How To Download Apps on Android Without Google Play
If you are an Android user, the Google Play Store is the most secure and convenient way to get all the apps. However, there are other ways to get apps.
There are also apps for Android that do not exist on the Google Play Store. You can download these apps to your Android device anyway. Downloading an app from places other than Google Play is known as sideloading.
Recently, interest for sideloading rose again with the global popularity of the game Fortnite. The game is available for Android, but you need to download it from the official website instead of Play Store.
This article will explain how to download your Android apps from sources other than Google Play.
Modify the Settings
The Android operating system doesn’t allow you to download any apps outside of Play Store by default. Since all other methods are not as reliable, you should venture beyond Play Store with care.
Before you start sideloading, you have to modify the system settings on your Android. There are two different methods depending on your Android version.
Android 8.0 and Newer
If your device is loaded with Android 8.0 and up, you should:
- Go to the ‘Settings’ in your app menu.
- Find the ‘Apps & Notifications’ menu.
- Tap ‘Advanced’.
- Go to ‘Special app Access’.
- Tap ‘Install unknown apps’ and find your internet browser.
- Tap the browser.
- Check ‘Allow from this source’.
This will enable your browser to get apps from sources other than Google Play.
Android 7.0 and Older
With older versions of Android, the system doesn’t split the sources. Instead, you have to trigger an option for downloading files from all available sources.
To do it, follow these steps:
- Go to ‘Settings’ from the menu.
- Tap ‘Security’.
- In the Security menu. find ‘Device Administration’.
- Check ‘Unknown Sources’.
Enabling this option can put your device at risk since it allows unknown sources to automatically store files on your device. If your device isn’t protected enough, it may get infected.
Where to Sideload an APK file
An Android Package Kit (APK) is an executable file that installs an Android app. The Play Store downloads and installs them automatically. For sideloading, you will have to find a suitable repository.
- APK Mirror is a reliable website where you can find legal APKs. Most of them are older versions of current Play Store apps. They are completely legal to download and usually risk-free.
- Aptoide is a gigantic APK database where you can find stuff that doesn’t exist on the Play Store, such as Pokémon GO. This place is decentralized and presents potential security risks so you should always double-check what you’re downloading before you open the file.
- If you have an Amazon account, you can get apps from Amazon’s official Appstore. Here you will find countless paid and free apps. You can also get some premium apps for free with certain Amazon giveaways and promotions.
- GetJar has over a million APKs that you can download. There are a lot of filters and categories to choose from. It also has apps for iOS, Windows Mobile, and Blueberry. On top of that, all the apps are completely free.
Where to Find Sideloaded APK files
Most APK downloaders like Aptoide or GetJar will automatically install the app once you download them. Occasionally, the APK will download to your browser’s download folder.
You can reach your default download folder with these steps:
- Tap on the ‘My Files’ app in the app menu.
- Find the ‘Documents’ folder.
- Enter the ‘Downloads’ folder.
Here you will find all of your latest downloads. Find the APK file and tap it. The installation should start.
How Safe Are APK Files?
APK files are generally safe if you download them from reliable sources. For example, APK mirror contains secure APK files, but they are older versions of Play Store apps.
On the other hand, Aptoide is an open-source downloader that isn’t screened or controlled. So it’s possible for malicious files to slip through there.
You can always scan the file with an antivirus app on your device before you open it. However, the reliability of an antivirus scan is never 100%.
That’s why Android doesn’t allow you to download files from unknown sources by default. Google Play Store is still the most reliable way to get your apps. But you may not have a choice if you’re looking for an app that isn’t available on Play Store.
You know? Some may compare it to a one-night stand. There are always risks and rewards that you’ll have to weigh and decide.