How to sideload apps on Android?


How can I install apps that aren't from Google Play?

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Here's an app that might be helpful:

How To Sideload APK Files On Android From Windows The Easiest Way Possible

"The second, and perhaps least used method is to sideload the APK itself. This is a method that tends to only be used by Android power users – those who want to install apps that are not available on the Play Store. To sideload apps, users can download the installation file, or APK, and copy it across to their phone’s memory. Once there, it will need to be run, usually via a file browser. Apps can also be installed by downloading them on the phone, via an installed web browser. Neither option is particularly elegant, though.

That’s where the APK Installer tool comes in. Using the free app, Android fans can install apps onto an Android device using their Windows PC by dragging the APK into the tool’s designated window. After that, everything’s handled with no user interaction at all."

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A lot of times you can avoid the need to actually sideload APKs through a USB connection or the SD card. First go into your SETTINGS > APPLICATIONS then check the box to allow UNKNOWN SOURCES to enable installation of apps that aren't from Google Play. The steps may vary a little depending on your version of Android. Many times developers will include a QR code link along with the link to the APK, so you can be in your laptop, click the link for the QR code, and use Google Goggles (or other QR code reader of your choice) to scan the QR code right off of your laptop screen. Then it will directly download to your devices and install without the need to go through all of the other steps, assuming the developer included the QR code link. Obviously this poses some risks, so be cautious. 

Christopher Nerney
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The website MakeUseOf answers that very question with a longish article containing some helpful graphics. Bottom line: You need the APK file of the app you want to install, which MakeUseOf calls "the hardest part of the entire process." Once you get the APK file, you can transfer it from your computer to your Android device using a USB connection. Then follow the MakeUseOf instructions for installing.


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