How To: Install Homebrew Apps on the Palm Pre | webOS Nation

How To: Install Homebrew Apps on the Palm Pre

by The Keith Newman Mon, 19 Oct 2009 8:54 am EDT

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Now that our Homebrew App Gallery is live, we've been flooded with requests about how to get them installed.  It's easier than you might think, but we still have to mention that this stuff is still in Beta and so it might not be for everybody.  If that doesn't scare you off, here's your how-to!

These instructions will apply to using a Windows (PC) machine, this will also work on a Mac since the program you need will be using is a Java program (check the webOS Quick Install Thread for more info, Mac users). You will only need the computer for the first step; from there you will be using the Pre to get your applications onto the device.

Note for European / GSM Pre owners: At the present time, your ROM version is well behind the US version, so the instructions below may not work. See the note on step 2.

Step 1: Check your Java

Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed onto your PC. By going to the Java Verification Page, you can test your system. If you aren't up to date, download the latest version available and then proceed to step 2.

Step 2: WebOS Quick Install

You need to download the WebOS Quick Install program by Jason Robitaille. This thread has the complete information for the application if you run into a problem with your system and installing it. After the WebOS Quick Install jar has downloaded, open it up and you'll be prompted:

Note for European users: You will need to use webOS Doctor for your version of the Pre, downloaded manually. More information here.

Let it do its magic by clicking “Yes.” When you are done downloading (it could take a bit of time depending on your connection), you will see a question window pop up after download, set it to USB device - at which point you'll see the main window for WebOS Quick install

Step 3: Developer Mode

Now we work on your Pre, we need to put your device into developer mode. In card view (either no cards open or where you can see multiple cards at once), start typing “upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart” exactly as shown in quotes (no spaces and no quotes). Your developer mode enabler will slide up into view. Tap on the icon and you will see you can enable developer mode now (this lets your put programs on). You will be prompted to restart the Pre. That's ok to do, but go grab yourself a soda or something, the Pre isn't known for quick reboots.

Step 4: Download and install!

An ipk is just the name of the type of file used by the Pre. Nothing magical about it, so don't worry if you've never heard of one before. The app we recommend you download first is fileCoaster by PreGame. Remember where your browser saved this ipk file.

Now plug your Pre into the computer via USB.  Important: select "Just Charge" on your Pre.  Back to the desktop, grab that file you just downloaded and drag it into the WebOS Quick Install Box:

Click on the Install! Button, and you now have your first Homebrew application on your Pre. From there, some people will turn off developer mode (repeat the same steps to enable as before and just disable the second time).

Some people leave Dev mode on all the time, but technically it's a security risk.

Step 5: Time to install directly from your Pre!

Now it's time to open up your fileCoaster application, because you can now browse the PreCentral Homebrew App Gallery directly through this application by choosing the first option (Homebrew List). You will be able to see screen shots of the applications and even download them directly to your phone with a simple click.


At this time, you cannot read the descriptions of the application (but it is being worked on). In the meantime, the complete mobile directory does have information.

Go to on the Pre, here you can view the entire directory, view screen shots, icons, version, release date and even get a URL that is fileCoaster friendly (in the 'File URL Downlaod' Mode).

Step 6: Enjoy

That's it, folks, that's how to get Homebrew apps onto your Pre from our Gallery.  We have more improvements on the way, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, don't forget that this stuff is in Beta and meant for testing.  Whenever any Homebrew app is lucky enough to get in the official App Catalog, it will cease to be available here.