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Problem identifying Android app on one device to enable installation on another device


Jan 18, 2018
I have a number of Android devices and have been using Android for many years. I have on all my devices installed essentially the same Apps which I like. Whenever I obtain a new device I install most of my favourite Apps (used on existing devices) across to it. Most of the time this works without any problem.

However I've now encountered a problem I wasn't expecting. I have an App called Clock installed on different devices but (while having the same name) they are actually different Apps as they are produced by different developers. I've found one particular Clock app which I prefer to the alternatives and would like to install it on all my devices. The problem is that Google Play has so many Apps called Clock (dozens of them) that I cannot distinguish between them and select the identical App (the one that I prefer) to be installed on my other devices.

Can anyone suggest a way that I can transfer my preferred Clock App located on one device and installing it on other devices when I don't know where to find it on Google Play?
Look in the list of installed apps in the play store. The listing for that app will tell you who the developer is. As long as it's available in the Play Store for your other device you should then be able to identify and install it.

As Danny says, if you have the same Google account on them all that makes it very easy. You can even go to the play store using a Web browser, select the app and then install it on your other device from there.

If you have a new device and the app in question has not been updated for a long time there is some risk that it may not be listed as available for the new device. If that happens try apkmirror.com or apkpure.com and see whether you can download it from them and install it.
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Thanks for the responses. Yes, I use the same Gmail account for the different devices. I know that there are "transfer to other device" Apps but the ones I've seen seem to transfer everything (all Apps, contacts etc) across from one device to another. In this case I don't want that - I just want the single Clock App to be copied across (and not other stuff). Can you suggest how I do that?
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Thanks for the responses. Yes, I use the same Gmail account for the different devices. I know that there are "transfer to other device" Apps but the ones I've seen seem to transfer everything (all Apps, contacts etc) across from one device to another. In this case I don't want that - I just want the single Clock App to be copied across (and not other stuff). Can you suggest how I do that?
Visit this Google Play link in a web browser, (sign in if you're not already) find the app, click it, and then click "Install on more devices"
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Thanks for your responses.
I've tried the Google Play link on my device but unfortunately it does not show my required Clock App in the list. It only shows the Google Clock which is one I prefer not to use.
As regards the Clock app info that I want to use, I have uploaded a screenshot of the "About" link to:
(/pasteboard.co/lqy0a0PTSH5F.jpg) as you can see, tells me very little.
Unfortunately I have no idea of where the app came from. Was it the App Store - I have no idea. The problem I have in finding its origin is that I've had numerous Android devices for about 15 years. From time to time I've purchased new devices and copied all the Apps over each time to the new devices. I now have around 600 Apps on my latest devices making it very difficult to know where each one of them came from. I think the App I'm interested in is on only one of my devices so maybe it was placed there by the manufacturer (OPPO)?
Your thoughts on how I can copy only this one single App from this one device over onto my other devices would be appreciated as this is breaking new ground for me.
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So it doesn't show in Google Play Store on the device which the clock is installed on? If not then this will be much harder.

I've never used one, and don't know whether it will work, but there are apps with names like "APK Extractor", some of which claim to be able to extract an APK from a system app. So you could try installing one of those on your Oppo, seeing whether it can get an apk of the clock app, and if it can then copy it to your other device and install it there.
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Thanks for the suggestion. I do already have the APK Extractor. I used it once before, quite a while ago, to download and install a particular App which seemed to work. Due to it being a long time ago I don't recall the details of it.
Using APK Extractor now, it gave a list of all my installed Apps and displayed com.coloros.alarmclock against Clock on the screen. But didn't do anything further. So I went to that link and it indicated that it was the APK file for OPPO Clock. This confirms that it was preloaded on my OPPO device. I haven't downloaded it yet partly because, as it's not part of Google Play, maybe some checks need to be done first? Any thoughts on the best thing for me to do?
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If you can extract it and install it the worst it can do is not work - you won't be able to install it as a system app anyway, so it shouldn't be able to break anything vital.

If you are extracting it from the Oppo device I'd not be particularly worried about it being malicious, since that would imply that Oppo installed a malicious clock app in their own system software. The reason it isn't in the Play Store is probably just that Oppo don't put their own apps in the Play Store, or because they do but they only show up when you look for them from an Oppo device.
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Thanks, I've now downloaded the APK ready to install. I last installed an APK a few years ago and I'm aware that Google Play blocks installation of such unknown Apps. But previously I discovered the block could be disabled by a setting which was straightforward to find. However now it seems to have changed as I can no longer find that setting. How do I now install the APK file?
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I don't think it's Google Play that blocks installations, more the OS itself. Previously there used to be a system-wide setting to enable apk installation ("install unknown apps" or "install from unknown sources"), which once enabled would allow any app to install apks if it had that capability. The current method is that apps that have the capability have to request permission to do so, which you can grant or deny. This is more secure because you can choose to only allow a particular app to do this. I personally allow the Solid Explorer file manager to install apps, and in particular I do not allow web browsers to install apps: to me it's obvious that a malicious download will target the browser, so you don't give the browser to install apps as well.

So what I'd suggest is that you use your file browser to find the apk, click on it and see what apps it suggests can carry out the action. Choose the one you want to use and grant it the permission. Then you should be able to install the app.

(Looking at the apps on my device I can see no good reason why many of them would have the capability, and good reasons why some of them shouldn't. So being able to deny them the permission is a good thing).
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Thanks, you're quite right. I do recall previously there being a system wide setting "Install unknown apps". So previously when I tried to install such an unknown .APK App it displayed that setting which I activated. I then installed the .APK and when fully installed I went back to the "Install unknown apps" setting and disabled it: Job done!

Now when I start up the downloaded Clock.APK, a message comes up saying:
"For your security your phone currently isn't allowed to install unknown apps from this source. You can change this in settings"
So far so good, just as I expected. The message gives me 2 options viz:
Cancel and Settings
OK, that looks fine too and I selected Settings. This takes me to a screen. headed
Install unknown apps
but there the chaos starts. Unlike previously when it allowed me to simply change that setting with a single click to enable me to install the new App , it now displays a list of about 30 Apps all of which are already installed on the device eg:
Bluetooth, Firefox Chrome etc etc,
each and every one of which has been installed for many years on my device. Each of theses 30 odd pre-installed Apps being displayed has a switch alongside suggestion I can individually turn on/off installation of each one of them. But that's totally useless as they are already installed! Of course the one app which I want to install (Clock.APK) is missing from this list, so I am just faced with totally useless pantomime showing 30 odd Apps which are already installed with the key App that I actually want to install being missing. There no Help or other dialogue to show me what I need to do to install the one and only new App I want installing!
Any thoughts on what should I now do to install the new app?
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I am totally baffled. What have those 30 Apps listed got to do with my clock.APK app which is already stored on my device? The 30 odd apps includes apps like Messages, 7Zipper, and Bluetooth which seem to me have absolutely nothing to do with downloading files from the web. I downloaded the Clock.APK a few says ago and I have it clearly stored on my device already. I do not recall what browser I used to download the .APK - all I know is that the .APK file is now stored on my device. Some of the 30 apps in the list have Auto disabled marked against them what does that mean? Several others already have the on switched even though I have not done that myself - what caused them to be on?
Are you saying I have to click the switches on for all 30-odd apps in the list? Further, if I finally manage to get through all the obstacles and get my clock app installed, how do I restore the system to prevent further unknown apps being installed in future?
Is there not some documentation that you can direct me to which describes this very strange system and gives examples of how it works?
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Those 30 odd apps are all of the apps which are capable of installing an apk. But none of them can do it unless you grant it the permission, which is the switch next to it. But you only need to grant one of them the permission.

So what you need to do is choose one of them that you want to give the permission to and tick the button for just that one. Then the next time you click on the apk the app you just selected will be able to install the apk (your clock app).

I just ticked the box for one file manager. Then when I want to install an app from an apk I just use that file manager, click on the apk and confirm that I want to install it. And if you don't want this in future, just remove the permission from that app (in my case that would be from the file manager).
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