How to install homebrew apps on your TouchPad or webOS smartphone | webOS Nation

How to install homebrew apps on your TouchPad or webOS smartphone 52

by Derek Kessler Wed, 08 Feb 2012 8:45 pm EST

Ready to jump into the wide world of homebrew on your TouchPad, Pre, or Veer? Alright! Here's what you need:

  • Your webOS tablet or smartphone
  • A computer, Mac or PC, connected to the internet
  • A Micro-USB cable to connect the webOS device to your computer (you can use the cable that came with the device, but any Micro-USB cable will do)
  • A stiff drink (this isn't required, but you'll deserve one for being awesome enough to be doing homebrew)

Got that? Okay, time for some clarifications. webOS devices do not need to be "rooted" - they come from the factory open enough that special tools aren't needed to install apps outside of the App Catalog or gain access to the operating system. The process of getting a homebrew installer set-up is relatively straight-forward and doesn't involve anything scary or potentially warranty voiding (there are potentially warranty-voiding things you can do after that, but everything described in this how-to is perfectly acceptable).

Install WebOS Quick Install on your computer

The nature of webOS requires that you access your device for homebrew app installation via your computer. To do that you need to use a program called WebOS Quick Install by independent developer Jason Robitaille. Quick Install is a Java program and thus will install and run the same way on Mac- and Windows-based systems. First you need to make sure your computer is set up to run Java (chances are it already is)

Mac: Open Applications, Utilities, and then Java Preferences. Under the General tab, make sure Java SE 6 is checked on and at the top of the list. If it is not, you can drag-and-drop it to the top. It is okay to have multiple instances of Java checked, so long as Java SE 6 is one of them. If Java SE 6 is not present, open Software Update from the Apple menu (top left corner) and let it install all pending updates.

PC: Open the Control Panel and open Java, this will open the Java Control Panel. In the first box under the General tab click on the About button. If it says Java 6 Standard Edition, click Close to exit the pop-up and Cancel to close the Java Control Panel. If it does not, or if Java is not present in your Control Panel, go to and download and run the 'Windows Online' Java installer.

Now that we've verified you're running the latest version of Java, things get even easier from here.

Download WebOS Quick Install from the webOS Nation Forums and put it somewhere where you aren't going to lose it (unless you feel like redownloading it every time you want to install something from your computer). Quick Install will also automatically create an 'Install' folder, so we wouldn't recommend leaving the app it on your desktop.

To run Quick Install, merely double click on the WebOSQuickInstall-X.X.X.jar file. On first launch it will prompt you to install Novacom (this is a driver used to access your webOS device from the computer), click Yes. Quick Install will automatically download and start installation of the Novacom driver (if it prompts you to approve installation with a Yes or your password, do so).

Once the Novacom installation is complete you'll be prompted that there are No Devices Found. Congratulations, you've successfully installed WebOS Quick Install! Just leave it where it is for now.

Put your device into Developer Mode

In the Just Type bar (the transparent bar in card view - the 'home screen' - that says "Just Type"), type the following:


This search will bring up a hidden app under Launch called Developer Mode. Tap on it. The DeveloperMode app will open. There is a toggle on the top right corner, if it's set to "ON", go ahead and skip to Install apps on your device.

Chances are the toggle is set to OFF. Tap it to switch to ON, and if prompted to enter a developer mode password, just enter nothing and hit Submit (entering nothing does not set a password). The app will go gray for a few seconds and return you to the start screen, except now it will say that "Your devices is now in Developer Mode" with the toggle set to ON.

Install apps on your device

Take your Micro-USB cable and plug it into both your computer and webOS device. Your'll be prompted on the device to enter USB Drive mode or Close (TouchPad)/Just Charge (webOS smartphone) - tap Close/Just Charge.

If you left WebOS Quick Install where it was when installation finished (No Devices Found), click OK. If Quick Install is not open, go ahead and open it.

You should see a screen like the above - this is WebOS Quick Install. On the right side, click on the globe icon. Quick Install will download the homebrew app feeds from WebOS Internals and webOS Nation and open a new window listing these apps.

The box on the left lists a scrolling list of available apps, the middle the description of the selected app, and the right displays a screenshot. In the search box over the apps list, type Preware and hit Enter/Return.

Where WebOS Quick Install allows you to install homebrew apps from your computer to your webOS device, Preware allows you to install homebrew apps from on the device. Preware is a free open source app created by WebOS Internals.

Click the Install button under the app description. Quick Install will automatically download and Preware onto your device. If you have a TouchPad it will be installed at the end of the Downloads page in the launcher, while on a webOS smartphone the app is installed at the bottom of the first launcher page. Once installation is complete, Quick Install will return to the app listings.

You can use Quick Install to install any of the other apps listed in the feeds or IPK files you have on hand (just drag-and-drop into the big white space on the Quick Install launch screen and click the Install button).

Install apps using Preware

Tap the Preware icon on your webOS device App Launcher. On first launch and after updating the app you'll be prompted with a Welcome to Preware brief that describes the app and provides a changelog. Tap the "Ok, I've read this" button to continue. Your device must be connected to the internet to use Preware.

Preware will download the app feeds from WebOS Internals and webOS Nation (just like Quick Install did) and provide you with a list of available items to install, including Applications, Themes, Patches, and Other, along with Updates for homebrew items and your installed packages and the "this is everything" List of Everything.

You can tap on on category to browse, or if you know what you're looking for you can search right from the Preware home screen. If using a TouchPad, tap the magnifying glass icon in the top right to start a search, if on a webOS smartphone, just start typing. We'll install Jason Robitaille's Internalz Pro file browser as an example - just type Internalz and hit Enter and Preware will search the downloaded feeds.

You'll be presented with a list of search results, tap on Internalz Pro. This will open the app description page, with tappable screenshots across the top, the app description below, and an Install button at the bottom center. Tap Install.

Preware will download and install the app. Some apps require additional installs, Preware will prompt you to install those as well. Once the app is installed, it will be placed either under the Downloads page (TouchPad) or on the first page (webOS smartphone) of your launcher.

Hombrew success!

And that's it! You've successfully jumped head first into the world of homebrew - easier than you expected, huh? Be sure to check out all the webOS Nation Homebrew Gallery, WebOS Quick Install, and Preware have to offer.

You've taken your first steps into a brave new world. Enjoy it.


Very nice. Big thank you for the write-up, and an even bigger thank you for every single person involved with homebrew. webOS homebrew adds so much extra value to the operating system, and it is reasonable to say that webOS would not exist today if it weren't for homebrew.

Once again, thank you all.

Jason and everyone in the Homebrew world you have made the WebOS world everything that PALM should have always been. Anyone just discovering this world be prepared to drop your Apple, and Droid toys, welcome to the greatest OS out there!

The ability to hotrod your device with homebrew is one of the coolest things about webOS.. The fact that is so easy is an amazing bonus

The fact that so many of us who are internationals are left out in the cold are wanting applications they are sometimes willing to pay for. Georetarted licensing makes us orphans. So, I for one am appreciative of the hard work hombrew developers do. It's nice to see that those who can give to those who can't.

Great write up Derek. I wish I would of had this when I did this to my devices. This will make it much easier for me to show my son how to do it.

**would HAVE had this.


Thanks Teach...

or, "WOULD'VE had this"

Of course, I am not a teacher, so you can write me off as a pain in the...well, you know. Oh, it's "not a tumor!" [sorry, was watching Kindergarten Cop last night]


I overreacted. I should have used proper grammar. However, grammar is not what this thread is all about.

I have seen the grammar cops correct the author of an article, I just didn't think that the comment section was so closely patrolled.

I will think twice about posting a thank you in the future...

Awesome instruction very easy to follow! But my only question is do I have to turn on the developer mode every time you connect to the quick installer? And do I turn off the developer mode after I install the Preware or will I have to leave the developer mode on?

You don't need to turn developer mode on and off each time to use Quick Install. Leave it other words, do nothing with it after you turn it on with the instructions above. Once you have developer mode on and Preware installed, you can do almost everything that you need to install apps and patches and won't use Quick Install that much. If you do need Quick Install the wonderful Homebrew Crew will walk you through the steps.

And if for some reason you do want to turn developer mode on and off, WE have an app for that....

eh no app.... Konami code FTW =)

I was talking about Unhide Dev Mode Icon in Preware but ya, the Konami code is cool!!

This is an excellent guide, Derek. The only missing information is about having to restart the Veer after it has been connected to the USB port. See (6) at

Great article and guide.
I used to use Quick Instal and Preware when I had my Pre, but haven't yet done so for my new Pre3 and Touchpad...

I have a couple of questions.

What happens if there is a general WebOS update (from HP) - what effect will this have on any Homebrew apps I downloaded and what might I need to do, to ensure my device and my Homebrew apps continue to function okay?

As both my Touchpad and Pre3 have the same profile, is there any harm in only one of the devices having Preware?

What is the name of the Homebrew app mentioned in order to switch on or off the "developer mode"?

Is there a risk of a Homebrew app "crashing" or "straining the processor" of my device, if so, is there any warning?

from the UK

webOS updates - in the history of webOS and homebrew there has been not yet been an update that affected how access homebrew app installation was carried out. HP might change access or API for some things that homebrew apps do, but they have never done anything intentionally to negatively affect homebrew efforts. 99.99999% of the time, what you install and how you install it will continue to function as intended after a webOS update.

Shared profiles - nope, no problem.

Developer Mode App - DevMode Launcher is the app.

Risks - I've not heard any instances of a homebrew app burning out your processor. Any overclocking kernels (will be covered in a future how-to) are thoroughly tested for stability and safety before seeing a public release. Uninstalling any misbehaving homebrew app is achieved the same manner as uninstalling any other app - tap and hold in the launcher until you get the X in the top left corner, tap the X and confirm deletion. The homebrew community and the apps available are self-policing. if something turns out to be harmful you can expect it to be quickly removed or modified.

There was an article I read yesterday about the increasing number of malicious bots being introduced to android via third party application loaders. The reason being is that these apps aren't screened as well as say the IOS app store or the Android app catalog. Is this something we should be worried about as well by using HomeBrew apps? I have been using WOSQI and homebrew apps for years but I wonder if the threat increases since webOS will soon be open source?

You'll never be able to stop stupid people from putting malicious things on a general computing device. Education is the only real solution, but nobody wants to learn the simple basics. Having a true linux/optware packaging solution (ipkg), however, does help a lot in keeping updates and fixes easily accessible.

Everything put through the webOS Nation and WebOS Internals feeds is screened, there are no worries there.

As for webOS being open source, it's possible that new weaknesses could be uncovered and exploited, but because it's open source they'll also be more likely to be corrected.

Hi Derek
Many thanks for your answers, really appreciated.

I have one more question.

I have heard of many reports and experienced once myself the following error "The application database is almost full" resulting in the Pre3 re-booting.

Fortunately, last Fall, I didn't lose any data and just had to re-enter my email account settings etc.

However, is there an application or patch, in the Preware / Homebrew etc, to help prevent the above error message & re-boot from recurring?


Will this work on my Pixi Plus webOS

Works fine on my Pre+ that runs 1.4.5.
Once the Preware is installed, it's no more difficult than installing apps from the catalog.

Why is there a homebrew app store? Why would these apps not be entered in to the normal HP App Store?

Is it becasue they do things that the official app store will not allow?

As a developer - would I want to develop for the homebrew store or the official app store? What are the considerations?

It's not a homebrew "store" - ever heard of software repositories? Basically a webserver where the contents in specific directories are versioned, indexed, coupled with metadata, and those "listings" are what you retrieve / update (the "feeds" in Preware). Then from that index, you choose from the package management tool / frontend (=Preware), what to download and install.

Thanks for the clarification. Is it correct that these ipk files are somewhere other than the official HP app store? If so - why?


Usually packages are published somewhere else than the vendor's infrastructure, because the approval process that would then be mandatory is interfering with rapid release cycles and/or certain types of software, which would probably not been allowed officially. (...tethering in the US, anyone?)

It's almost always better a community has full administrative access and just being able to do their stuff, than allowing restrictive vendor (and carrier) control. Vendor stores are probably mostly used if you are into the act commercially squeezing of your IP (which not all people are, btw).

Many homebrew apps have 'graduated' to the 'app store'. The only ones that would not be allowed are those that depend on nonstandard services running (why the APIs don't have raw sockets access is beyond me), or other tricks to get at things that the standard APIs do not provide. Homebrew is just a list of ipkg repositories, and the app store is just a payment front end on top of that. It's the modern linux way of managing software. Redhat/Centos have rpm/yum. Debian/Ubuntu have dpkg/apt. WebOS/optware use ipkg.

I have three apps that I am polishing. That last 20% mentality.....

My only thought up to now was that I would enter them into the HP App store.

I use standard services.

What considerations are there for me choosing to enter them in one feed versus the other or both? These would be paid apps.

There is not a homebrew "store", per se. All apps available via the webOS Nation and webOS Internals feeds are free of charge, and there is not currently a system in place to allow for charging for such apps. We created the Homebrew Gallery and the feeds as a way to enable developers to distribute their apps outside of the App Catalog (at the time Palm had not yet opened it up to any developers).

The homebrew feeds have been used for wider app distribution (we have no geo-restrictions), app beta testing, and for apps that would not normally be allowed in the App Catalog due the use of undocumented APIs, homebrewed services, providing access to OS files, and the like.

Many apps that started out in the Homebrew Gallery have since graduated on to the App Catalog and enjoyed considerable success there as well.

I have never done this from Mac or Windows. It works perfectly well from Linux.

To start webOSQuickinstall, make sure Java is installed and webOSQuickinstall is executable. Either right click the file, properties. Allow to run as a program, or from a terminal:

chmod +x webOSQuickinstall.jar
(fix the filename above).

Then you can double-click and run.

I have a quick question about preware. Once it is installed on the touchpad, do I have to hook up to the computer to download preware apps everytime or just use wifi connection and not hooked up to the computer?

Touchpad and webOS newbie here.

When I get to the Quick Install window, no devices found popup, clicking OK is not accepted. The dialog stays in place. I must click Cancel to get rid of it, which closes the Quick Install window.

PC is running Win XP Pro, Java 6.
Touchpad running webOS 3.0.5.

Any help appreciated.

nevermind, got it by stripping out what I had installed and starting over.

I can't install Internalz to my HP Tp,writes that "package dependencies not satisfied",what can i do?

I am also getting an IPKG error. It looks like the package is not available on the servers. (HTTP 404 error) Hopefully it's related to the site upgrade and will be fixed shortly.

I had same problem.

Here's how I got Internalz Pro installed.

Downloaded these ipk files(from webOS Nation) to my PC.


Transferred them to my TP.

Was then able to use Preware to install. No problem.

Install in the order listed above.

Is there an app or patch in Preware / Homebrew for the error message:
The application database is almost full"?

However, it isn't working currently 16,February 2012 has the change of name to webOS Nation disrupted access to related files to internalz...if so when are these addresses likely to be fixed?

Peter HC's fix worked for me when I experienced teh IPKG Error.

Downloaded these ipk files(from webOS Nation) to my PC.


Transferred (dragged them) them to my Touchpad using USB mode

Was then able to use Preware to install by touching the Preware down arrow, then selecting "Install Package," then browsing for the files (one at a time) and selecting "Install"

Install in the order listed above.

I just recently started using my HP touchpad (32 gb) and discovered this great site through a friend of mine who is a devoted webOS fan since the first days of Palm.
1. I want to thank you all for the amazing articles, software and incredible community you created here.
Now to my computer problem:
2. I installed the latest version of Java on my Windows PC (Vista, unfortunately...), but the webOS quick-install just gives me an error message when it tries to install the Novacom drivers. Windows recognized and tried to download the drivers as well, but I just told it to go away, as per the instructions on this page.
I downloaded the Universal_Novacom_Installer from the link, but it gets stuck in the "Initializing" phase for hours instead of downloading the drivers.
I figured the reason it didn't download the drivers was because my firewall didn't permit internet access to "one of several" Java applications running on my PC. Anyway, that's fixed and I finally got the novacom drivers installed.
Now there's this:
I connect the touchpad to the PC (not in USB mode as per the instructions), but when I click on the "globe" icon, instead of a list of apps, I still get this message:
"There are no devices currently connected. Please connect a device to continue."
Yes, I'm in "developer mode."
Now what?

I have read many instructions about how to install WebOSQuickInstaller and I found Derek's instructions very good.
I follow everything to the letter then after the Novacom drivers are installed I get a dialogue box entitled
Novacom Login
and the message:
Please enter your DevMode Password
Device: HP Touchpad

Of course, there is no password to enter.

And I never get any further. I have bought the WOSQI Homebrew Guide as advised but it still does not give me an answer to this problem.
I have 32GB HPwebOS 3.0.5 Touchpad
My PC is running Windows 7 and is 64bit .
I have even tried downloading Java for 64bit and Novacom for 64bit.

I feel bereft that I cannot make the WOSQI work.

I have looked a lot for some others who may have this issue but no luck so far.
Any advice as to a next step?
Many thanks in anticipation


I'm insulted that there is no Linux how to :'( no love.


Thanks Derek for the info but still can't get WebOS to see my Palm Pre-- any help would be appreciated.

Is there a way to do this without a computer...
(Just for those who are wondering, im not the only one)
For example, doing everything on the device is musch faster than having to boot up you Mac/PC. Another plus side is being able to do this on the go!

Hi all

I've follow the instructions but when I have to install the Novacom driver it fails after a few seconds with a message...ERROR: Driver installation failed.

I've verifed the Java version and I've change the Palm to Dev mode.

What am I doing wrong ? I really appreaciate your help

Happy new year from Spain


Have you tried
If that doesn't work, try an earlier version of JAVA. I was using 1.7.0_07 and went back to 1.6 and it sems to work. Not quite sure what the critical thing was but suspect an interaction between NovaCom and the Java 1.7 I was using. I remember a web browser reporting problems with it.

Hello, Can anybody help /advise. My Daughter recently tried to instal an app via app catalog and got the message 'please clear drive storage...etc etc. Reading up it suggests using Internalz to delete the relevent file. I am OK using the above method to instal ipk etc as I put the kindle app on. My question is if ther is no space for a new app will it instal via preware?
If not can anybody advise me what to do so that apps can once again be installed?

Thanks very much

i had installed the webos quick install and i tried to install preware or other apps.
but an error box came up as follows:

ERROR: An error occurred while attempting to install org.webosinternals.preware_1.9.12_arm.ipk

{"ticket":34, "returnValue":true,"subscribed":true}

can you please guide me how to fix it?


I am a true newbie and I think I need to give up on owning a Palm phone. My google account is gone from it, after several months. So I came here to try to solve my problem. Lots of very tech-y sounding stuff, but I'm trying. I tried following the steps to ready my phone for installing homebrew apps, and at first everything was going well. BUT: like Peter C. said earlier:

When I get to the Quick Install window, no devices found popup, clicking OK is not accepted. The dialog stays in place. I must click Cancel to get rid of it, which closes the Quick Install window.

PC is running Win 7 Pro, Java 6.
My phone is a Palm Pre 2 running webOS 2.1.0. Do I need to upgrade this? If so, how? I have never been able to install any apps on this phone--can't figure out how to do it.

Is there an earlier step I'm missing? Or another forum I can go for more intensive hand-holding?

Really embarrassed to be posting here. Sorry if I'm in the wrong place. Thanks for any help or direction.

I am at the last minute attempting to install preware to my HP Tablet using WebOS Quick install. I've followed the directions to the letter, retried several times just to be sure. The installer indicator goes round and round forever and nothing happens. Could it be a problem with my USB connection? I use the same cord to charge successfully. If it is a USB problem is there a work around? I have been using the tablet as is, mostly for web surfing and downloading books, but feel I should have Preware to extend its life after March 15. Any suggestions would be helpful.