack/install Google Play Services support to Jolla phone the advocates of Google Play service / business ecosystem oppose the proposal. Personally, I don't care which vendors or companys ecosystems, operating systems, platforms, or devices ppl use but supporting Google Play Services has nothing to do with Jolla and SailfishOS and Jolla user/developer community and for rhis reason only Google Play related posts don't belong here, and all the contributions by sailors or community to enabing full Google Play compliance to Jolla is complete waste of time and effort and resources, and most importantly working directly against the spreading and improving of Mer/Nemomobile/Qt/Qml-based #SailfisOs as an open mobile stack, an app platform and an alternative / open source service eecosystem. Also, you might intetested to know that the proposal to keep Google Play stuff put of Jolla (device and forums) is not even the nost extreme view in here; e.g. there are quite many posts in Together that suggest to get rid Android-support altogether (which I think is not possible while the native app/system service provision is not feature-complete or mature enough).

foss4ever ( 2015-01-07 21:41:52 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-14 20:44:45 +0300

kurdit gravatar image

help me pls step 11: bash-3.2# cd /opt/alien/system/app (enter) no such file or directory

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andoid support is installed and running?

rudi ( 2015-02-14 21:42:17 +0300 )edit

thks for ur answer.. i think need running andro support? how mate? im newbie here

kurdit ( 2015-02-14 22:37:51 +0300 )edit

download and install from Jolla store, then you'll able to proceed here

rudi ( 2015-02-14 22:43:33 +0300 )edit

cant find alien dalvik on store any link?

kurdit ( 2015-02-15 00:17:33 +0300 )edit

on the phone, jolla store, android support

rudi ( 2015-02-15 01:06:10 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-03-06 14:46:47 +0300

Odorobo gravatar image

updated 2015-03-10 10:59:55 +0300

I couldn't find a .tmp file (or anything else) in /data/app-private/ but still I've managed to install a Paid game from google store without having it crashed and avoiding the renaming thing.
Writing what i did as much detailed as possible in case someone would want to repeat my actions.
First I've installed Google Store as guide in opening post says to.
Then in store app I've pressed "APPS" button that sent me to a page with a green headline.
Then I've used the search located at the greed headline and went to the game page. I've paid for it before so i've pressed "Install" and it started downloading anew.
After that i'v switched to FileBrowser to see for myself if a .tmp file is going to appear but instead GoogleStore successfully installed the game.
Dunno which one of theese two things mattered.
(haters gonna hate)

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Please convert this non-answer to a comment.

Tanghus ( 2015-03-10 01:46:41 +0300 )edit

Please keep your irrelevant thoughts to yourself.

Odorobo ( 2015-03-10 10:30:52 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-03-06 17:58:22 +0300

zappAtom gravatar image

I have a question regarding updates! I guess the Google Play app will offer updates of applications I installed by it. What about these other solutions where I use the URL or just download an apk package. I guess you have to check for updates by yourself, or?

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It seems like Play Store remains in the system even if you uninstall it. For a confirmation consider removing it and look at available updates in Aptoide.
Dunno what would happen with updates distributed only through GP.

Odorobo ( 2015-03-06 18:06:04 +0300 )edit

thx for your answer. But my question was related to normal Android app updates. I guess you get this only with the respective store apps!?

zappAtom ( 2015-03-06 18:21:31 +0300 )edit

@zappAtom, you mean cracked ones?

Odorobo ( 2015-03-06 18:46:04 +0300 )edit

I mean Android apps that you installed via the Google Play store. If there's an update for I receive that via the Play store? If I manually install an apk file, I probably need also to update manually, or?

zappAtom ( 2015-03-06 18:48:37 +0300 )edit

@zappAtom, i'll reply in a metaphor:
if you load a gun, you still need to pull the trigger for it to shoot
if you can make someone else to do all the job, you just ask

Odorobo ( 2015-03-06 18:51:26 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-04-18 16:07:11 +0300

Neotopia gravatar image

Can I deactivate the developer mode after all steps?

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Sure you can.

rburkhanov ( 2015-04-18 18:54:18 +0300 )edit

answered 2016-04-18 09:40:02 +0300

Apooo gravatar image

Does this work with Sailfish 2.0 ?

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Yes, I installed it on my Jolla (had to because of a few apps not working without it), works well. But after installing google play, some android apps tend to crash a bit more often and sometimes to re-open them, you have to open google play too.

Antti22 ( 2016-04-18 10:54:11 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2014-02-28 02:59:23 +0300

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