sideload google tv hero

Google TV devices (including the Chromecast with Google TV) have access to Android apps and games specifically made for TVs. If you want an app that doesn’t appear in the Play Store on the TV, you can “sideload” it. We’ll show you how to do it.

Apps and games that haven’t been specifically enabled for TVs won’t show up in the Play Store on your Google TV device. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t work on the TV. You’ll just have to download them from someplace else. That’s where sideloading comes in.

Sideloading is the act of installing an app from outside the Play Store. Rather than the Play Store handling the download and installation process, you’ll have to do it manually. Sideloading on Google TV is a little different than on Android TV.

RELATED: What's the Difference between Google TV and Android TV?

Before we can do any sideloading, you’ll need to download an app. APK Mirror is a trusted source for downloading apps, and you won’t be pirating. Visit the website, find the app you want, and download the APK file.

After downloading the APK, you’ll need to move it to Google TV. The easiest way to do this is with a cloud storage service such as Google Drive. Upload the file to the Drive website or mobile app.

Lastly, you’ll need a way to access your Google Drive on the TV. We recommend an app called “File Commander,” which is what we’ll be using in this guide. Download the app and sign in with your Google account.

file commander

The first step in sideloading is enabling the ability to install apps from unknown sources, which is disabled by default as a security feature. First, select your profile icon in the top-right corner of the Google TV home screen.

select profile icon

Select “Settings” from the menu.

select settings

Scroll down and select “System.”

select System

Next, click “About” from the System settings.

select About

Scroll all the way down to “Android TV OS Build” and select it repeatedly until a message appears and says “You Are Now A Developer.”

select android tv os build

You have now enabled the Developer Options, which makes it possible to allow installing apps from unknown sources. Next, go back to the main Settings menu and then select “Apps.”

select apps

Scroll down to the bottom and select “Security & Restrictions.”

select Security & Restrictions

Navigate to “Unknown Sources.”

select unknown sources

Lastly, toggle the switch on for “File Commander.” If we hadn’t enabled Developer Options first, this option would be grayed out.

toggle the switch for File Commander

Now that we’ve enabled installing apps from unknown sources, we can finally sideload. Open File Commander on your Google TV and navigate to the Google Drive section.

file commander google drive

Locate the APK file you previously moved and select it.

select the apk file

On the pop-up message, click “Install.”

select install

After it has finished installing, select “Open.”

open app

It’s important to remember that not all apps or games will work correctly on Google TV. Some will be completely broken, while others won’t be functional with a remote. However, plenty of unsupported apps work fine. You’ll just have to test and see.

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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