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Huawei Mate 30 users can no longer smuggle Google apps through the backdoor

The go-to workaround for installing Google apps on Huawei’s new phones has been shut down, rendering users unable to download their favourite software.

Following the Huawei Android ban, the Chinese firm’s latest flagship handsets launched without any Google apps and only an open source version of the Android 10 operating system. However, by using a website called LZPlay, users of the Huawei Mate 30 and Huawei Mate 30 Pro were able to download Google software and install the Play Store, through which all the usual Google apps could be installed.

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However, this method has recently been closed off following a blog post which raised security concerns about undocumented APIs.

John Wu, a computer science postgraduate student at the University of Michigan, unearthed the security issues and gave this short summary on the blog Medium:

“The currently widespread method to install Google Services on newly released Huawei devices relies on undocumented Huawei specific MDM APIs. Although this ‘backdoor’ requires user interaction to be enabled, the installer app, which is signed with a special certificate from Huawei, was granted privileges nowhere to be found on standard Android systems.”

Trusted Reviews currently has a Chinese model of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro to hand, and used this method to install Google apps (see below image).

In our experience, the method has made the phone virtually indistinguishable from any other standard Android device. However, in light of the security issues raised, we are concerned. As of now, we’ve found no safe and working alternative to install the apps. We have contacted Google and Huawei for comment, but are yet to receive a response.

The lack of access to Google apps will no doubt severely hamper the sales of Huawei’s latest flagships (which have not been confirmed for release outside of China), and the company’s consumer business in general.

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Despite the sub-optimal circumstances, the devices themselves show no sign of compromise, with the Mate 30 Pro boasting a powerful Kirin 990 processor, a quad camera set up and an attractive waterfall display.

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