Bypass Activation [webOS 1.x] | webOS Nation

Bypass Activation [webOS 1.x]

by Adam Marks Tue, 12 Jul 2011 10:53 pm EDT

This tip is only for devices running webOS 1.x. (This will not work on webOS 2.x devices,; we will have a separate 2.x tip in the near future)

When you activate a webOS 1.x device, the first thing the phone does is search for a cellular signal or SIM card (for GSM phones). Even if you have an active Wi-Fi connection available, if it is not an active device on your cellular account you will not be able to do much more than just turn the phone on. If your phone is a GSM device and you have a friend with an active SIM card, you should see if you could borrow it to activate your device. Once activated, just take out the SIM card out and the device will run just fine. Otherwise, there is a developer tool available that will allow you to bypass the activation requirements, thus allowing you to use your phone as a Wi-Fi only device.

Unfortunately, there are a number of limitations of developing on an Unactivated Devices. You are unable to log in to a Palm Profile, access the App Catalog, get any OTA webOS updates, or use the Phone or SMS functionality. Here comes Homebrew to the rescue! Specifically, developer Arthur Thornton to the rescue! He has created a patch that will allow you to create or login to a Palm profile on a activation-bypassed device, thus removing all the limitations above with the exception of providing Phone/SMS functionality. Continue reading after the break to learn how to bypass the activation and then log in to your profile.  

To bypass activation:

  • Visit on the webOS Developer Center website
  • Under the section "Running the Activation-Bypass Tool", download the activation-bypass tool (direct link here) to your computer
  • Follow the directions a little earlier on that page to boot your device into recovery mode
  • Once in recovery mode, run the activation-bypass tool from the command line by issuing the following command: "java -jar devicetool.jar". (for example, to access the command line on a Windows PC, press the "Start" button, choose "Run" and type "cmd". Navigate to the directory you saved the bypass tool.)
  • The device will reboot.
  • Once the device boots, it will already be in developer mode. Just activate Wi-Fi and the device will be ready to use, subject to the limitations of non-activation.

To log in to an existing Palm Profile (or to create a new one):

  • If you haven't already, activate the Wi-Fi on your device and log in to a Wi-Fi network
  • Plug in your device to a computer and select "Just Charge".
  • It should already be in developer mode, so all you need to do is load up webOS Quick Install and tap on the "feeds" button (the bottom button on the right-hand side). Select patches and do a search for the "Enable Profile Creation - Activation Bypassed" patch. Install the patch (it if asks you to install other dependant patches, install those, too)
  • Then do a search for the "Show FirstUse App" patch and install that patch, too.
  • Reboot your device
  • Once the phone is back up, you should see a new app called "First Use". Open that app and follow the steps to log in or create a new profile.
  • At the end of the process, you will get to a screen saying "Setup Complete" with a standard webOS spinning progress circle. Manually Reboot your device again.
  • When the phone comes back up, you will have full access to the device, the App Catalog, and everything else that does not require a cellular connection or phone number.

Unfortunately, none of your apps will be automatically re-downloaded from the App Catalog if you are using an existing Profile. You can still go into the App Catalog and download them all for free, as your Palm Profile will have a record of all your app purchases. Otherwise, if you need help restoring from a previous device, be sure to check out our Definitive Guide to Backup/Restoring your webOS Device before resetting your device and logging in to your profile

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