How to Sideload Apps on Your Android Phone

Sideload Android Apps

In the realm of Android applications, sideloading refers to the process of installing apps from sources other than the official Google Play Store. While the Play Store remains the primary hub for Android app distribution, sideloading offers several advantages, including access to apps that may not be available on the Play Store, the ability to test unreleased apps, and apps from alternative sources. Freedom to install included.

However, it is important to exercise caution when sideloading apps, as apps obtained from third-party sources may pose security risks. Before proceeding with sideloading, make sure you only download apps from trusted sources and thoroughly review the app’s permissions and potential security concerns.

Enabling Sideloading on Your Android Device

Before you start your sideloading journey, you need to enable this feature on your Android device. The process to enable sideloading may vary slightly depending on the Android version of your device. Here’s a general guide for Android 8 Oreo and newer:

  • Open the Settings app on your Android device.
  • Navigate to Apps & notifications.
  • Expand the Advanced section at the bottom of the menu.
  • Tap Special app access.
  • Scroll down and select Install unknown apps.
  • A list of apps that can install other apps will appear. Select the app for which you want to enable sideloading, such as your web browser or file manager.
  • Toggle the switch next to Allow from this source to enable sideloading.

Locating and downloading APK files

The primary format for sideloading Android apps is the APK (Android Package) file. These files contain all the necessary components to install and run the app on your Android device. To sideload an app, you need to locate the corresponding APK file and download it.

  • Trusted Sources: The most reliable sources for APK files are the websites of reputable app developers or trusted third-party app repositories like APKMirror or APKPure.
  • APK Downloading: Once you find the APK file you want, start the download process. Be aware of the app’s permissions and potential security risks before proceeding.

Sideloading an APK File

  • With the APK file downloaded, you are ready to sideload the app onto your device. follow these steps:
  • Locate the APK file: Open the file manager app on your device and navigate to the location where you downloaded the APK file.
  • Start installation: Tap on the APK file to start the installation process.
  • Review permissions: A pop-up window will appear, outlining the permissions requested by the app. Review these permissions carefully to make sure you understand the app’s level of access to your device’s data and functionality.
  • Confirm installation: If you are satisfied with the permissions, tap the Install button to proceed with the installation.
  • Installation Completion: Once the installation is complete, you will receive a notification. You can then launch the app from your app drawer or home screen.

Additional Considerations for Sideloading

  • Security and Privacy: Sideloading apps from untrusted sources poses security and privacy risks. Only sideload apps from reputable sources and thoroughly review their permissions before installing.
  • App version compatibility: Make sure you are downloading the APK file compatible with the Android version of your device. Installing incompatible versions may cause app malfunction or device instability.
  • App updates: Apps sideloaded manually may not receive automatic updates through the Google Play Store. You may need to manually check and install updates from the developer’s website or alternative app repositories.
  • Troubleshooting: If you encounter issues during or after sideloading an app, try restarting your device or clearing the app’s cache and data. If issues persist, check for updated APK versions or contact the app developer for support.


Sideloading apps on Android provides flexibility and access to apps not available on the Play Store. However, it is important to exercise caution and only sideload apps from trusted sources. By following the given guidelines, you can sideload apps safely and enjoy the benefits of app exploration and experimentation.

Image Credit: Arpad Czapp

Filed under: Android News, Guides

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