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How to Sideload Apps on Your Android TV Box

How to Sideload Apps on Your Android TV Box

The Google Play Retailer might have tens of millions of different apps, however it doesn’t all the time have what I would like.

Have you ever even tried to put in an app and noticed this message as an alternative?

your device isn't compatible with this version

your device isn't compatible with this version

Or worse yet, have you ever ever gone on the lookout for a selected app like Amazon Underground or MiXPlorer?

You gained’t find them the Google Play Store.

My thing is, I hate being advised “no.”

Especially when there’s no good purpose for it. That’s one of the reasons I’m an enormous fan of using a VPN for Android to get around geofiltering.

However worry not, my trustworthy readers. There are methods to get round Google’s defenses.

To try this you’re going to need to discover ways to sideload Android apps.

First things first…just what is sideloading?

You’ve in all probability heard of uploading and downloading, so let me clarify sideloading in the identical approach.

Think of where you’re sitting proper now, studying this submit on your pc, smartphone, tablet….no matter gadget you need. Now think about that “the Cloud”, or “the Web” is sitting right above your head. It’s like Eeyore gave you his personal little rain cloud and it’s hovering proper above your head. Except as an alternative of rain, it’s shelling out this text for you to learn.

Something you need to get from the Internet is a obtain, as a result of that info is coming right down to you. Likewise, any time you need to ship something to the Web, you’re sending it up, so its referred to as an add.

Is sensible, right?

Now take your TV box and put it right next to you on the table. You don’t even have to do this, however just think about.

You’ve gotten something that you simply need to get from the computertabletsmartphone to your TV box. That knowledge isn’t going up (upload) or down (download). It’s going to a device on the same degree as you. That is sideloading in a nutshell.

or…What information are you able to sideload?

The most typical factor you’ll need to do, and doubtless what led you right here in the first place, is to sideload APK (Android aPlication pacKage) information. As I stated at first, the Google Play Store places restrictions on what apps you possibly can see and download.

Personally, I’d wish to determine for myself what I can and can’t put alone gadget.

That’s the facility of sideloading. You possibly can install virtually anything as a result of most of the filters and restrictions happen at the App Retailer degree. Sideloading principally provides you the facility to put no matter you want in your gadget.

You’ll be able to:

  • Sideload Android apps by way of apk or zip file
    • Apps which are restricted by gadget
    • Apps which are restricted by location (geofiltering)
    • Apps that simply aren’t in an app store at all
  • Set up the Amazon App Retailer, or another various app retailer
  • Install custom firmware and ROMs
  • Transfer films or music instantly from your PC

For TV packing containers, sideloading is particularly essential for 2 causes.

App’s Minimum Requirements

Apps are coded so to be suitable with sure hardware. It may look for that hardware by function (2GB of RAM, display resolution, and so forth.). Or it might search for particular gadget mannequin numbers if the developer has a very good testing workforce. That is rare, however I’ve come throughout it on a couple of occasions.

On the lookout for particular hardware might be problematic. Android TV bins have just about the identical hardware as your smartphone or tablet, apart from one necessary half.

The display.

If the app you need to set up is determined by a sure display resolution…truly if the app is determined by ANY particular display decision, you’re in hassle.

The Google Play Retailer will take a look at your TV box and determine that it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements to run the app. No app for you.

The Google Play Providers

What in case your brand new gadget doesn’t include the Google Play Retailer in any respect?

This happens when the producer or system usually are not certified by Google. This not only affects the Play Retailer, but other Google apps like YouTube, Gmail and Maps.

It’s much less widespread now than when TV packing containers first hit the scene, but I nonetheless hear about individuals shopping for Android TV packing containers that don’t have the Google Play Store pre-installed.

If that occurs, the consumer should sideload an alternate app retailer, or manually sideload each further apps that they need.

It’s not straightforward to get an app into the Google Play Retailer. Google checks each app for viruses and different malware earlier than they’re accepted and obtainable for obtain.

Make no mistake: Sideloading apps opens your system up to threats that normally is perhaps caught before they get to you. Every tutorial I’ve seen on find out how to sideload apps misses the necessary step on re-securing your system after you’re executed. So be sure you stick round to the top of the tutorial.

I’ve written earlier than on find out how to shield your system towards Android TV field viruses and malware. I highly advocate operating some kind of virus safety in your system. Even in the event you solely use a free model, it should still help to guard your system.

In case you sideload apps, get virus protection. Period.

I’m going to take you through the best way to set up Amazon Underground, Amazon’s own app store.

Sideload Android apps with ES File ExplorerSideload Android apps with ES File Explorer1. Get a file supervisor

The first thing you want is some type of file supervisor on your Android system. In the event you’ve already obtained one put in, you’ll be able to skip ahead to step 2.

The preferred one, and my favorite, is ES File Explorer. In case you don’t have it installed, you’ll be able to download it from the Google Play Store, or no matter app store got here together with your gadget.

I’ve never come throughout an Android TV field that didn’t come pre-installed with both a file explorer or an app store. The manufacturers often need one or the opposite to install their software program.

Once you put in it, open it up simply to ensure that there aren’t any further setup steps.

2. Enable Unknown Sources

As I’ve stated, by default Android will only let you install apps from the Google Play Retailer. Android considers anyplace else an “Unknown Source.”

Enabling Unknown Sources is a setting found in the Security tab of your principal Settings Display. Depending on your gadget, it might look slightly totally different, so I’ll show you two ways to seek out it. Don’t fear, you’ll only want one in every of these.

a. Open Settings

This can be totally different for every launcher, unfortunately. Most corporations will put a Settings icon on the primary residence page which appears like a set of mechanical gears like this one on the underside row.MXIII Mini - launcherMXIII Mini - launcher

For those who don’t see an icon on the primary page, go to the display that exhibits all your apps arranged in a row like this. Notice: You could have two “Settings” icons in your page, as you see in this picture under. You don’t want the “Google Settings” on the top row. The one you’re in search of is the gear shaped icon within the bottom row, second one from the best.


b. Go to Safety choices

The Settings icon will take you to certainly one of two screens, depending on the version of Android that you simply’re operating. The precise options are kind of the same, however the one we’re on the lookout for might be referred to as “Safety & Restrictions” or simply “Safety.” Your display should seem like one of the following:

Once you find the Safety Settings, open that menu by clicking on it.

Here’s the place it might get confusing as a result of I don’t assume the wording of the setting could be very clear, no less than on the image on the left. It simply says “Unknown Sources” and “On” or “Off.”  The picture on the best is far clearer in what it’s asking. However when you have any doubt, click on both and it is best to get a pop-up field that appears one thing like this:

Vulnerable to attack by apps from unknown sources

Vulnerable to attack by apps from unknown sources

“Your system and personal knowledge are extra weak to attack by apps from unknown sources. You agree that you’re solely answerable for any injury to your mbx or lack of knowledge which will end result from utilizing these apps.”

Should you don’t perceive that warning meaning you skipped previous my “A Word on Safety…” section above. You must undoubtedly return up and skim it. It’s OK. I’ll wait.

3. Obtain the file you need to sideload

Sideloading was initially used to explain transferring a file from one gadget to a different, but the time period has expanded since then. These days we name any sort of installation the place we’re bypassing the traditional procedure as “sideloading.” On this case, we’re bypassing the Google Play Store.

You’ve a couple of options for learn how to get the file. Should you can download it on the same gadget that you simply’re going to install it on later, you’ll find yourself saving a number of time.

In our instance, keep in mind we’re installing Amazon Underground. To obtain it to your gadget, go to Amazon.comunderground or you possibly can simply do a Google seek for “Amazon app store.”



Notice the apps on the bottom of the display? You’d assume that the app can be listed there. But you’d be mistaken. Those are only the apps which are out there for obtain by way of…you guessed it…Google Play. The hyperlink we would like is the one on the prime: Amazon.comunderground




Amazon modifications up this page typically, but no matter what they do to the highest part of the web page, there will all the time be a button or link that appears one thing just like the “Get Amazon Underground” button above. Click on on that to start the download process.



They provide you a very temporary set of instructions on tips on how to sideload apps from unknown sources, but neglect to say anything concerning the security dangers involved. Whereas disappointing, it’s not very shocking. So as to install anything from Amazon Underground the Unknown Sources setting would have to remain on.

But I’ll go extra into my suggestions on the end of this tutorial.



In case you have been questioning why you put in ES File Explorer first, then here is your answer. As soon as the file is downloaded, you’ll be able to open it proper from the notification window, as shown above, or by way of ES File Explorer individually. Both method, having a file manager installed will let you open the .apk file instantly.



Once you click on the .apk file, you’ll be taken to an set up window. This may increasingly look totally different depending on the file you’re installing, however will often detail what permissions it’s asking for access to.

Keep in mind to make it possible for the permissions match the app. For instance, for those who’re putting in a photograph editor, you ought to be just a little apprehensive if it’s asking for permissions to ship and obtain textual content messages.

As soon as the setup process is complete, you’ll get a simple message saying the app is put in and also you’ll have the choice to open it.




four. Other methods to sideload Android apps


In case you can’t download the file instantly on the gadget that you simply need to install it, then the method becomes a bit more involved.


Cable Technique

What you’ll need to do is hook up your TV field on to your PC or Mac utilizing a micro-USB to full-size USB cable just like the one under. Often your TV box will include one among these within the field. If not, they’re fairly inexpensive and could be picked up at Amazon or any local electronics store. An honest quality cable shouldn’t be greater than round $5.

For those who’re utilizing your PC, Home windows will recognize your TV field as another exterior gadget like a flash drive or exterior arduous drive. You’ll have the ability to navigate by means of the listing and save your information wherever you like.

A word of caution: Be careful what contact. Modifications you make right here may cause your Android TV field to turn out to be unstable or crash. I highly advocate only putting information within the Download folder or any folders that you’ve created personally.


I haven’t tried this technique personally, however I’ve had a reader inform me that you need to use Dropbox as an alternative of a USB cable to transfer a file from your PC to your TV box. He outlined the steps right here:

  • Download the Android app in your PC
  • Upload the file to Dropbox from your PC
  • On your TV field, open the Dropbox app
  • Download the file to your Obtain folder
  • Open the ES File Explorer and navigate to the Download folder
  • Open the app to put in it


As I’ve stated before, whenever you turn on the option to put in apps from unknown sources, you’re removing a layer of safety from your gadget.

I extremely advocate to solely allow this setting if you find yourself putting in an app and turn it back off instantly after you’re completed.

Obviously, that gained’t work for everybody. By default, each app on Amazon Underground is technically from “unknown sources.” Anytime you need to install a brand new app from there, you would need to enable Unknown Sources again.

Most people aren’t going to place up with the effort.

So what are you able to do?

Setup-2---Settings-57Setup-2---Settings-57App Verification

Google has a setting referred to as App Verification. You’ll find this within the Security section of the Settings page.

For those who enable it, it’s going to permit Google to frequently verify your gadget activity for safety issues, and stop or warn about potential harm. That may be a nice means of saying that your system will monitor you and take some primary steps to be sure to don’t break anything too badly.

Many individuals will dismiss it as being too intrusive, but I consider you could’t ever have too much security on your units.

Sideloading-13Sideloading-13Virus Safety

You have to take steps to maintain your system protected from malware and Android viruses. One of many best and handiest ways you are able to do that’s to put in some type of virus protection in your system.

Significantly. In case you have a PC, likelihood is your anti-virus program has a service which may also shield your cellular units. If not, there are many free options on the market as properly.

Personally, I exploit BitDefender to keep both my PC and smartphone protected. Even the free version (shown to the left) provides me piece of mind that one thing is watching out for any malware which may infect my system.

There’s an entire world of apps out there in addition to what we’re used to seeing on the Google Play Retailer. Hopefully this tutorial will show you how to exit and see what you will discover. When you provide you with any questions, depart them within the remark under and I’ll do my greatest to reply them.

My query to you: What’s the first app that you simply’re going to sideload to your system? Let me know!