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How to sideload apps on Android phone step by step [with pictures]

App installation screen android

Installing apps on Android have been easier than before with Google Play Store taking care of everything. The Play Store app comes pre-installed in almost all Android phones - from there users can search, download, and install their favourite apps in few taps. It is the home of hundreds of thousands of Android apps readily available for users to select from.

However, there are instances where using Play Store may be a sore in the throat. It consumes data more than necessary, and it relied on Google Play Services to work which itself is a heavy RAM hurddler. Phones with low RAM struggle to run Play Store efficiently and it often lag on phones that have poor RAM management since it depends completely on Play Services.

Moreover, some Android users like to do away with Google Play Services because of issues like multiple wakelocks that can be battery killer, hence their inability to use Play Store. Fortunately, we can install apps without using Play Store - this is called sideloading. On Android, we can download apps from external third-party sites and sideload (install) them on our phone. This cannot be done on iOS since it is closed-source, but Android support it.

There are tons of websites on the internet where Android users can download apps to their phones - the most popular and most trusted are ApkMirror (owned by AndroidPolice) and APKPure. On these sites, you can download whatever app you are looking for and install it on your phone.

Today, I'll be showing you how you can sideload apps on your Android phone step by step. I'll be using APKPure as an example, but you can use any website of your choice. Simply follow the steps below.

Step 1

APKPure website

Go to apkpure website using your mobile browser and search for the app you'll like to install. In this case, I look for an app called "Aggregator". Click the download button to download the app to your Android device.

Tips: You can search for any app using Google Search by entering this keyword "appname apkpure". Replace the appname with the name of the app.

Step 2

File manager

If you use Chrome browser to download the app, the app will be saved in the "Download" folder in your phone storage. Open your phone file manager and browse to the download folder.

P.S: Most web browsers save downloaded files inside the download folder on Android

Step 3

Download folder

The app will be listed in the download folder. Tap on it to install.

Step 4

Security warning

A security warning message like the one in the image above will pop up asking you to enable "install unknown apps". Tap the settings button.

Step 5

Install unknown apps

Enable "allow from this source" and tap the back button.

Note: You only need to do this once

Step 6

App installation screen

You will see the installation screen, simply tap the "install" button to start installation.

The app will be installed and will be listed in the app launcher. You can follow these steps to sideload any apps to your Android phone. The procedure is the same irrespective of the website you download the app from and the browser you used to download the app as long as the app has apk file extension (ends with .apk).

This also applied to apps received through Bluetooth or through apps like Xender. You only need to locate where the app is stored and install it from there.

Recently, APKPure introduced XAPK (.xapk) and ApkMirror introduced APKS (.apks). These type of Android apps cannot be installed on Android like APK. The procedures above won't work in this case. Here is how you can install XAPK apps and APKS apps on Android.

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Tech In ABC is a tech-focus website for amateur tech consumers and newbies that are just getting started. We educate people how they can improve the functionality of their tech devices, and how they can secure their privacy on social media. Learn more about Tech In ABC.

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