June 20, 2024

Chapter 8 – solution to get Garmin Smartphone app working on non-google android phones (see edits 1 and 2 (success!!) below)

May 2023

Last summer my Volla phone arrived with volla os as the operating system. Generally, I am now pretty happy with it. There was a system update in January 2023 which brought built-in micro-g functionality with it and this has enabled various apps to work without having to have the actual Google Services Framework installed.

So far so good BUT no amount of fiddling about or reinstalling, resetting or various other methods could persuade the Garmin Smartphone Link app to work without Google background services. I even tried using other operating systems on the phone such as Ubuntu Touch and SailfishOS but no success here either. Basically, the app gets stuck right at the beginning trying to verify the google account via the play store (which is, of course, not possible if you don’t have any google play store functionalitiy).

I finally decided to be a bit adventurous and try finding an older version of the app. I remembered that I used to have the old app on an old phone some years ago and it worked fine, it also seemed to use a different verification method for the google account…

I had a search around and found this website (uptodown.com) which offers old versions of apps:

I decided to go all the way back to the 2.1.2 version which had the old blue garmin smartphone logo. This version appeared to be one that supported all androids from 4.0 upwards. I installed this file from the site above (which I have scanned with Avast antivirus) but cannot take any responsibility for the file or consequences of installing it on your phone :

I have just tested it with my Garmin Zumo 590 and it appears to work fine 🙂 . Thus it appears to be possible to regain the full functionality of this Garmin navigator with traffic and weather despite having an ungoogled version of android.


Edit 1: well, a dose of cold water has been reported 🙂 I have done some testing with my Zumo 590 and the ungoogled phone with the older version of Smartlink. It registers properly on the navigator but the traffic window won’t update or show the traffic information so I am wondering whether the older version of Smartlink has a different data format that the newer firmware on the Zumo can’t use… I have also experimented with newer versions of Smartlink but the newer versions use the google play verification without offering other options so am still stuck there on how to verify. Thus, I can’t fully say whether this solution really works. Will continue testing and will report on any further results.

Good news!!

Edit 2: Now for some good news 🙂 After the problems I had described above, I uninstalled the smartlink app and reinstalled a really old version 1.8.2 (at own risk on site link below). Now, yesterday during the unsuccessful attempt to go away for two days with the bike and tent I did finally get traffic and current road information on the Zumo whilst riding!! So, the ancient version 1.8.2 does now work in non-roaming with the Zumo 590. So, finally some good news for us ungoogled android users who use Garmin devices… 😉

I ran a test of this setup with version 1.8.2 of Garmin Smartlink using the Zumo 590 on a trip down from Germany through Austria and Slovenia to Croatia and it worked faultlessly all the way so I am really happy about this 🙂 . It is important to check that the data roaming settings on the phone are correct for it to function outside your base country. Here is the version that I used (as always I take no responsability for using this file, it looks clean to me and it works but use at own risk!!):

This has significant advantages over “vanilla” use of the navigator as you have access to traffic functions and local warnings which (cannot be overstated) is really useful and can save you a lot of hassle, stress and also, potentially, money.

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2wheels, adventure, ecology, dad and husband, green, news, tech-fan, trauma- and orthopod, engineer and human. https://mstdn.social/@MarkDW

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