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How to install incompatible apps or region-restricted apps on Android

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 4 days ago

If you want to download a great new game or cool new streaming service, but discover the app is incompatible with your device or not available in your country, it's not necessarily time to give up. One of the best things about Android is that there's always a way to get what you want. So today, we'll show you how to install incompatible apps on Android using a couple of great little tools.

How to install region-restricted apps

I first came across TunnelBear on a recent trip to China where I was using it as a VPN. It was great for that purpose, but I also realized it could also be used to bypass incompatible apps. Here's how:

AndroidPIT Nexus 6P tunnel bear vpn
Dive in and away we go! / © ANDROIDPIT

1. Download TunnelBear from the Play Store. 

TunnelBear VPN Install on Google Play

2. Launch the app and create an account.

3. You'll see the switch to turn TunnelBear on and a map of the world. Simply tap a tunnel anywhere on the globe and wait for the bear to tunnel its way there.

AndroidPIT TunnelBear VPN
Once that bear gets in a tunnel, there's no telling where he'll pop up. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. If you get a connection request, agree to it.

5. Once the bear has tunneled to your new VPN location, you can go grab that app you were after.

Say I wanted Hulu in Germany, where it isn't possible to install the app. I can simply tell TunnelBear that I'm in the US, and I'll be able to download Hulu. You still might not be able to find apps by searching directly in the Play Store, but searching for the app name and “play store” in Chrome should bring up the app link. You'll now be able to click that link and download and install the app.

Note that you may need to keep the VPN running in order to access content in region-restricted apps and that not all apps will work outside their regions. If the app still says it's not available in your country, clear the cache for the Play Store in Settings > Apps > Google Play Store and try again.

AndroidPIT install hulu region restriction
Before and after: region-locked and free to install. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to install incompatible Android apps

Market Helper is the app you need when you want to install an app that isn't compatible with your device. Assuming you have a rooted Android phone, all you need to do is enable Unknown sources in your security settings and then download Market Helper from the creator's website. For obvious reasons, the app isn't available in the Play Store so make sure you only download it from a reliable source.

1. Launch Market Helper.

2. You'll see four drop-down boxes: device type, device model, location and carrier. These will be auto-filled to match the details of your device. You can change this to a different type and model, according to the app you want to download – so if you want to download a tablet-only app to your phone, you can select a tablet model from the drop-down menus and register it as a 'new' device. The device selection may not be huge, but generally any model for the device category you need is fine.

AnddoridPIT Market Helper select device and carrier
Pick your device category, region and carrier (if necessary). / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Select a device type.

4. Select a device model.

5. Select a region.

6. Select a carrier.

7. Tap Activate at the bottom of the screen and agree to the superuser request when it pops up. You might also have to agree to certain app permissions depending on which version of Android you're running.

AndroidPIT Market Helper register nvidia shield
Allow superuser permissions and your 'new' device will be registered. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. You'll see an “Activated successfully” message. Head to Device Manager and once you see your new device showing up, you can hit the Play Store and download that app you want. As above, if you have issues with the Play Store, try clearing the cache or just grab the app through Chrome search results.

Note: When you want to change back, simply go back to Market Helper and return to the default settings, or reboot your phone.

AndroidPIT Market Helper restore default device
You can revert back at any time. See how we're now a Nexus 5 again? / © ANDROIDPIT

Not all apps will work properly with your device just because you tricked the Play Store into downloading them. It's still possible that strange things will happen due to the difference in screen resolution or aspect ratio, or the app may not work at all.

What apps have you downloaded using these methods? Do you have any other tips to share?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.


Write new comment:
  • Android is the largest player in the market of mobile platforms. For development of android app - One app, single objective must be your agenda. While you go to develop mobile apps, you should not try to make it a solution for many needs. Focus on offering with a single objective and develop mobile application around it. mobileapptelligence[dot]com

  • I follow ur instruction about market helper and still i can't install Dawn Of Titans i eiether use VPN but still the same can't install the using Note4 i din't understand why the game is incompatible with my phone.Please help.Thanks

  • I see no need for any other app other than Market Helper in this case. Used it many times, worked perfectly every time. Of course you must be rooted and that may be the only restriction for some.

  • Paolo 4 days ago Link to comment

    I've wiped the GP Store cache (and lost the new design in the process,) I disabled location, I even went to Airplane Mode, and it still detected my OLD location wherever I went, Tunnelbear DID NOT WORK AT ALL for me. I shuffled between the offered countries, nothing, still where I live. Oh well.

  • Gave TunnelBear a try. Set my home to US, still couldn't get access to US apps - like music or movies or Hulu :) - neither on play store nor on chrome.
    N.B. I did clear the play store cache

    • You Just Need To Clear Google Play Store's Data.. I Suggest It Works

    • buddy install 1 MOBILE MARKET
      there lots of apps available and also there are no restrictions
      hope it work out

      • Paolo 4 days ago Link to comment

        I went there, and all it "gave" me was Clash of Clans and other similar bastard offsprings / In App-ocalypse titles, so NO, don't go there.

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