Windows Phone 8.1 reportedly closes ‘Fiddler loophole’ for installed OEM exclusive apps

This is one of those Windows Phone 8.1 changes that will only affect like 0.1% of you, though it’s still interesting if you’re into security and what may be best described as piracy.

Last summer, we ran a controversial story about how to install OEM exclusive apps to your Windows Phone. Those apps are always ‘free’ though they are in theory subsidized by your purchase of that OEM’s phone. There was a method used where you can spoof your Nokia Lumia to look like a Samsung one, or vice versa.

Windows Phone 8.1 has apparently been patched, making the OS slightly more secure against such behavior. Reader of the site NFC Flaap wrote us in, detailing is experience:

 “One of the unnoticed changes in Windows Phone 8.1 is that the Fiddler route to install exclusive apps has been closed. Of course, this may also be because of the changes in the Windows Phone store itself. One of the apps I had installed on my phone worked fine until the 8.1 update. The app was there but simply refused to start. So I uninstalled it and then tried to reinstall again using the Fiddler route. This too failed. So I guess Microsoft fixed this loophole silently.”

We haven't verified this ourselves if this is accurate, mostly because lack of intent, but it seems highly probable.

It’s certainly interesting, and we’re surprised it took this long. But then again, the number of people doing this type of thing was always very small. For one, not all apps were able to be installed, mostly due to specific firmware requirements not on all phones, making this less exciting than initially thought. The second, Windows Phone and piracy while it does exist, is a very tiny segment of the user community. So far, custom ROMs, hacking of the registry, and installing pirated apps is more of a technical hobby than a big-time problem.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see this method evidently disappear. It’s not clear if it’s because Microsoft actively patched it, or it is just changes to the Store.

Thanks, NFC Flapp, for the update

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Never worked for me simply because the proxy is far far away from where I live and the bandwidth is simply too small.
  • I tried once, got caught up in the win8 troubles to be sorted out for fiddler. Would try again in a while, but hope that those apps dont stop working after 8.1
  • Bone the loopholes
  • in her latest video review, molly wood said Siri is kicking Cortana's butt..
  • Relevant how?
  • Don't mind this idiot shill. The account is a week old and the only posts are copies of themselves to multiple articles. Would be nice if there was a link to report the account.
  • When I found about this, there were also instructions how to make a local proxy. You had to change some lines in the fiddler config files (basically you had to enter the name of your device and the name of the device you wanted the store to think you have) and it worked. That's how I got the Nokia Pro Cam on my 620 when it first came out (it was on available for 920 or higher)
  • It's extremely simple to set up your own proxy
  • No more Nokia apps for my Ativ S
  • MS gave you HereDrive+ Worldwide...
  • No, Nokia gave it, its not MS property so they cant give it.
  • I don't think so. I think it's part of the MS-Deal...
  • All the HERE services will remain with Nokia.
  • Nobodo gives anything for free in this universe. HERE remains part of Nokia and if somebody decided to licence Drive+ for free, somebody else has paid for it. Probably Microsoft. So Microsoft is most likely offering a free licence because of a deal with Nokia (and Nokia might have accepted because it means cash at the end of the day).
  • Be that as it may, supposed to be free after 8.1 is released.
  • Really? I can't download the app for free (polish region).
  • WP8.1 installed?
  • Yep same here. No here drive +. (well it is here, but costs €40,99)
  • Yes, installed ;)
  • try to change your region to US first. and check the market again..
  • Lmao get a Lumia instead of pirating.
  • Some of us don't like Lumia? Lol.
  • Wow. You really must not understand the concept of pirating
  • Lumia by far are the best Windows Phone. The only way I would ever do this is if my carrier didn't have any Lumias (cough* sprint cough*)
  • The ones that dont have a 16:9 screen aren't worth the time
  • True but also no Samsung apps for hypocrite Nokia users either ;-)
  • Lmfao what Samsung apps?
  • The ones that you Nokia users were installing and using, remember App Folders. But I would expect a comment like that from a Lumia Hipster like you!!!
  • I never used app folder. Idont even use the app folder from Nokia because I find app folders stupid in general. But hey I've never been called a hipster before. That's a first lol. I have no need to pirate the apps that aren't meant for my phone and if I did, I wouldn't go for Samsung apps.
  • What would you rather I call you then, a dumbass Lumia fanboy? Good, Samsung apps don't need input from you anyway!!!
  • Keep your 3 Samsung apps... Lol
  • No one cares for those ' SamDung' apps. Lumia users are way more privileged not only because the quality of apps being very high but also the support and and not to mention the design that it delivers!
  • Stfu fanboys, everyone has his own taste
  • Here we go, typical Lumia Hipster Bullshit. You know fuck all about Samsung and Windows Phone so just STFU!!!
  • I think you're rather misusing the term 'hipster'
  • Not really hipsters are generally fanatical, just look at the Apple Hipsters!!!
  • This to a point. Hipsters like trending things.
  • Not the true definition. What society calls hipsters is another story
  • You don't sound educated enough to know the difference.
  • I've owned a few Samsung phones and have the opportunity to play with a GS5. How many Lumias have you owned? My guess... 0
  • They keep on coming
  • I doubt anybody wants anything but the nokia apps and now that MSFT owns them, it is unlikely they will wage war on their own OEMs by keeping them exclusive instead of being just free apps released under the microsoft corporation publisher.
  • I certainly hope they do keep them exclusive. Its bad enough here drive is now for everyone.
  • That only creates more work for OEMs and would be bad for Windows Phone as a whole. Microsoft's job should be to make it as easy as possible for companies other than itself to make phones.
  • Lmao. Comical.
  • It is comical, isn't it? Personally, if Samsung and HTC apps(not that they have anything worthwhile really aside from a few) aren't coming to everyone then why do the more desired apps from Nokia need to lose exclusivity? Lmao. If people want the apps, make em paid. Free for Lumias, paid for the others.
  • Cry me a river.
  • Nah, the non Lumia owners do that when they keep asking for our apps.
  • ultimately irrelevant. The MSFT phones (lumia or otheriwse) won't give nokia a dime for anything beyond what their purchase terms under MSFT's deal demand. I suppose what may happen (and nobody knows because the details are confidential) is that the Lumia post MSFT will be basically HERE-less which is due to the fact nokia owns the services even if not the app itself. So in fact bing will go back to being the primary provider for all that here used to do. The service-less apps, proably will end up in the redmond turf so they will likely just be renamed and released under the MSFT corporation publisher. MSFT doesn't offer any app for free that OEMs don't also get for free under windows 8. There is no reason to believe they will start this war with OEMs now, specially when they are begging for support. If they are not part of the deal, I suspect if nokia starts asking for $ from post aquisition owners, they'll just die off as nokia has zero interest in WP development at this point and MSFT will just re-create them better and free for all. Either way, I think we're seeing the end of this fragmentation which IMO is excellent. I much rather see essentials like navigation and things of the sort be addressed by MSFT and not an OEM. Maybe it will make MSFT improve the services and make bing maps, suck less.
  • If you didnt know Bing maps is powered by NAVTEQ(Nokia here division) so nokia is still licensing access it just may not be in their own app but in the ms app which has different direction algorithms
  • Emo tear.
  • I am a Nokia user, and I would actually hope they release them, at least most of them, to ask phones that have the required capabilities. The more features out there, the better for the ecosystem, and the more OEMs making Windows Phones, the better. More software will entice more OEMs.
  • Exactly
  • This.
  • Yes, there is free navigation on Android, so why should we pay on WP, and MS Maps cant compete, so it's definitely needed a lot. One more reason to stick with WP and easier for OEMs
  • I'm talking about a lot more than maps... ;-)
  • MS maps is just a different front end on the same system. It can compete, they just have to add more features.
  • Yeah but not in EU or at least my country :) its real pain in the ass looking on my phone for all kind of routes and traveling options in HERE Drive, Maps (walk,car,train) as on my Nexus, It shows total time, length of traveling including walking from start position, trains left in the day, train stops, everything you could imagine, it also knows where I live, work, shows up with traveling directions at the time I usually leave, all this without adding any information in my device, they can steal all my data, I only care that everything works perfect.
    And yes all these features are already here and for free
    and yes I know, but maps are so much needed :)
    I love my Windows Phone, but all this US only and useless services are making it useless..
    If Nokia made Android with 41mp I would sure go and get one, as Google services are just too powerful and easy here
    Plus it would most likely get more attention and gain money than selling the best thing they made to MS
    About PC MS side, its Windows and only Windows, no comment on that.
  • HERE and all associated services remain Nokia and are not part of the deal.
  • There are many apps which aren't services. Off course the Here services stay with nokia (the backend). But what about the front end? Does the billions include the right to offer the front end apps on the WP platform? The development team for these apps is likely redmond's now, so it is unlikely nokia will care for the panorama app, etc, when they don't even sell windows phones any more. If access to the here services isn't universal on all WPs, I see these services basically dying off because MSFT has bing maps which will go back to being the default and the android crowd will stay with google.
  • The best thing really would be Google Now and Maps on WP really.. But thats probably not going to happen anytime soon, makes me pissed off on MS and Google at same time cos they all care about money anyways.. On the other hand I really like WP exlusive apps the same way as on Android side and that makes me like both.. So its 50% 50% .. But yes I think that would help roll in more users and it would look pretty nice on wp..
  • Samsung OEM Apps which i installed before 8.1 update like Photogram , HTC app , Manga are working after 8.1 update as well in my 1520 but yes Proxy method doesnt work anymore i verified it.
  • They may well still work but try updating them!!!
  • Its good thing I have the 920 instead of the 8x
  • What's your point, every OEM has exclusive apps?
  • That Nokia does best with exclusive apps :)
  • ROFLMAO, you mean Microsoft Mobile, don't you? Really, then why were all you Nokia users using Samsung App Folders?
  • idiot :)
    you really want attention, don't you? it's good to see people like you around here, who will troll someone only because he/she is happy for having a better supported phone like it's Nokia, with more exclusives.
    but troll more please!
  • Um, we aren't using Samsung's app folders... Nokia has their own... ;)
  • Nokia lock screen? Wats that?
  • WP store has like total 5 apps, so...
  • Wow...didn't know that
  • Hmm. Either poorly executed humour or deliberately inciting conflict. Which to choose...?
  • Is mommy not giving you enough attention so you have to come and troll for it here?
  • I did That when I had my Samsung Focus in 2011. HTC had a few good apps that worked on my Focus.
  • Off topic, but in IE on WP you can swipe left to go back, is it me being stupid or is this new??
  • Left and also Right to move forward. It's new I think
  • This is new.
  • This is new in IE 11
  • Not True After I hard reset my 8x after the update (desperate to get cortana). I didn't use my backup to restore.
    I manually installed Here Drive + afterwards. Using a proxy setup with Fiddlr. Its still €40.99 over here. I have some screens if you peeps wanna see: it is not available free, yet. unlike 44quattrosport stated
  • Prime example why this loophole needs to be closed.
  • Just did some fiddling since WPcentral reported it was "blocked" whilst it is obviously not. The 8x is obviously not my primary device, I just use it for development. (hence it's running 8.1) Because of the "lack" of support and exclusive apps I purchased a 620 as my primary device. I dont really understand why debunking a WPcentral story is a prime example why the loophole needs te be closed but I assume you assumed I was pirating the software. (which is why we don't make assumptions based on limited information.)
  • Bummed about this, would really like to have the att app on my Verizon phone so I can manage my families phones..
  • What did it let you do?
  • I can manage my kids data and see their usage as well as see the bill. That type of stuff..
  • Good!!
  • Am on HTC 8x and the exclusive apps are still there.
  • Shame, I liked Samsung App Folder more than it´s Nokia counterpart.
  • ^^ This. I liked the layout better and the fact that I could also pin settings tiles directly on the screen. I do admit though that
    I like the 1520 a lot. On my 4th WP. LG Quantum > Focus > Ativ S > 1520.
  • Don't really care. Never had any allure, simply because of how limited it was. I feel no more than 100 will mourn this loss.
  • I'm pretty disappointed with Windows Phone. Needs these improvements:
  • This is better, now Samsung users can't use our-Lumia users- apps :)