How to: Sideload Google Glass apps using ADB on Windows

Every day it seems there are more and more awesome apps being released by developers, but many are not – and may never be – listed as official Glassware by Google . So how exactly does one sideload an app to Google Glass using Windows? Installing–or “sideloading” as it is more commonly referred to–an app may seem like a daunting task to those who have not done it before, but it’s a pretty simple process provided a little care is taken and you have some amount of familiarity with basic Windows commands. Today, I will be providing you with the steps needed in order to successfully sideload an app onto Google Glass using Windows.

But first, a word of warning: Much like when installing any app that can be sideloaded to any Android device, care must be taken. Some applications may not work as described or may cause Glass to perform differently. GoogleGlassFans takes no responsibility if something that is loaded causes Glass to act a little wonky. Use discretion, please.

Now for the fun stuff. For this tutorial, we will be installing “Preview for Glass” which is a really cool app we covered earlier. Make sure no other device–such as a phone–is plugged into your computer, and before anything further can be undertaken, you need to download Android Debug Bridge or ADB. ADB is a tool apart of the Android SDK that is used to send commands to an Android device, and is absolutely necessary if you want to sideload applications onto your Google Glass.

How to install ADB on Windows

1.  Download the Android SDK for Windows.

2.  Extract the Android SDK using an unzip tool such as WinZip or 7-zip, and move the “platform-tools” folder to the root of your C: drive. For the purposes of this guide, let’s rename it “Android-adb”.

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3.  Right-click your “My Computer” icon, click “Properties,” go to the “Advanced” tab, and then click on “Environment Variables.”

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4.) In the system variable box, scroll down until you see “path”, click it once to highlight it, and then click edit. Go to the very end of all the text that is already there, DO NOT change anything, simply add:

;C:Android-adb

Click ‘OK’.

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You have now completely set up Android Debug Bridge on Windows.

The next step is downloading our example app, and getting Glass itself set up to sideload apps.

Download the “Preview for Glass” .APK, and save the app within the “Android-adb” folder we discussed earlier.

Put Google Glass into “Debug” mode

Next, what is needed is to set Glass to “Debug” mode, which is the device’s setting that is needed if you want to sideload apps. To enable debug mode:

1.  Wake Glass, and from the “ok glass” screen swipe to the settings card, tap.

2.  Scroll forward to Device Info, tap.

3.  Scroll forward to Turn on Debug Mode, tap.

You will then hear Glass chime. And with that, debugging should now be turned on.

Using ADB to sideload a Google Glass app

As I discussed earlier, you should now have our “Preview for Glass” app in the same directory as the ADB tool. Now, we need to go ahead and launch our command line so that we can actually use ADB.

1.  First, go ahead and connect Glass via the USB cable to your computer. You should hear both Glass and Windows chime to confirm the connection (based on your computer settings).

2.  Next, we need to actually launch the command prompt. You can do this a few ways, but for simplicity’s sake, just click on your start button, and in the “search programs and files” box, simply type in:

cmd

Press “OK”.

3.  Confirm Google Glass is connected. You do this by typing “adb devices” in the newly opened command line. Once you run that command, you should see a random jumble of numbers and letters with the word “device” next to them. Here’s what mine looks like:

015XXXXXXXXXXX  device

1796528_646795528689433_786124798_n

This means Google Glass is connected. If you’re not seeing anything listed, follow the initial device configuration steps to make sure everything is installed and updated correctly to allow ADB to recognize Glass.

3.  Now for the final step, which is actually installing the app. Simply type the following command:

adb install (app filename here)

For example:

adb install Preview.apk

The above command would install Preview for Glass on my machine.

If you have installed the app correctly, then you will see the word “Success” displayed on screen.

After you have installed the app, simply launch the app via Glass.

And now you know how to install an app using ADB on Windows.

Uninstalling an app using ADB on Windows

Uninstalling an application is where it gets a little tricky; doing so is slighty more difficult than installing. If you want to uninstall an application you need to open up cmd again and type:

adb shell pm list packages

When you enter that command you will see a big list of all the applications that are currently installed on your Glass. The window will look similar to this:

adbshellpmlistpackages

What you need to do next is look for the full name of the application you installed. For example, since we installed “Preview for Glass” the package name would be something like “con.google.glass.Preview.”

Once the package name is found, you can uninstall the application by typing and entering the command:

adb uninstall

For example, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to type:

adb uninstall con.google.glass.Preview.

Congrats, you’ve now uninstalled the app from Google Glass.

And there we have it.  Let us know what you think of our How-To guides in the comments below, and if you have any problems, be sure to let us know!

This is the official GoogleGlassFans guide to setting up ADB on a Windows and installing/uninstalling apps on Google Glass. We hope that this guide as well as potential future guides can help make your experience with Google Glass just that much better. Let us know what you think of our How-To guides in the comments below and be sure to let us know what you would like to see in the future!