At the time of this writing we are hearing rumors of a new OS being released in a few weeks. With this new Blackberry OS release we will have the capability to install APK (Android Installation) files directly without the need to convert them to BAR (Blackberry Runtime) files. I thought I’d quickly put together a how-to in the event this is nothing more than a rumor, or in the event your carrier takes forever to release the official OS 10.2.1.xxx
Before we begin, here is the what I am using to perform these tasks:
- Blackberry Z10 STL100-3
- Software release v 10.2.0.429
- OS version 10.2.0.1803
- Radio version 10.2.0.1804
- Webkit version 10.2.0.1001
- Browser version 10.2.0.51
Basically just a standard Blackberry Z10 using Telus in Ontario, Canada.
Step 1 – Find the APK
This can be accomplished a few different ways. I have various apps on my Android tablet, and on my PC that will re-package APK files, although I don’t fully trust them. If you use such a method for obtaining APK files, hopefully the rest of the steps will work for you. I will outline the method I use. To grab APK files head over to Google Play and find the app you want. In this case we’ll use the newest Instagram.
When you find the app, highlight and copy the URL into your buffer, or write it down, or whatever. The URL is what we’ll need for the next step.
Step 2 – Download the APK
Once again you may find many utilities that allow you to download an APK file. For my method I use a website dedicated to doing this. If you go to http://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/ you should see something similar to the picture below.
Simply paste the URL from Google Play into the box and click Generate Download Link. After a few seconds you will see a box appear telling you to click to download – this will be the APK file you are about to save to your system.
Step 3 – Convert the APK to a BAR file
With the APK file saved on your computer we can now begin the final steps. For my conversions I use another website to accomplish this. Again, I’ve tried different utilities for this, but the website I use seem to give the best results. Go to http://apps.goodereader.com/apk-2-bar/ and you’ll see a button that asks you to Upload. Point to the APK file you just downloaded, and sit back for a few seconds. When you are prompted, save the newly created BAR file.
after a few seconds ….
click to download the BAR file to your computer.
Step 4 – Sideload to your Blackberry
The method you use to sideload files to your Blackberry could be one of many. I prefer to use my wireless connection because it’s the method I’ve used since the beginning, and I find it the easiest for me. To simplify things I have set my home network to reserve the address 220.127.116.11 to my Blackberry. In the event you haven’t done something similar I will still go through the steps to find your IP address on your device.
I also use a Chrome extension to access my device. This is called BB10/PlayBook App Manager, and you can find it here: http://gridbook.org/pb-app-mgr/. You may notice the Blackberry icon on the screenshot above? If you install this extension you will see a similar icon appear in your browser.
To find the IP address for your Blackberry go to Settings > About. In the Category dropdown select Network. You should see two sections – Mobile Network and Wi-Fi. The address you are looking for will be listed under Wi-Fi, and it’s the IPv4 address. If none of this looks familiar to you you may not be connected to your home network, or you have something disabled. Troubleshoot that first, and then come back here to continue.
To begin sideloading you must put your device in Development Mode. Go to Settings > Security and Privacy > Development Mode. If you don’t use a Pin or Password on your device you will be asked to provide one.
Now that your Blackberry is in Development Mode, and you have the BB10 App Manager installed, the rest is a breeze.
Click the Blackberry icon on your browser’s toolbar and you should see something similar to this:
Click the address at the bottom to Manage your device. You may see a warning page saying the site’s security certificate is not trusted. Click Proceed anyway. Everything is safe, and nothing is compromised. Once you provide your password and log in to your Blackberry 10 you will see a list of all the apps you have installed.
To install our newly converted Instagram BAR file simply click the button at the top-right that says Install Apps. Navigate to the Instagram BAR file, click OK. You will see some action happening at the top of your screen, and hopefully you should see the word Finished! appear – you now have the newest Instagram installed on your device!
Now you will want to disable Development Mode, remove the device password if you don’t want a password, and that’s it. I recommend rebooting your device before you check out your new app. This isn’t a needed step, but depending on what you have been running, the last time your phone was booted, what scattered garbage may be in memory, or whatever … I usually just do it.
Hopefully this will help you until that new OS is released and we can skip most of these steps to install APK files. Until then, go crazy with the apps, leave comments, questions or suggestions below.