April 28, 2020

DummyDroid won't download APK files when mocking a Lineage OS device (or any custom ROM for that matter)

With Android and Play, figuring out device compatibility is somewhat of a black art. Which really just is a nice way for saying 'the whole Android ecosystem is one giant compatibility hack'.

So, why can’t you download any apps when probing a device with a custom ROM on it? Well, the answer is as obvious as it is hard to guess: all custom ROMs come without GAPPS pre installed (for many users that’s the whole point). However, Play takes the version number of the Google Play Store app into account for determining device compatibility. If you probe a device without GAPPS on it, DummyDroid will will simply fall back to the default value (“1”) and Play will think, you are using a stoneage device.

So, how do you fix this? Simply navigate to the “Versions” tab in the datasheet box and enter valid values for the com.android.vending package. At the time of this writing, the latest version is:

version name
version code

You can leave the other packages as is for now. DummyDroid doesn’t make use of them.

I should probably add an option for downloading the Google Play Store APK and extracting the version information from it. Not sure how/where to hook it into the user interface, yet.