How to use Samsung Gear S2 or Gear S3 with devices that have less than 1.5GB of RAM

Issue

When you try to connect your Samsung Gear S2 or Gear S3 smartwatch to a smartphone that has less than 1.5GB of RAM for the first time, you are in for a nasty surprise; although you can find and install Samsung Gear manager application from Google Play store onto your device, it will be unable to successfully connect your smartphone and the Gear S2 / Gear S3.

Samsung Gear manager app can't find and connect to Gear S2 / Gear S3
Samsung Gear manager app can’t find and connect to Gear S2 / Gear S3

If you try to connect Gear S2 / Gear S3 to your device manually, that is directly from phone’s bluetooth settings, the phone is able to find Gear S2 / Gear S3 and even initiates the pairing process together with the “Confirm passkey xxxxxx to pair with Gear S2.” or “Confirm passkey xxxxxx to pair with Gear S3.” message. After you confirm the bluetooth pairing request, a “setting up…” text is displayed on your Gear S2 / Gear S3 watch but the process doesn’t succeed. The connecting process between the smartphone and Gear S2 / Gear S3 needs to be performed from within the Samsung Gear app in order to be successfully completed.

The reason why Samsung Gear app is unable to find and pair the Gear S2 / Gear S3 with devices that have less than 1.5GB of RAM is the Samsung Gear manager app itself; the developers at Samsung enforced a minimum RAM requirement check into the app. When Samsung Gear app is run on the devices that have less than 1.5GB of RAM, it is only able to find and pair with Samsung accessories such as Gear Triathlon S/M, Gear IconX R/L and Gear Circle but not the Gear S2 / Gear S3.

I suspect the reason for their decision is they have encountered some performance issues on some of less capable smartphones during the testing phase and decided to drop support for the mentioned devices altogether to prevent potential complaints from customers.

Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 minimum of 1.5GB RAM requirement
Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 minimum of 1.5GB RAM requirement

Solution

I was able to disable the minimum RAM requirement check from the Samsung Gear app and thus make it work on whole range of Android smartphones that have less than 1.5GB of RAM. This was accomplished by decompiling the Samsung Gear apk, modifying the rules.xml file (adding hostMinMemory=”0″ syntax), recompiling and re-signing it.

Beside the Samsung Gear app, Gear S2 / Gear S3 also requires two additional apps to be installed on the smartphone in order to connect and function as intended; Samsung Accessory Service and Gear S plugin. These apps also had to be re-signed, since they wouldn’t install successfully if downloaded directly from Google Play Store, when there is a re-signed Samsung Gear app installed on the system.

I would like to point out that the integrity of the Samsung Gear app wasn’t compromised in any way since I didn’t do any other changes, beside disabling the minimum RAM requirement check before it initiates the pairing process.
Modified app works the same as the one downloaded from the Google Play store.

Adding hostMinMemory=”0″ syntax to rules.xml file inside Samsung Gear app
Adding hostMinMemory=”0″ syntax to rules.xml file inside Samsung Gear app
Compatible devices

The modified Samsung Gear app should work on a whole range of Android smartphones (Android 4.4 Kitkat, 5.x Lollipop, 6.x Marshmallow). No ROOT required.

If you have a Samsung phone and are getting “The operating system on your phone has been modified in an unauthorized way, and is not compatible with the Samsung Gear app. Check your operating system and try again.” error click here.

Below is the list of devices that are known to be working with the modified Samsung Gear app and Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 smartwatch:

  • LG Ultimate 2 L41C (Android 4.4, 1GB RAM)
  • HTC One Mini 2 (Android 4.4.2, 1GB RAM)
  • HTC Desire 626G+ dual sim (Android 4.4.2, 1GB RAM)
  • Motorola Moto G3 (Android 5.1.1/6.0, version with 1GB of RAM)
  • Motorola Moto E (Android 5.1, 1GB of RAM)
  • BQ Aquaris A4.5 (Android 6.0, 1GB of RAM)
  • *The list will expand as more compatible devices are reported by users.

*Synchronization with Samsung Health / S-Health app doesn’t work
Workout and lifestyle data from the Gear S2 / Gear S3 doesn’t show in Samsung Health app on the smartphone. Reason for this is that Samsung Health app checks signature of Gear S Plugin and refuses to sync or exchange data with it, because it wasn’t signed by Samsung. On non-rooted phones only workaround is to use other exercise tracking apps such as Endomondo, MapMyRun or Under Armour Record for Gear S2 / Gear S3. Mentioned apps are currently only able to transfer limited exercise data from Gear S2 / Gear S3 to Samsung Health app, such as workout start/stop time, distance, sport type and calories.
On rooted phones there is a possibility to install an un-modified Samsung Gear, Gear S Plugin, Samsung Accessory Service and Samsung Health from Play Store, going to \data\data\com.samsung.android.app.watchmanager\files\ directory with File manager that has root access (in ES File Explorer go to Settings, Tools and turn on “Root Explorer”) and manually editing (adding hostMinMemory=”0″ syntax) rules.xml file (Open it with Es Notes Editor). By using original apps signed by Samsung, sync with Samsung Health works as intended. Do not forget to turn off Auto update for Samsung Gear app afterwards, otherwise it will overwrite rules.xml file with an original version on every app update.

Connecting to Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3

Please follow the steps below carefully and in the exact order to successfully connect the Gear S2 / Gear S3 to your smartphone. Do not attempt to skip any step.

1. Remove existing Samsung apps

If you have installed Samsung Gear app from Google Play Store you will need to remove it in order to install modified Gear app. Go to Settings -> Application Manager / Apps -> All and search for Samsung Gear, Gear S Plugin and Samsung Accessory Service. If any of the mentioned apps is found, it needs to be removed / uninstalled. Restart your smartphone after the uninstall.

2. Unpair Gear S2 / Gear S3

Go to Settings -> Bluetooth and look under the Paired Devices. If Gear S2 / Gear S3 is listed under the Paired Devices, you will need to un-pair it.

3. Allow installation of apps from unknown sources

Go to Settings -> Security and make sure that there is a check-mark next to “Unknown sources”. This will allow installation of modified Samsung Gear app.

4. Download the modified Samsung Gear app

Click on the link below to download the modified Samsung Gear app, re-signed Gear S Plugin and re-signed Samsung Accessory Service. All three apps are packed in a compressed .zip package. Download the .zip file to your computer, unzip or extract it and then transfer apps (.apk files) to your smartphone. In case you don’t have access to a computer, you can download .zip file directly from the browser on your smartphone and then use File manager to extract apps.

5. Install apps to your smartphone

Use a File manager app to browse for the transferred apps (if you downloaded .zip file directly from smartphone, it should reside in the “Download” folder in internal memory or SD card). Tap on each of the three apps to install it. Accept all required permissions during installation.

6. Preparing Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 for connection

Restart your smartphone and make sure Bluetooth is turned on before attempting the connection. Make sure your Gear S2 / Gear S3 is turned on and in “discovery mode”, the text “Install Samsung Gear on your phone.” should be displayed, as seen on the picture below. If something else is displayed on screen of your Gear S2 / Gear S3, you will need to reset it, by pressing “Home button”, tapping on the “Settings” icon -> Gear info -> Reset Gear. Or in case when Gear S2 / Gear S3 was connected to another smartphone, by pressing “Home button”, tapping on the “Settings” icon -> Connect to new phone.

Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 in bluetooth discovery mode
Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 in bluetooth discovery mode

7. Connecting Samsung Gear S2 / Gear S3 using modified Gear app

Open the installed Samsung Gear app, tap on the “Connect to Gear” button and wait a bit for the phone to find the Gear S2 / Gear S3. If it doesn’t find it the first time, repeat the step. After the Gear S2 / Gear S3 is found, tap on the “Gear S2” / “Gear S3” text, wait for the Bluetooth pairing request and confirm the pair. Also make sure that you allow or confirm any further permission requests. If all went well, your Gear S2 / Gear S3 should now be successfully connected to your smartphone.

8. Provide feedback to help the community

If you would like to help other fellow Gear S2 / Gear S3 owners who are unable to connect it to their smartphone, please provide some feedback (model of your smartphone, version of Android, possible issues) in the comments below or via email to info@getgui.com. If the modified Samsung Gear app works on your smartphone, it will be added to the list of compatible devices, otherwise we will try to find a solution together.


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12 thoughts on “How to use Samsung Gear S2 or Gear S3 with devices that have less than 1.5GB of RAM

  1. Moto E (tracfone cheapie but still nice phone) with 1GB RAM worked just fine … so far.

    Thanks for this.

  2. Hi,
    Thank You for Your work, but after instalation, when I try open app, I get an information that my system has been changed by unauthorized way and application won’t be opened. My phone is samsung galaxy s3 mini, and stock is not available in version 4.4 of android. I flashed it with custom rom 4.4.4. Do you know how to bypass it? Maybe there is some option that checks flash counter or phone code with available official OS version? I dunno…
    I really, would like to help You add another compatible phone to the list 😉
    Thank you!
    Cheers

    1. Hello,

      there is an issue when using modified apps from my blog on Samsung phones because the apps are not signed by Samsung.

      On rooted phones you can get around this issue by modifying build.prop file like described below:

      Try editing your build.prop file with ES File Explorer or similar program – search for build.prop file with ES File Explorer and when you find it, tap on it and select to open it with ES Note Editor. You then need to replace all entries in the build.prop that say samsung, to htc for example. Entries are case-sensitive. After you modify the file, try exiting the ES Note Editor and choose to save changes in the save changes dialog window. Open the file again and check if the changes are there, if they aren’t, it is because ES File Explorer doesn’t have root privileges – make sure to put a check mark beside the “root privilege” in the settings of ES File Explorer. Please note that changing the build.prop file could lead to some issues – mainly that you couldn’t find some Samsung specific apps on Play Store because your phone is identified as HTC. Reboot phone after making the changes to build.prop file. Please report back the results.

    1. These apps are not designed to work with Gear 2 Neo, they are for Gear S2 and Gear S3.
      Your phone has 2 GB of RAM so it should work with original, un-modified apps from Play Store.
      If it doesn’t work, try XDA developers forum, maybe someone is experiencing the same issues.

  3. I have a moto e and the samsung gear properly installed but when i try to open the gear s2 plugin app i cant, can anyone help

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