How to manually install apps on Android

When installing new apps on an Android device, it is normal to just go to the Play Store (or Amazon App Store if using an Amazon device), look or search for the app, hit install, and done. In a few seconds (depending on internet connection speed) the app is installed on your device with no extra effort.

The story is not the same when dealing with streaming apps. Most of these apps are normally not available in any of the app stores, and the only way of getting them on your device is by manually installing them (also known as “Side Loading”). It is not an arduous process and it is very similar on all devices (even on Amazon devices). The installation is completed in only a few steps:

Turn on Unknown Sources

Most android devices come with the ability to manually install apps disabled. This option must be enabled before we can proceed to install our apps. The option is called “Unknown Sources”. On most devices it can be found going to Settings-> Device Security. The switch on that option just has to be moved to the enable position. You will receive a warning telling about the security risks related to this action. Just select ok to acknowledge the warning. After that Unknown sources will be enable and we will be able to manually install apps.

Download apk file

Android apps are packaged in apk files. An apk file package together the app itself and all the resources it needs to properly run on your device.

Apk files can be found from several sources on the internet. Just be careful to choose a trusted source because there are a lot of apk files that package viruses or other malicious software.

The apk files can be downloaded to your device using any standard web browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. The can also be downloaded on a computer and then transferred to the Android device using a USB drive or via Wi-Fi.

Installing the app

Using the Android device build in file browser (or other file browser installed from the app store), go to the folder where the apk was downloaded to (normally the Downloads folder) or to the folder it was copied to from the computer.

Select the apk to be installed and this should automatically open the apk installer (this is an app already build into Android). The apk installer will show information about the apk to be installed, specially the permissions required by the app. If you are ok with the presented information just click on the install button.

After a few seconds the installation will be completed and now you will see newly installed app icon on you home screen or app screen.

The original apk file can be deleted now or saved for a future installation.

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