South Africans who buy new Huawei smartphones are still able to download and use many popular and useful apps.
Due to Huawei’s usage of HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) instead of GMS (Google Mobile Services) on its new smartphones, apps like Chrome, Gmail, Google Photos, and Maps are not available on Huawei devices like the P40.
Despite their absence, however, many other major apps can still be installed and run with no issues – including WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok, Telegram, and WeChat.
In recent months, Huawei has also been pushing development and adding applications to its own AppGallery app store.
In this regard, it has partnered with many South African businesses, and now boasts apps from Takealot, Showmax, DStv Now, and Bolt.
Most of South Africa’s major banks – including Absa, Capitec Bank, Discovery Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank – also offer their apps on AppGallery.
Not all of the apps which can be installed on a new Huawei smartphone are available directly through the AppGallery, however.
Huawei P40 smartphone owners will find a useful app called Petal Search on their home page, which acts as a one-stop-shop for apps that are able to run on new Huawei devices.
It aggregates and collects apps available across different platforms and provides users with links to download them directly from both official and unofficial sources.
We’ve divided the apps which can be located on Petal Search into three main categories:
- AppGallery apps – Available from the Huawei AppGallery.
- Official app sources – Available from the official websites of the developers.
- APK hosting sites – Android packages (APKs) uploaded to alternative sites.
The potential risk of APKs
The first two categories of apps are provided directly from the developers and are hosted securely to avoid any malicious modification from attackers.
The third category includes sites which may in many instances source APKs from official stores, which can be installed onto a Huawei device by a process called side-loading.
however, these apps may in certain cases have been modified to include malware, adware, or other software that could damage your device or steal your personal information.
There are a few of these APK-hosting sites which are generally regarded to be safer than other sources – including APKMirror and APKPure.
These sites claim they use rigorous security practices to make sure all the APKs they offer are safe and free from viruses.
This is done by verifying the legitimacy of all apps before publishing by using SHA1 encryption to ensure the certificate is safe.
“We make sure that the cryptographic signatures for new versions of all previously published apps match the original ones, which means we know if the new version APKs were signed by the real devs or someone pretending to be them,” APKPure explained.
“For new apps that have never been published on APKPure.com, we try to match the signatures to other existing apps by the same developer. If there’s a match, it means that the same key was used to sign a previously known legitimate app, therefore validating the new upload.”
“If we’re unable to verify the legitimacy of a new APK, we will simply not publish it on APKPure.com,” it added.
Approach with caution
While many users have been able to use these sites to download legitimate versions of apps that aren’t officially supported, Huawei users should still approach these APKs with a fair measure of caution.
Importantly, a number of the services which aren’t available as official apps can be accessed on their websites via a mobile browser, which is a safer alternative.
Below is an overview of 40 apps which are available either from the Huawei AppGallery, official websites of the developers, or from APK-hosting sites.
- Capitec Bank
- Discovery Bank
- DStv Now
- Standard Bank
APK hosting sites
- Amazon Prime Video
- Amazon Shopping
- Facebook Lite
- Google Chrome
- Google Earth
- Google Maps
- Microsoft Outlook
- Uber Eats
- Zoom Cloud Meetings