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  • Installing Apps on a Pebble Without a Login

    30 April, 2019 | General Hackery

    The Rebble Alliance are doing a great job of keeping Pebbles working long after the great Fitbit takeover, but even though the latest version of the official Pebble app no longer requires an account on a remote server in order to function, if using Rebble you still need to log in to their servers in order to install any apps or watchfaces. To be fair, you can log in via Github, Google, Facebook or Twitter, but I'd still prefer to not have to log in at all, keeping with my "not relying on a remote server" philosophy.

    There is a way of installing watchfaces and apps on a Pebble without connecting your watch to a Rebble account. It involves installing the Pebble command line tool, part of the Pebble SDK.

    Getting the App or Watchface

    Apps and watchfaces are packaged into PBW files. This is what gets installed into the watch. If, however, you want to install an app or watchface you've seen on the Rebble store, it's very simple to get hold of a PBW file for manual install, simply add a dev_settings=true argument to any URL on the Rebble app store. For example:


    Now browse to the app or watchface you want, and click the 'Download PBW file' link to download the package file for manual offline installation.

    Installing the Command Line Tool

    You'll need Python, Python Setuptools and Git installed. Git clone the repository

    git clone git@github.com:pebble-dev/pebble-tool.git

    and then, from the directory you've just cloned, run

    python setup.py install

    (you'll need sudo on Linux, unless you're installing in a virtualhost.)

    Installing the PBW

    Next you need to enable the Developer mode on the official Pebble app. Do this by going into the settings and ensuring 'Enable Developer Mode' is checked. Now select 'Developer Connection' from the settings menu, and ensure the 'enabled' option is turned on. The app will reveal the phone's IP address. Make a note of this, you'll need it.

    Now, on your computer, open a command prompt in the directory you downloaded the PBW file, and enter the following

    pebble install --phone [ip-address] [pbw-file]

    After a brief pause, the Pebble will vibrate and the app will be installed.