How to Install Incompatible Apps from the Android Market

by: Alvin YbañezJanuary 7, 2012

The Android Market holds a lot of useful Android apps for a variety of Android devices. Some of the apps on the Android Market, however, are incompatible with some handset models. This often causes disappointment among some users who would like to try out such incompatible apps on their own handsets.

The good news, however, is that someone has found a method for tricking the Android Market into allowing you to download and install apps to your handset even if the apps are marked as incompatible with such handset.

All you need to do is tweak some file on your device. This can get a little technical, but it’s a simple procedure that almost anyone can follow.

To be able to use the said method, you will need:

  • A rooted Android device
  • A file manager app such as ES File Manage or Root Explorer (both available on the Android Market)

Use this guide at your own risk. We will not be held liable for any damages arising from your use of this guide.


If you’re ready to go, follow these steps:

  1. On your Android phone, Go to Settings > Applications > All > Market and select “Clear Data.”
  2. Open your file manager app.
  3. If you are using ES File Explorer, navigate to Settings > Root Settings and enable “Root Explorer” and “Mount File System.” For Root Explorer, tap the r/w icon at the top of the screen.
  4. Locate and open the file “build.prop” in the /system folder.
  5. Create a backup for “build.prop.” To do that, copy the file and save it to another folder. You will also need to rename the file.
  6. Go back to the original “build.prop” file. Open and edit it. If you are using ES File Explorer, you will need to long-press the file and open it in ES Note Editor.
  7. Locate “ro.product.model” and “ro.product.manufacturer” and make the following changes (for this guide, we will be using Nexus S as an example):
    • ro.product.model = Nexus S
    • ro.product.manufacturer = samsung
  8. After typing in the necessary changes, save the file.
  9. Go to Android Market and try downloading the app that previously told you “This item is not compatible with your device.” You should now be able to download and install it to your phone.

Congratulations! You have successfully allowed your phone to download and install incompatible apps from the Android Market. However, being able to install such apps does not mean they will actually work on your device. But, who knows? You might get lucky.

What incompatible app are you trying to download? Do the instructions in this guide work for your device?

  • S4K

    You can install the app from its .apk which you can easily find in the internet instead

  • Joe

    My build.prop already had my model and manufacturer as above, but I still get the incompatible app messages.

    • Wood

      The Verizon/Samsung Galaxy Nexus Model I515 has the following on the 13th and 20th (non-commented) lines of the /system/build.prop file:

      ro.product.model=Galaxy Nexus


      Are the instructions indicating that those lines should be edited to:

      ◦ ro.product.model = Galaxy Nexus

      ◦ ro.product.manufacturer = samsung

      with the “=” (equal sign) as the first character in those lines, followed by a “space”?

      By the way, how does one get either “ES File Explorer” or “Root Explorer” into file editing mode?

      Also, how does one get ES File Explorer to come out of its /sdcard/ directory? When pressing the “Up Folder” button, a message simply appears stating, “Press again to exit” instead of going up to the root directory to then select the “system” directory.

      • Joe

        Using a space between the equals sign does not make a difference, at least on my droid x. Was hoping this article would help my market incompatibility problems, but it has not. Could the author of this article explain why they think this works, or give potential workarounds?

        • Wood

          I stumbled upon some information relative to this subject in an article “How to edit your build.prop file with a file manager” at which gives some succinct English information regarding what that file does. FreeYourAndroid is a brand new site stemming from much of the work done at and I’m finding to be a great source of information for Android users at all levels.

      • awesome. just effing awesome.

        Dude, if I had any type of reward, it would be to you. Thank you! If you were a chic, and u were hot, id bang you.

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    • michael

      do time a favor and shut your stupid lies up!

    • Juan Carlos

      Your sister must be a good Prostitute!!

    • Fucker

      Only your sister? and what about u? You are pimp?

  • Anonymous

    Could have been useful, when the holiday sale were still ongoing. :)

  • Joe

    For me, I finally realized that apps were showing up as being incompatible because I switched my LCD density. Once reverting back to my screen’s default density, I had several market updates appear, and apps that were showing up as incompatible were now downloadable.

    • Virusmonk3y

      If you use the pro version of LCD Density you can fix it without changing it back.

  • Cristalflores70

    My build.prop already had my model and manufacturer!
    i still saved,wentbackto market asit says to do soand i still get the
    “incompatable app to this device’ nonscence!

    plz help!

  • dr-killer

    it didnt work for me my device is V9 from china and android 4

  • Juanlink

    Wow just what I was looking for, my phone is an LG OPTIMUS ONE P500 ANdroid 2.2, I want to download the USMLEworld Qbank ( ) But it wont let me… I am new to all of this editing, is there an easier way ?

  • James

    Wow… My phone won’t allow me to activate the Root Explorer… Awesome

  • Guest

    first it wasn’t working for me… got the same message over and over again…
    try this if you earlier changed your display density like me!

    go to root > system > build.prob and search for:

    ro.sf.lcd_density=xxx (or similar)

    change the value back to default! :)

    now it works fine for me…

  • monchie

    it’s not letting me edit the build.prop I’m getting a message “an error has occured. Cannot save changes”…..grrrrrrrr

  • Aki

    It doesn’t work and moreover it expired my license of swype and samung keyboard of galaxy fit.

  • hussein eno

    I guess everyone is having the same problem because I did everything right and it updated my market and I have a huawei m865 and I searched for sas 3 zombie assault and it still gave me the same messageabout not being compatible

  • KD

    i have a LG OPTIMUS ELITE FROM VIRGIN MOBILE and it doesn’t work i have my phone rooted. =/

    • Miguel

      Download build prop editor and go through the files and it will say which names need to be change download the free one

  • justinb

    hey don’t know if you guys found this but IT DOE’S WORK i flashed resurrection remix ROM onto my samsung galaxy s2 and found 30 – 40 percent on apps on the market became incompatible, i stumbled across this looking to fix it, it lets you download the apps .apk file and install them, flashplayer, adobeAIR, dragon play slotcity i use all the time and this market app allowed me to install them even though they became incompatible hope it works for you guys it’s located here >

    • justinb

      best of all all the apps are free

  • please help me install ezcast on my android galaxy player so i can play movies on my tv

  • Help me install the ezcast app please! it says incompatible in playstore.

  • Is there away to make all the playstore apps compatible with my android?