Despite Huawei continuing to cross its fingers and find some way, shape or form of workaround for the ongoing ban placed upon it by the US government, the company still went ahead and unveiled two truly new smartphones to the world in September 2019: the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro.
As much as it was clear at the phones’ launch that the company wished its ordeal would have concluded by now, it simply wasn’t to be. As such, both new Mate Series devices boast superb hardware and the latest build of Huawei’s own EMUI 10 (atop Android 10) but no mention was made of Google Play Services - a near-essential part of the user experience on any Android phone released outside of China.
While Google Play Services’ absence may be the biggest roadblock to both the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro’s success on store shelves, all is not lost. And, actually, Huawei is now saying that even if it was allowed to include Google apps and services it wouldn't, and it has been confirmed that Chinese phone makers including itself, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are working together to create their own alternative.
If you’re comfortable putting your faith in a service from a seemingly unknown source, there is a simple way to add Google Play Services to the Huawei Mate 30, Mate 30 Pro and any other Huawei handset lacking them, running EMUI 9.1.1 or newer.
An updated solution came after the original was killed by Huawei and the rogue app developer back in October 2019, but the new workaround works on the Mate 30 Pro and potentially work on any other compatible Huawei or Honor phone without Google Play Services pre-installed.
Note: Our successful attempt was achieved using a pre-launch Chinese Huawei Mate 30 Pro - the bootloader was/is locked.
Here’s what you’ll need to install Google Play on your Mate 30 Pro:
- A Windows PC (sorry Mac users!)
- Huawei HiSuite (download)
- Google App APKs (download)
- HiSuite Mate 30 Pro backup file (download)
- Install and open the HiSuite app on your Windows 10 PC.
- Plug your Huawei Mate 30 Pro into your PC via USB-C cable.
- You should see a pop-up on your phone asking whether you want to use HDB – agree to this. If you don’t see the pop-up, head to Settings > Security > More Settings and toggle on the option to allow HiSuite to use HDB.
- The HiSuite app should automatically be installed on the Mate 30 Pro. Open the app, and enter the 8-digit verification code in the HiSuite app on your PC.
- If successfully connected, you should see a menu like the one displayed below:
- Create the directory C:\temp if your PC doesn’t have it already, and create two new folders within the Temp folder; one called backup and one called apps.
- Extract the contents of the LZPlayBackup.zip file to C:\temp\backup.
- Extract the contents of GoogleApps.zip to C:\temp\apps.
- In the HiSuite app for Windows, click the Restore button.
- In the pop-up that appears, hit the Edit icon (with what looks like a pencil in a pot) and navigate to C:\temp\backup. The app should find the file you extracted earlier, and be displayed like so:
- Hit the Restore button. You’ll then be prompted for a password; enter a12345678 and hit the Enter key to start the process. It should only take a few seconds, and contrary to the Restore function, it won’t actually wipe your Mate 30 Pro. You should see the LZPlay app on your phone, but ignore that for now.
- On the HiSense app for PC, click My Device and then select File Browser on the left-hand side. Copy the six APK files you extracted earlier to the Downloads folder on your Mate 30 Pro. It doesn’t have to be the Downloads folder – you just need to make sure you can easily locate them.
- Disconnect your Mate 30 Pro from your PC – you no longer need to use your PC or the HiSuite app.
- Open the Files app on your Mate 30 Pro and navigate to the Downloads folder.
- Install all six Google APKs – it doesn’t matter which order, as long as all are installed. As you install the apps, be sure to allow access to the various permissions required to operate properly.
- Once you’ve installed all six APKs, open the LZPlay app on your phone. It should look like a weird purple hexagon with a Google icon in the middle.
- You’ll then be prompted to activate the app as a device administrator – tap Activate to continue (don’t worry, you can revoke these permissions later).
- You’ll see a bunch of Mandarin on the next screen, along with a few scary-looking exclamation mark icons, but ignore these – the work is essentially done by this point.
- Restart your phone.
You should then have access to Google Play and the services that Google offers on Android. There are a few apps that won’t work, namely the likes of Netflix due to the lack of SafetyNet support, but most social media, productivity and banking apps should run without any issue – we’ve not run into any issues with apps downloaded via Google Play thus far, anyway.
Once installed, feel free to head to Settings > Apps, tap the LZPlay app (it’s in Mandarin so it’s easier to look for the icon) and tap Uninstall. You’ll then revoke the device administrator settings and allow you to remove the app. It’s that simple!