Installing and setting up Raccoon
Raccoon itself does not need to be installed. You can copy the binary to any folder you like and start it there. However, in order to run Raccoon, you’ll also need a Java Runtime Environment and, optionally, ADB.
Raccoon is written in Java and requires a current Java Runtime Environment that must be downloaded separately (if not already installed).
The windows version of Raccoon comes wrapped in an executable that will offer to install Java for you automatically if needed. If you are using Linux or Mac OS, you’ll have to install Java through your Packagemanager. NOTE: do need install the server variant of the JRE. It comes without GUI support.
Android Debug Bridge
ADB is a commandline tool and part of the Android developer toolkit. It is required to push APK files to your device via USB cable. If you don’t have ADB installed, yet, Raccoon will offer to install it for you.
Officially, Play only allows real Android devices to download apps. So in order to gain access, Raccoon simply pretends to be one, by default, a flagship phone of the Samsung Galaxy line. Configuring a different device (class) is possible as well).
The Google Account
Play cannot be accessed anonymously. Keep in mind that Google’s business model rides on getting to know you! When you register a Google Account, Google will start a file on you. Every Google service you use (Search, Youtube, Maps, Gmail,…) will log your activities to that file in order to:
- Track you across services.
- Compile a comprehensive consumer profile of you (age, gender, eduction level, available income, current location,…)
- Allow advertisers to reach their target audience.
Needless to say that this is not in the best of your interest. If privacy is a concern to you, then you should register a separate Account exclusively for Raccoon. NOTE: if you intent to buy apps, be aware that most bought apps perform an online license check, requiring you to bind the account, you used for paying to the smartphone, you run them on.
The GSF ID and the Useragent String
Android devices can only download apps, they are compatible with. Play filters server side. Usually this is not a problem, since Raccoon mimics a high end smartphone, almost every developer wants to support. However, if you want to downlaod apps for a different device clas (e.g. Android TV), then you need to configure Raccoon to use a different device profile. You can use the DummyDroid tool to create such a profile.
Proxies, much like VPNs allow you to route your network traffic over a different IP address. Raccoon currently supports HTTP and HTTPS (no SOCKS or TOR). You need a proxy if:
- You don’t want Google to know your real IP address.
- Your firewall doesn’t allow direct internet access.
- You want to download geo blocked apps.
NOTE: if you intent to bypass country restrictions, you only need to use a proxy for the initial download. Once an app is bound to your account, that account can download them from anywhere in the world.
The Raccoon Folder
Raccoon keeps all of its file in a single directory, the so called “instance”. You can have multiple Raccoon instances on the same computer and even move them around freely in your filesystem. However, if you want to run an instance other than the one in the default location, then you have to start raccoon from the commandline like this:
java -Draccoon.home=“/other/instance/folder” -jar raccoon.exe
Instances are meant to be easy to backup. When it’s time to buy a new computer, simply ZIP the instance folder and copy it to the new machine.