How to Install Apps Not Found in the Play Store on Your Android Device

By Cameron Summerson on January 19th, 2011

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Although the Google Play Store offers thousands upon thousands of applications to choose from, sometimes you’ll want to break free and install applications that aren’t available in Google’s official store. Read on to learn how.

Your Android phone is, by default, set to disallow any applications that aren’t from the Play Store. It’s a wise move, as the majority of users are more likely to be exposed to rogue applications than when searching for apps outside of the Play Store. Nonetheless, there are times where you might want to install–or “sideload”–third-party apps that aren’t found in Google Play.

How to Allow Sideloading

If you attempt to load an APK file (the Android version of the Windows Mobile CAB or the iOS IPA file) you’ll get an error message like this:

Screenshot_20160720-112519

But fear not, there’s a simple way to fix that. First, head into the Settings menu—you can either tap the “Settings” button in the error message, or just pull down the notification shade and tap the cog icon. If you choose the latter method, you’ll then need to navigate to the “Security” menu.

Screenshot_20160720-113554 Screenshot_20160720-113547

From here, it’s all smooth sailing. Scroll down just a bit until you see the “Unknown Sources” option. Go ahead and toggle it. A warning will pop up—just select “OK” here.

Screenshot_20160720-112802 Screenshot_20160720-112807

Now, re-launch that APK and it should install normally.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys on the 'net, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, chugging away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching the Bulls while yelling at the TV.


Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/19/11

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