Huawei’s flagship Mate 30 series offers a whole bunch of features that might sound too good to be true, 7680 fps super slow motion for instance. However, both the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro come with a huge compromise that might be a dealbreaker for many, the lack of Google services. Well, there was a method to side-load Google Apps using an app and it has gone obsolete now.
The app, named LZPlay, exploited a backdoor that allowed users to easily sideload Google apps and services on the Mate 30 and the Mate 30 Pro. Popular developer John Wu known for Magisk wrote a blog post exposing the possible risks of using the app. The developer has stated that the method depends on “undocumented Huawei specific MDM APIs”.
“Although this “backdoor” requires user interaction to be enabled, the installer app, which is signed with a special certificate from Huawei, was granted privileges nowhere to be found on standard Android systems.”, wrote John Wu in a Medium post.
The app is no longer available on LZPlay.net, the official website of the app. In fact, the website itself has gone down. Even if have managed to find the mirror of the APK, you’re out of luck since a “special certificate” is necessary to access the backdoor. Also, SafetyNet tests are failing on devices with Google services already sideloaded. Passing the SafetyNet test is indeed a big deal since it affects the functionality of a bunch of Google apps and services.
For those getting paranoid about the existence of the backdoor, here is what Mr.Wu has to say from a security researcher’s perspective. “This undocumented API is not the “OMG Huawei is spying on us OMG” kind of backdoor many media might wish to exist. It is protected behind rigorous verification on Huawei’s side and requires user interaction to allow the permission to be granted. Nevertheless, only Huawei knows the intent to create such API and allow the existence of “LZPlay”, and it is up to anyone’s imagination.”
There is no doubt that this method showed a ray of hope for Huawei fans outside China who uses Google services on a daily basis. The dream of having Google services got short-lived and we will have to wait until the on-going disputes settle to know if Google services would ever make a comeback to upcoming Huawei devices. Until then, share your thoughts on this situation in the comments.