The Galaxy Gear is a really interesting and fun wearable, but it only works with a select few devices. Only a couple of Samsung phones and phablets are currently supported, but what if you’ve got another phone? In general, you’re out of luck, but thanks to some tinkering by some pretty talented folks, if you’ve got a Nexus 5 and a bit of patience, you might just able to use your Galaxy Gear with the Nexus 5.
This work-around (dare we call it a “hack”?) has been around for a few weeks, but we couldn’t get it working. We weren’t alone. Now, however, two of the files needed have been updated. The process still isn’t what’ we’d call “quick”, but if you’ve got some time and patience, it’s not particularly hard.
- Get a Galaxy Gear and a Nexus 5 (if you don’t have them already)
- Before you get started, you’ll need a file manager, we used Root Explorer, but almost any file manager should work
- Download the three files that you’ll need to make all this work to your phone (links are below)
- Make sure your Android is set to allow installation of apps from sources other than the Play Store
- Install gearmanagerstub.apk
- Rename Gear Manager from an .apk to a .zip
- Extract the contents of the Gear Manager .zip and navigate to the assets/preinstallapks folder
- Install every .apk in that folder (music and weather will not install, so you can skip those two if you want)
- Rename Gear Manager from .zip to .apk and install it
- Turn on your Galaxy Gear
- Pair your Galaxy Gear to your phone (we couldn’t get it to work using the “automatic” NFC method, but “manual” worked just fine)
- Inside the Gear Manager settings, enable installation of apps from unknown sources
- Install ATN Manager
- Give ATN Manager access to your Android notifications by going to Settings > Security > Notification access and putting a check in the appropriate box
- Open ATN Manager and choose which notifications you’d like it to send to your your Galaxy Gear
If everything worked properly you should be able to get notifications to your Galaxy Gear. Besides those, almost everything (excluding S-Voice and weather) works like you’d expect it to — most of the time. In our experience we saw force closes every once in a while, and occasionally some things wouldn’t work as expected. However, from the perspective that this is an unsupported hack, it’s remarkably full-featured.
We were able to get this hack working on our Nexus 5. Others haven’t reported much success when trying this “work-around” on other phones. We’re curious to know what you think, if you’re going to try it on your device, and what level of success you were able to achieve once you did. Let us know in the comments!