Everyone’s said it, in Australia and overseas. Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro can’t sell in any great number outside of China because it has no Google Mobile Services. No GMS means no Google Play Store, and without that, there’s none of the Android apps you’re likely to be familiar with.
Now, with the advent of the Mate 30 Pro’s retail launch in Australia (kind of), there’s a lot of fuss about how Huawei’s handling the release here. For starters, there’s only 200 handsets being sold, and it won’t be via JB HiFi or carriers – no, Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro is available in select retailers only, and only to pre-qualified buyers.
Yes, this might seem a bit odd, but Huawei doesn’t want customers who don’t know about the current stand-off between the US and China to get caught up. While releasing a phone without GMS is a risky proposition outside China, Huawei absolutely does not want the negative customer experience here – far better to have a restricted local launch than sell in open channel and have customers surprised at the lack of Google and return them en masse, right?
So, because of this, Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro launch in Australia really isn’t a launch per se, but an opportunity for enthusiasts and fans of Huawei’s top-tier smartphones to buy the latest Huawei device, even if it doesn’t come with everything users might otherwise expect.
This is 100% the right strategy. Enthusiasts, and those who understand how Android works and don’t mind a minute or two worth of tinkering, will be all over the Mate 30 Pro for a couple of simple reasons – it’s Android 10, with the best smartphone camera going, and the battery lasts for days on end.
For $1,599, you can’t beat it, and that Huawei Mate 30 Pro doesn’t come with Google Mobile Services out of the box is irrelevant – enthusiasts and fans will find a way to get what they want onto the phone easily, and very quickly.
How quickly? This quickly.
Can you install Google Play Store and access all your apps? Yes, you can
You can, and you can do it easily.
This is the easiest guide I’ve found, and we’ve set out (and clarified) the steps to follow below. It couldn’t be easier.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A PC with Windows
- Huawei’s Hi Suite – basically a tool to backup / restore your phone from the above laptop
- Google Apps APKs – download the ZIP file from Ausdroid here
- Hi Suite Mate 30 Pro backup file – download the ZIP file from Ausdroid here
The process to prepare your phone is this:
- Install Hi Suite, and once it’s done, run it
- Plug your Huawei Mate 30 Pro in, and enable HDB (Open Settings, search for HDB, and enable the flag called “Allow HiSuite to use HDB”)
- Wait for a moment and accept the prompt to allow your computer to access your phone
- It will show a screen like below:
- Create the directory c:\temp (if it doesn’t already exist)
- Unzip the LZPlayBackup.zip file to C:\temp\backup
- Unzip the GoogleApps.zip file to C:\temp\apps
- In Hi Suite, click “Restore”, and then in the popup window, click “Edit” and navigate in the folder picker to C:\temp\backup. You’ll see a screen like this. Hit Restore:
- You’ll be prompted for a Restore Password – use a12345678. Let the restore complete – it takes a few seconds. If you’re at all worried about what the Restore has done with your phone, click around and check that there’s nothing unusual, but ignore the LZPlay app – you’ll need that later.
Now your phone is ready to install the Google Mobile Services core, and it’s just six apps. Here’s how to do it:
- Use Hi Suite, and in the blue bar at the top of the app, click “My Device”, and then navigate to the file browser. Copy the six APK files from c:\temp\apps to the Downloads folder on your Mate 30 Pro.
- You can now unplug your phone, and you’ll complete the remaining steps there.
- Use the Files app (it’s built in to the Mate 30 Pro) and navigate to the Downloads folder.
- Install all 6 Google APKs (the order doesn’t matter).
- Once they’re installed, open the Settings app, navigate to Apps, and find the Google apps in the installed apps list. Open each, click Permissions, and grant all permissions – this gives the apps the permissions they need to work properly (and which they would have by default on any other Android phone). It’s a bit of clicking, but it only takes a few seconds to do them all.
- On your Mate 30 Pro home screen, find the LZPlay app. It looks like a purpley/blue G icon. Run it.
- You’ll be prompted to activate a device administrator. Click Activate.
- On the next screen, you’ll see a heap of Mandarin Chinese writing and some exclamation point icons. Ignore these, the work is done.
- Restart your phone – long press the power button until it prompts to restart, and do so.
When your phone reboots, all Google Mobile Services apps will be in the right place and running, so you can open the Play Store, sign into your account, and install whatever Google apps (such as Gmail, Drive, etc) or other apps that you want.
There’s 18 steps, but this whole process shouldn’t taken you more than 5 to 10 minutes. It’s pretty simple, and there’s minimal risk to your phone (if any).
So, what do you get?
Everything basically just works. I’ve installed every single app I routinely use on an Android device, and they all work, with three exceptions:
- You can’t use Google’s Restore function to bring your last phone’s backup to the Mate 30 Pro – you’ll have to do it by hand
- Netflix doesn’t work, because SafetyNet isn’t detected. You can, however, watch Netflix content in a mobile browser if you really must
- Google Pay doesn’t work for contactless payments, for the same reason. You can, however, use your bank’s Tap and Pay app if they have one (e.g. Commonwealth Bank)
Virtually everything else works. My photos back up to Google Photos. I get my Gmail. My calendar and contacts sync. My apps seamlessly back up to Google’s online backup in the background.
I’ve installed every app I use from the Play Store, from bank apps, to media apps, social media and more. Everything works perfectly. You can even install Assistant (and that works perfectly too, except for OK Google detection doesn’t seem to .. yet), and Android Auto works fine as well.
In short, virtually everything you’re likely to want can be used on the Mate 30 Pro with minimal effort.
Is it worth buying if you have to mod it to get what you want?
Yes, it is.
While $1,599 is a lot to ask the average consumer to pay for a phone that doesn’t come with the Google Mobile Services core that they’re used to, it’s not hard for enthusiasts and die-hard fans to follow a few steps to get the apps they know and love on (what could be) the best smartphone hardware around.
If you’re not prepared to follow this process, well … the Mate 30 Pro probably isn’t for you. The best mobile smartphone hardware going really isn’t worth much without the apps you know and love to make it work the way it should. Blame the US for that.
There are a couple of compromises.
No Google Pay is annoying, but I can add my ANZ card to my wearable, and my CommBank cards work with the CommBank app. No Netflix really isn’t a problem as I don’t watch Netflix on my phone – moreso on the TV or a tablet (both of which can use Netflix fine).
With those two riders, the Mate 30 Pro is easily capable of being my daily phone. In fact, for now, it is.
If you’re buying a Mate 30 Pro, or you want to but are holding off because you can’t get Google, this guide is for you.