Mar 30 AT 1:53 AM Sean Riley 25 Comments

PSA: Installing non-Market apps on your Motorola Backflip

Non-Market apps on your Motorola Backflip are just steps away

In the interest of helping out those being hampered by AT&T’s current non-Market app lockout here are instructions, courtesy of XDA developers forums, on how to get around the problem. This solution could be of considerable interest if AT&T really sticks to their current path as they release more compelling Android devices down the line.

  1. Download the USB drivers from Motorola; there is a separate version depending on whether you are running Windows 32bit or 64bit.
  2. Now you are going to need to download the Android SDK from Google. The most recent version can always be found here.
  3. Now extract the SDK to a folder, name it Android,  FUAT&T, Guadalajara, or whatever.
  4. On your phone go to Settings -> Applications -> Development and check the box to enable USB debugging.
  5. Now take the .apk file (that’s the extension for apps) that you want to install and place it in the “tools” folder within the Android SDK folder you created.
  6. Time to bust out the old command prompt (or terminal). You will need to navigate to the “tools” folder and type in “adb install application.apk (without quotes and replacing application with the actual name of the app).
  7. Congratulations on all your success!

Keep in mind this won’t let you install apps that aren’t supported by Android 1.5. If you have any difficulties you might want to check out the XDA forums link at the beginning of the post as there are several pages there of individuals posting their experiences with the workaround.

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • http://Website coh

    I actually thought that backward folding was a stupid idea…but Motorola’s design team is killer. Although the problem here lies more on the specs. Opinions:

  • droid free apps

    Sweet, this should be very helpful. Someone needs to tell ATT that Android is not iPhone.

  • http://Website FIX MY BACKFUK

    What is the .adk file? Or is that a typo? Reguardless, is it found in the files I have already downloaded before step 5

    • Sean Riley

      I’m not seeing “.adk” anywhere in my post.

      Are you wondering where you find .apk files? If so they can come from anywhere, but probably the most common reason to install from outside the Market is a beta release. You could hit the forums and ask people for some recommendations on current beta’s that are out there.

  • http://Website Tyler

    I’m really surprised that they left this USB debugging loophole in, since you can basically do anything with the adb shell. I guess AT&T is really just trying to keep non-market apps out of the hands of users who can’t use a command line, and they don’t really care if you can go around it.

    • Sean Riley

      It is surprising, there is already speculation that they will shut it down in a future update so we’ll have to keep our eyes out for that.

      I didn’t want to get into too much in this post, but certainly there are number of possibilities using this access including pulling the AT&T bloatware.

      • http://Website Sined

        If they disable adb installation than that would kill App development on the phone all together (adb install is how you run a test app you’re working on). Which would be beyond retarded.

  • http://Website tom

    So maybe I can follow that because its almost in english but were do I. Get the google moble down load? I go to the google site and there is no where to down load it just send it to your phone, but my phone will not allow it. So is this article going to help me load “google moble”? I still can not belive that at &t does not allow this program

  • http://Website Jean

    you guys should make a video, showing us how to do it

  • http://Website Joe

    What steps do you do on your phone and what steps do you do on your PC? this is really confusing. SDK wont fully install on my PC. and when i connect phone to PC, there is no phone folder to explore.

  • http://Website ilsa colon

    i am asking the same as joe. in my case i download the sdk i dont know want to do next.
    the instruction say to look for the .apk and to and it in the tool folder of the sdk. Where is the .apk can you explain this in a simple way.
    thank you

  • http://Website Dave

    I downloaded swype beta want to run it on my backflip. I put it in the folders and everything still cant get it to install. im new at this with android so if i could please get a step by step process on the install for anythird party i would greatly appreicate it.

  • http://Website Ed

    HELP!!!! I got to Step 6 and am hung up!! Any suggestions on what to get me past this point??


  • http://Website Ed

    The android forum describes it a little better. It works if you follow the directions!!

  • http://Website WillHoot

    does this work with the aria if you use the aria usb drivers? what about the captivate when it comes out?

  • http://Website Bradford85

    Yeah It won’t let me do it. I tried navigating to the tools thing and it won’t let me.

  • http://Website YAY!

    Thank you man that was actually really simple who needs rooting haha

  • gavontye


  • http://Website RMADLA

    I’d be curious to know if anyone has hit this problem, and surmounted it: when I get to step six, the program hangs. Nothing, no matter how long I wait. I’ve tried several releases of the sdk to see if there were any issues with release date, to no avail. I tried putting the apk file (Term.apk, in my case) in the tools folder, as well is in the root (C:) folder – in the latter, the adb program generates a “not found,” error, while in the former (as mentioned) it hangs. I also tried a program called “droid explorer” which was suggested as a possible solution on other forums. It opens, then immediately closes, and so is of no help at all. Any thoughts, anyone?

  • http://Website hardhik

    dude i m hung up in 6th step ny command promp reads adb is not recognise as internal or external command wat shoul i do now buddy

  • lol

    Where do you extract the android sdk file too ?

  • katherin
  • illastate

    please help

    i followed all the steps up until i tried to do the command prompt to install the application and i got this error that said too many files specified…only takes apk file and verifier file…..then inside of the tools folder there is no adb…but its a adb message for installing platform tools…can anyone tell me what i did wrong…i have motorola backflip 2.1 att

  • confused

    Please expain step 6 because im lost…

  • neeraj saini

    please tell me 6 step in detail