Guest Post from Corey: Was your Shopkick account banned? Or do you just want another device to run Shopkick on? The following guide describes some of the best and most cost-effective ways to get a new Shopkick account running on a new (or old) device.
I. Getting a new phone number
Once you’ve been banned, the email address and phone number you used to register your Shopkick account cannot be used to create a new account. You will need a new email and phone number. Getting another email address is fairly easy with many options and is not discussed here.
Getting a new phone number is a bit more difficult. Shopkick requires a real, valid wireless phone number to receive a text message before you’re allowed to redeem kicks for rewards. Free texting phone numbers you can get from services such as Google Voice and TextPlus do not work; Shopkick knows they are not real wireless phone numbers.
You could contact your wireless carrier and see if they will change your primary cell number, but that is probably not worth the effort as you would have to change your phone number with all your contacts, etc. We think the following two options are best for getting a new number for Shopkick:
- Use the cell number of a trusted friend or family member—as long as they’re not likely to ever want to use Shopkick themselves, and never have before. Shopkick only sends one or two texts to the number when you register, and that’s it. If you’re comfortable asking them if you could receive a few texts on their phone, this is definitely the easiest way to get a new number.
- Buy a cheap no-contract phone—preferably a model that gives you some free “minutes” with the purchase, and does not require you to purchase extra minutes to activate it. We currently know of a few models that fit the bill, and luckily they’re also some of the cheapest cell phones you can buy—the Tracfones Samsumg S125G, Samsung S150G, and LG 440G. You can find them at Target, Walmart, Tiger Direct, Family Dollar, Dollar General and probably elsewhere. They retail for $10-$15, but frequently go on sale for $5-7. These phones are generally not sold online unless you’re buying from a reseller.
When you activate the Tracfone, it comes with 10 or 20 minutes of service included, and each text you send or receive uses 0.30 “minutes”–more than enough to register a Shopkick account. When you activate the Tracfone you can even sign up under the zip code to where you usually spoof location, giving your Tracfone number an area code for that location (though we doubt Shopkick considers this factor in bannings).
If you need more than one new phone number, Tracfone will let you change your phone number at no additional cost during the initial 60-day service period included with the purchase of the phone. Information here. (Thanks to Jen for discovering this).
After setting up a Shopkick account, you can let the Tracfone service expire as Shopkick does not need to send anything to that number after the initial setup.
To be clear, this Tracfone will not run the Shopkick app itself. It’s just to get a new phone number to use with a new SK account. SK will send a text with a verification code to the Tracfone, and you enter the verification code in SK on your Android or iOS device of choice to complete registration.
II. Unbanning your current device
A. Android phones
There is a way to unban at least some Android phones. The method described here will only work on Androids running firmware 4.0.3 or higher. It requires your phone to be rooted. Due to the many different Android phones available and all the different methods some phones require to be rooted, this method has not been tested as thoroughly as the iOS unbanning method. No guarantees that this will work, and it is a bit more complicated process than unbanning iOS.
I got this method to work on the two very different Android phones available to me: the Virgin ZTE Awe and the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3. If it works on those two devices, it probably works on many more.
1. Backup your phone if you have settings, etc. you want to keep.
2. Reset phone to factory settings (under Settings:Backup & reset)
3. Set phone back up with your wifi password, etc. In Settings:Security, check box to allow installation of apps from unknown sources. In Settings:Developer options, check box to allow USB debugging (and check box to allow mock locations if you fake location). DO NOT restore from a backup at this point.
4. Root your phone. Given the multitude of rooting methods which are specific to certain devices, this article does not cover rooting. Do a Google search to discover how to root your particular phone. I will just say that for my two devices, I used Cydia Impactor (www.cydiaimpactor.com) to root the ZTE Awe and Kingo Root (www.kingoapp.com) to root the Galaxy Note 3. In both cases all I had to do was download my phone drivers through those programs, and click the start button to root and they were done. Then you can download the “Root Checker” app from the Play Store to verify that you’re rooted.
5. Install Shopkick on phone but DO NOT open it yet.
6. Install XPrivacy Installer from Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=biz.bokhorst.xprivacy.installer
7. Install XPrivacy via side-loading or a “non-Market install.” The *.apk for this program is here: http://repo.xposed.info/module/biz.bokhorst.xprivacy See Part IV below if you’re unfamiliar with side-loading apps. Also note that “XPrivacy Installer” and “XPrivacy” are two different apps, and both are required. Pay close attention to which app these steps refer to.
8. Open XPrivacy Installer.
9. Click boxes: Check for root, made full backup, enabled Unknown Sources.
10. Click to Download/install Xposed.
11. Once it’s downloaded, install Xposed (through Download app or however).
12. Open Xposed Installer. Click Framework, click OK, click Install/Update. Click OK. Phone will reboot.
13. Open Xposed Installer again. Click Modules, check box to enable XPrivacy. Reboot phone.
14. Open XPrivacy Installer. Get to step 4: click Start XPrivacy once. Click through opening screen but don’t do anything in XPrivacy yet.
15. Go back to XPrivacy Installer. Get to step 4 and click Reboot to Finish installation. Phone will reboot.
16. Open XPrivacy, click OK on bottom “OK” box. A list of apps should show up. Check the box on the right for Shopkick.
17. Click the menu button (on your phone not in the app), click Settings, scroll down and click “Randomize Now.” Click OK.
18. Reboot phone.
19. Open Shopkick. If you get the “tap to refresh” error, go back to XPrivacy and toggle the box to restrict Shopkick off and back on.
20. Go back to Shopkick. In a moment, popups should appear asking you to “allow” or “deny” certain information to the app. The settings you should choose for each type of information are below, and they may not pop up in exactly this order:
20. Click through the initial Shopkick startup screens, choose to “just try it for now” as a Guest account, and confirm you’re unbanned once you’ve made it to the main SK home screen without the ban popup.
21. At this point you might be able to restore from a backup without affecting Shopkick. On the Galaxy Note 3 I was able to restore most of my settings and data (I didn’t restore my apps) using the Samsung Kies software without undoing my unban.
B. iOS Devices (iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads)
A recent change in Apple’s policies regarding the device-identifying information app developers are allowed to see made it possible to unban an iOS device. Follow these steps:
1. Delete Shopkick from your device if it’s still installed, then make a backup of your device in iTunes.
2. Restore your device to factory settings. If your device is currently jailbroken and you want it to remain that way, do a “Semi-Restore” instead (see semi-restore.com) or see section C below.
3. Set your device up as a “new device,” DO NOT restore from a backup. (If you’re doing this to your main cell phone, yes, you will lose all your settings and apps. See step 7 below.)
4. You can use your existing Apple ID; Shopkick does not track it for banning.
5. If you’re jailbroken and did a Semi-Restore, you’ll have to reinstall all your jailbreak tweaks and Locationholic if you had them before. Your Locationholic bookmarks should still be there once you reinstall it. But if you set a “home” location in Locationholic we’d recommend changing it.
6. Install and open Shopkick and you should see that you’re not banned anymore and can register a new account.
7. Once you’re definitely unbanned and set up again on Shopkick, then you can restore from a backup and Apple will leave Shopkick as it is on your device and you will remained unbanned but with all your apps and settings returned (thanks to Simpson for this tip). (Note: I had trouble with one backup which brought back a banned SK account. It may be that a backup that does not include Shopkick, or one that includes an earlier version of the app, is required, so that Apple does not overwrite the newer version of the app you’ve already installed and unbanned.)
C. Unbanning alternative for jailbroken devices (credit to CeploiTips for this section)
For jailbroken devices, there is an alternative to semi-restore. This method causes less problems with Mobile Substrate and can be tried if you have other trouble with Semi-Restore on a particular device. It involves manually deleting files and folders on your iPhone and should be done with extreme care.
Please note that we are not responsible if you are mess up your phone. These methods have been tested and should work if you do it right but make sure to follow the instructions to the “T.”
Before continuing, backup your device in case anything goes wrong.
You should have OpenSSH installed through Cydia.
First remove MobileSubstrate, then open Cydia and uninstall everything that you have installed, except OpenSSH/OpenSSL. If you are not sure which ones you have installed you can use iLex Restore. This is similar to Semi-Restore but it won’t do the job of unbanning Shopkick and it can be done just through your mobile device. Just add this repo: http://cydia.myrepospace.com/iLEXiNFO/ and install iLex Restore and use Restore II.
For Cyberduck, you would open it, select SFTP (SSH…) enter “root” as username and “alpine” as password. And under Server, enter the IP address that you find by launching the Settings app on your iPhone and selecting Wifi and the blue arrow next to your network.
Go to the folder /var/mobile and delete the “Documents” folder.
Go to the folder /var/mobile/Library/Preferences and delete all files and folders except “.GlobalPreferences.plist”.
Go back to /var/mobile/Library and delete all files and folders except for the following:
Delete the contents in these folders, but leave the folders themselves:
Go to /var/mobile/Applications and delete everything inside.
Go to /var/mobile/Media and delete all files and folders except for the following:
Now empty out all of the files inside the 3 folders above. Make sure to not delete the actual folders though.
Go to /var/Keychains and delete all files and folders inside.
Reboot your device and set up your device as new. Do not install from a backup.
Download Shopkick and make sure that you are actually unbanned. Do not create a new account without checking, otherwise you would waste a good phone number. Do this by clicking the “Not now” button, so that you can actually play around with the app.
III. Getting a new device
This section does not discuss purchasing new, subsidized smartphones requiring contracts. It is written more in the mind of adding an additional device beyond your primary cell phone.
A. iOS Devices
iOS devices are generally much more expensive than the Android options we discuss in the next section. However, unlike the cheap Androids, they generally perform better, have higher resale value, and are easier to unban (assuming an Android device you’re considering can be unbanned at all). You’ll have weigh the cost/benefit yourself in deciding on a new device.
Shopkick supports iPod Touches and iPads (unlike on the Android side where Android tablets and media players are not supported). Most iOS devices running iOS 6.0 or later should work for Shopkick as of this writing, with one exception: The new 16GB iPod Touch (5th Generation). It does not have a rear-facing camera, which is needed for scanning barcodes. The iPod Touches with 32GB or higher have a rear camera and work well with Shopkick.
Shopkick does not run very well on a 4th Generation iPod Touch. We cannot speak for SK version 4.x, but we have run SK version 3.x on 4th Gen iPods and the app would constantly crash upon trying to scan, requiring a reboot every time to fix. Not recommended.
Currently, newer iOS devices can only be jailbroken if they are still running iOS version 7.0.6 or earlier. As of this writing, there is no jailbreak available for the current firmware iOS 7.1. If you want to be jailbroken for spoofing location or other reasons, keep that in mind when making a purchase.
B. Android phones
The only real feasible options here are the cheaper “no-contract” Android phones. Many of them run Shopkick very well. You don’t have to activate service for them, just connect them to wifi and use for Shopkick (and other Android apps you want). Most Android phones in this category do not come with “free minutes” for a new phone number upon activation; you’d have to buy a minutes card or sign up for a monthly plan. Therefore obtaining a new wireless number using the methods described in Part I is probably still needed.
Currently you can find no-contract Android phones for sale with prices ranging from $40-$130 and more. But if you’re patient and do some looking, you can often find them on sale cheaper. On Black Friday in 2013 there were some very high-performing no-contract Androids on sale for $20. (Think about how quick you could make that back in Shopkick rewards…) You could also consider refurbished phones (just hope that the previous owner wasn’t banned on SK!)
Here are some no-contract phones known to work at this time, but this is by no means an exhaustive list:
LG Optimus Net+
LG Optimus Logic*+
+–Android 2.x phone
*–used with Shopkick 3.5, cannot confirm performance with Shopkick 4.x
In general, any Android phone running firmware 2.3 or later, with at least a 3.2” touchscreen and a rear camera, should work for Shopkick (see Part IV below if you think they don’t). However, older-model phones running Android 2.x will obviously run slower, and it’s always possible that Shopkick will stop support for Android 2.x. At this point it would probably be better to future-proof your investment and look for phones running Android 4.x.
IV. On my Android device the Play Store says, “Your device isn’t compatible with this version.” HELP!
Google seems to think that some Android phones can’t run Shopkick and won’t let you install it from the Play Store. However, Shopkick runs just fine on them if you install it outside the Play Store via a non-Market install. (The Play Store used to be called the Android Market, hence the term “non-Market install.” Also referred to as “side-loading” apps.) This particularly seems to be an issue with Kyocera phones.
When you visit the Play Store Shopkick app page on your device and get the “device isn’t compatible” message, or if you can’t even find the app in a search on the Play Store, try the following method to install Shopkick:
1. In the Settings app, under Security, check the box under Unknown Sources to “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources.” (the wording may vary on different versions of Android). It will give you a warning popup if you turn on this setting; click OK or Continue.
You will not be able to update the app to the latest version using this method, but this will work until Shopkick forces everyone to upgrade to the latest version again.
3. Unfortunately, Google does not make it easy to directly download apk files from the Play Store. If you have a Google account and used it to download apps on a Shopkick-compatible Android phone previously, this method might work for you to download the latest *.apk:
Basically, you will have to use the Google Chrome browser on your desktop, install the browser extension linked above, sign into the extension with your Google account and the serial number of your Android device. Then you can navigate to the Shopkick page on the Play Store and a button will appear to download com.shopkick.app.apk directly to your PC.
4. Another possibility is to install AirDroid on a phone that already has Shopkick. Then you can download the *.apk from that phone via AirDroid (thanks to Tim for this tip).
5. Now that you have the apk file, you need to load it onto your phone. There are several ways to do this: (a) Email the file to yourself as an attachment, and view the email on the phone; (b) Connect your phone to your computer as a USB storage device. Then just copy the apk file to the root directory of your phone storage.
6. If you used the email file attachment method, you may be able to install the app directly from the email. Otherwise, open the Downloads app on the phone and you should see the apk file. If you used the USB method, you may have to download a file-browsing app like Root Explorer to find the apk file on the phone. Click to install. The Shopkick app should work normally.
This method is not guaranteed to work, but does work with most Android phones running firmware 2.3 or later. Confirmed to work with the Kyocera Rise, Hydro, and Event phones.
Shopkick does not officially support Android tablets. We have not tested whether this non-Market install method will work on Android tablets. If you have experience with this, please let us know in the comments. At a minimum, an Android tablet would need a rear-facing camera and a microphone to run SK effectively.
1. When setting up a new account, if you currently have a good SK account on another device, you could use a referral link from your existing device to set up the new device. Refer yourself and get the extra referral points.
2. This article was written as of Shopkick app version 4.2.4. Future SK updates could change how well some of the methods described above work.
3. Check for updates to this article in the comments below.
4. If you have any suggestions or better solutions than described above, please respond in the comments section. Thanks!
Corey also known as coreywt has been an integral part of CeploiTips. After having first discovered the Tracfone method, Corey has again made an impact by writing this detailed guide. In addition as a mod, he has continuously helped the community by answering questions, updating the wiki, and providing new insights towards things everyday.