How to Install APK Files to Galaxy Gear! [Win/Mac/Linux]

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I know many of you requested me to show you how to install APK files to your Galaxy Gear using ADB and this will allow you to install any regular Android apps onto your Galaxy Gear.

Now, not all Android apps work out of the box on the Galaxy Gear but you will find many do work including Nova launcher, which can give you a fresh, vanilla Android UI over Galaxy Gear’s watch UI.

By installing APK files to your Galaxy Gear, you can essentially turn it into a standalone Android device.  And of course enjoy regular Android apps not offered by the Samsung App Store.

Step 1. Go to Settings->Gear info on your Galaxy Gear.


Step 2. Make sure “USB debug” is checked ON then connect a micro-USB cable from your Galaxy Gear to your computer.  (Yes, you will need to put your USB cover back on.)



Step 3. Download and unzip


Download and copy over any APK files you want to install such as Nova launcher, games, and other apps.  You can simply Google any APK files you want to download, usually you will be able to find it easily using Google.  (e.g. Google “Angry Birds APK” for Angry Birds)

You can download Nova launcher APK here that I used in the video.


Step 4. If you are using Mac or Linux, you don’t need drivers so skip this step.  If you are using Windows, make sure you see “SAMSUNG Android ADB Interface” in your Device Manager.  If you don’t see it, download and install Samsung USB drivers, then unplug and re-plug the micro-USB cable to your Galaxy Gear.


Step 5. Open a terminal for Mac/Linux or command prompt for Windows. (If you don’t know how to do this, please Google it!)

Next, type:

For Windows:

cd Downloads

cd fastboot

adb devices

For Mac:

cd Downloads

cd fastboot

chmod 755 *

./adb-mac devices

For Linux:

cd Downloads

cd fastboot

chmod 755 *

./adb-linux devices


Step 6. Go to your Galaxy Gear and you should hit “OK” when the “Allow USB debugging” window pops up.  If the window does not pop-up, try killing adb.exe in Task Manager for Windows or try command “kill adb” for Mac/Linux, and try Step 5 again.


Step 7. Go back to terminal/command prompt and type:

adb devices

*For Mac, replace all “adb” with “./adb-mac” for the rest of the instruction.

*For Linux, replace all adb with “./adb-linux” for the rest of the instruction.

You should see “device”.  If you do, you are good to go!


Step 8. Next you can use the following command to install any APK file you want:

adb install PutNameOfAPKFileHERE.apk


Step 9. Once apps are installed, they will show up under “Apps” on your Galaxy Gear.


If you installed Nova launcher or any other 3rd party launchers, you will have a choice to select TouchWiz home (which is Galaxy Gear launcher) or your installed launcher so you can switch easily back and forth between Galaxy Gear UI and Android UI.



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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.