The full potential of your Android device is unlocked when you start tinkering with it. Those who sport Android devices have access to features they would otherwise be missing in other platforms. For example, you can download and install apps manually. Yes, even those which don’t come from the Google Play Store.
This process is called “sideloading”. In a nutshell, sideloading is the action of downloading an APK file (the format Android apps use) and manually installing it. This is relatively easy to do, but it has its tricks. This is why we are here to show you the process. Let’s jump into it!
Before we go any further, we must warn you that there are some dangers to sideloading apps. You should make sure your APK file is not malicious or corrupted, as sideloading has been known to be one of the main reasons for infected devices. Users often download pirated apps that are infected. Be sure your APK files come from safe sources!
Download the APK file
Your first step is to download the APK file, of course. You can often get these from the source or forums. It’s a simple Google search away. You can download it straight from your smartphone or from any other device.
Just be sure you put it in your device at the end. I usually use cloud services to transfer the APK file over, but you can also transfer it via USB of use a microSD card. Hell, you can even email it to yourself! Just be sure it’s somewhere in your smartphone.
Locate the APK file and run it
After you have your APK file in your smartphone, you can simply use any file manager to locate it. Many devices have their own file managers. If yours doesn’t, a very popular one is ASTRO File Manager. When you have a file manager ready, find the APK file and run it.
Allow app installations from “Unknown Sources”
While Android allows you to install apps via sideloading, they do realize it’s a bit of a dangerous process sometimes. This is why they have created an extra security layer, making sure the user is confident and knowledgable about his/her actions.
If you don’t have “Unknown Sources” turned on, the system will ask you to do so upon attempting to install an APK file. Simply turn it on, go back and press “Install”. You can also reach this option before hand by going to your Settings app. This can differ a bit per device, but the option is usually located under the “Security” section.
You are set!
After you have pressed “Install”, the system will do its job and your app will be installed! Go check your app drawer and it should be there!