I got excited about the prospect of writing code for a watch and ordered a Samsung Galaxy Gear. Currently the device does nothing unless paired with a Samsung phone running the proper version of the official software.

My goal is to enable debug mode and use adb to install apps, not necessarily use all the phone-gear functionalities.

Any idea on how to do anything without a Galaxy phone? The obvious answer is no, but I'm hoping some clever hacker in this site may have found a way.

  • Just for clarification, do you want to unlock the Galaxy Gear to be used on a phone that's not officially supported??
    – dotVezz
    Oct 24, 2013 at 13:52
  • I want to unlock it just enough to enable debug mode so I can install apps via adb. I understand that expecting to use the full set of features with an unsupported phone is unrealistic.
    – fsaint
    Oct 24, 2013 at 14:46
  • Has Samsung gone in and put some weird requirement that you have to have a Note 3 to enable ADB sideloading/installing? O_o (That seriously sounds plausible, now that I think about it)
    – dotVezz
    Oct 24, 2013 at 15:28
  • androidauthority.com/side-load-galaxy-gear-apps-281864 seems to indicate that you can use adb without any special requirements.
    – dotVezz
    Oct 24, 2013 at 15:29
  • The thing is that unless you have a Note 3 the "smart" watch does nothing but require you to pair it to a Note 3. It does not even tell the time.
    – fsaint
    Oct 24, 2013 at 15:32

3 Answers 3


I have gear and note 2. I rooted my phone and watch: everything went OK. Finally got internet on the gear Bluetooth tether to my phone.

Got new KitKat on the note 2. I installed Null ROM onto the gear. The gear with it original stock OS ROM sucks, its pure garbage. But with custom ROM its a lot better.

Beware: Rooting the gear you can mess it up.

  • Null rom is awesome!
    – fsaint
    Mar 31, 2014 at 17:54

Thanks to this thread on XDA Developers, I've just paired my Galaxy Gear with the Nexus 4 and was able to turn on the USB debugging.

Hope it helps.

  • Oh that's awesome! I've upvoted you and I hope you don't mind if I integrate this information into my answer.
    – dotVezz
    Oct 28, 2013 at 15:57
  • I'm not the hero, all the credits should go to Blaze, I've just followed the steps from his thread. A few remarks: 2. "com.sec.android.fotaprovider" is probably not needed, I've installed it on mistake, have overlooked that it was not an "com.samsung.*" APK. 3. Yes, the Gear Manager does throw some errors, it hangs and crashes sometimes. I have not tried to use the watch with the phone as Samsung intends, I've just needed the access to the hardware of the watch to test my Apps over the adb. I think it's the same that Felz has needed. Oct 29, 2013 at 10:07
  • This looks promising. Gonna try it out.
    – fsaint
    Oct 29, 2013 at 17:03
  • @Felz, let us know how it goes. I'm really interested in hearing about your (and Oleg's) experience using this method so I can improve the instructions in my answer (Which are currently based solely on the comments in that thread)
    – dotVezz
    Oct 29, 2013 at 19:37

It requires Bluetooth 4.0 LE, which is only in a few devices right now (But that number will grow). If your device doesn't support Bluetooth 4.0 LE, you're out of luck. Period. Buy a new phone if you want to use a Galaxy Gear.

Updated Friday, November 15th, 2013

Another XDA user has posted a very detailed and interesting walkthrough of the steps taken to get it to pair with his Nexus 5. It requires access to a Samsung phone compatible with the Gear, but it seems like a much better solution than the one above.

Not all of the steps he's taking seem necessary. Here's my version of the hack:

  1. Connect your Gear to a compatible Samsung phone.
  2. Pull the file /data/data/com.samsung.android.app.watchmanager/shared_prefs from the Samsung phone and hold onto it for now.
  3. Enable ADB on the Gear.
  4. Using ADB, modify the following file on the Gear: /data/misc/bluedroid/bt_config.xml. Find the lines where you should insert your phone's data, replacing the Samsung phone data. Here's an example with a Nexus 5:

    <N1 Tag="your n5 bt mac address">
    <N1 Tag="Name" Type="string">Nexus 5</N1>
  5. Reboot the Gear.
  6. Pair the Gear with your non-compatible phone over Bluetooth normally.
  7. Sideload the Gear Manager application onto your phone.
  8. Remember when we pulled that file from the Samsung phone in step 2? Push that file to the same directory on your phone.
  9. Run Gear Manager. You're done!

The previous method is still listed below.

A thread on XDA Developers (Many thanks to Oleg, who posted this in his answer and deserves upvotes) has interesting news! The software needed has been identified, and the APK's have been extracted. According to one user (Our hero, Oleg), following the steps on the thread and using the files provided there allows you to pair the watch and unlock it with a Nexus 4. A basic description of the processis follows...

  1. Install all the Samsung APK's from this upload, provided by XDA User blazespinnaker.
  2. Install com.sec.android.fotaprovider from the same upload. (Maybe not necessary?)
  3. Run Gear Manager. If you have errors, close it and run it again(?).
  4. Pair Manually with your Galaxy Gear.

Note that this is still not a perfect solution. Some features may not be working. However, you should apparently be able to unlock and enable ADB!

I'll update this answer as more information becomes known.

But for the rest of your question (about ADB).

This article indicates that you can enable ADB mode on the Galaxy Gear itself, which is actually kind of exciting. The steps are simple. The article also has a helpful video!

  1. Swipe to "Settings"
  2. Scroll all the way down to "Gear Info"
  3. Enable "USB Debug"

If you're on Windows, you'll doubtlessly need the Samsung USB Drivers. But other than that, you should be pretty much set!

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