An Easy Guide to Sideloading Apps

Have you ever seen a screenshot on Twitter or any other social media platform and wondered what the icons at the top of the screen were? Despite all of your investigating, did you fail to locate the app’s icon in the app store?

Before you think that you’re going crazy, it’s important to know that not all Android apps are downloaded and installed from the Google Play Store. In fact, there are many apps which aren’t available through the traditional methods for a number of reasons.

The technique for getting these apps onto your phone is called Sideloading, and this article has steps on how you can do it. However, before you proceed, it’s important to note that these apps have not undergone any type of quality control and, if desired, could be geared towards performing malicious acts with your data and your device. Continue at your own risk.

You Will Need an Android Phone

The first thing that you will need is an Android phone. If you are using an iPhone then now is the time to check out the Groupon Coupons page for Walmart to pick up an Android-based handset.

Allow Unknown Sources

Quite an ambiguous setting, isn’t it? After all, do you really know *any* of the developers you install apps from? This setting simply means that your phone will prevent any apps from installing on your device unless they have been downloaded from the official store.

This setting can be found by navigating to System Settings, Security, Unknown Sources. Toggle this setting to be active.

Find the APK

With your phone all set to allow for unknown installations, it’s time to get to searching. After all, because you aren’t downloading the apps from an app store, there is no app store to easily search through.

Instead, you will need to scour the internet, likely a number of developer and hacker message boards, to find what is called the APK file for the app you are looking for. This is the raw install file that is needed.

Once you have found the APK you are looking for and you are confident in its contents, press the download option and move on to the next step.

Prepare Your Phone

Now that your phone is set to allow the installation and the APK install file has been downloaded, it’s time to find the file and begin the installation. To do this, head to the Play Store and download any free file manager app which you prefer. It only needs to perform the task of browsing, so don’t get too caught up on which one you choose.

Once you have this installed, simply open the app and navigate to the folder where your downloads are kept. If you aren’t sure, the default folder will literally and simply be called Downloads.

Navigate to the folder and you should see the APK which you have downloaded. Simply press on the file, and consider any prompts which you’re presented with, and then sit back and wait for the app to be installed!

It’s that easy!

Okay maybe it isn’t the easiest process in the world, but it certainly isn’t the hardest.

Now What?

This is often the first questions asked by somebody once they have sideloaded their first app.

If you don’t’ have a lot of other apps that you have been wanting to try and install, then there isn’t really much left to do. However, there are some rules you should consider moving forward, such as:

Are you 100% confident that the APK is genuine

Often, a hacker can inject malicious code into an APK file which you blindly install, giving them access to your device.

Is the App Good Quality

Developers need to pay a fee to register for the Play Store, which is often a good deterrent against developers creating a large number of useless apps. Those who don’t often offer their apps for free online, but be wary as these aren’t likely to be high-quality products.

If you aren’t sure on either of these, then it’s best not to download the APK and risk exposing your device to malicious software.