How to Sideload Apps to Your Android

Sideloading: When it comes to Android Apps, this refers to the process of taking an APK (Android Package Kit – the file you download when you download an Android app from Google Play) from somewhere other than Google Play and installing it on the Android outside of the Google Play store confines. This APK could be downloaded from a website like APKMirror or on the computer and then loaded to the phone via a file explorer. I will show an example of this later.

Why would I want to sideload?

I prefer doing things from Google Play when I can. It allows auto-updates for the apps you have to go through. Sometimes this is necessary however. In terms of making money with smartphones, this is necessary when:

How to Sideload

On the Phone

Sideloading on the phone is pretty simple. There are many trusted places to download APK files to your Android. I mentioned one above called APKMirror which is my usual go to. APKPure is great too.

Just click download on APKMirror. A notification will appear that it is downloading. You can click that when it is complete and the installer will launch. You can also find the APK in your downloads to install.

On the Computer

If you backup certain versions of apps or cannot find the app on a website other than Google Play, this is a good way to go.

This is good if you backup because you can keep other versions of the APK in a folder on your computer.

If this app’s APK file version you want is only located on Google Play and nowhere else, this is also good because you can use an APK downloader.

I have linked an example here.

Just input the Google Play link to the app listing and download that APK to your computer.

When you download the app file, all you have to do then is use a file explorer to drag the APK to your Android device when it is connected. I use Android File Transfer for Mac.

From that point, you just install it on the phone! I usually drag the APK file from the computer to the downloads folder since it is easily accessible.