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How to sideload any application on Android TV
- Tips & Tutorials
This story was originally published 2020/06/28
8:32am PDT on Jun 28, 2020 and last updated 2020/09/05
9:39am PDT on Sep 5, 2020 .
If you want to install something like a browser or an app not available on the Play Store for your Android TV-powered smart TV, set top box, or dongle, it’s not immediately intuitive how you’d go about it. While more complicated methods like using ADB (which we’ll explain as well) exist, there are simple wireless file sharing tools we strongly prefer that make the processing of APK sideloading super simple.
Whatever your reason for doing it may be, we’ll walk you through the easiest way to sideload APK files onto any Android TV device.
Install APKs from an Android phone or tablet
There are a few different methods of transferring APK files to Android TV, like installing a cloud file manager on your TV, or going through the difficult process of setting up ADB on a computer. The easiest method is to use ‘Send files to TV,’ an application that sends files to an Android TV device (or anything else with Android) over your local network.
First, you’ll need to install the Send files to TV app from the Play Store on your phone and TV. To install it on your TV, open the Play Store and search for the name, or click the above link on a desktop computer and set your TV as the installation target.
Once the app is done installing on both devices, open the Send files to TV app on your TV, then select the ‘Receive’ option to start the receiver. Now, open the app on your phone, and press Send. This will open a file browser — you’ll need to find the APK file and select it.
Once the file transfer is done, you should be able to select the file on your TV, then press the ‘Open’ option. If all goes well, you should get a prompt to install the application.
However, the transfer app seems to have an issue where the Open button doesn’t always work. If that’s the case, you’ll need to install a separate file manager application on your TV, like File Commander. In File Commander, select ‘Internal storage’ on the main screen, then the Download folder. Any files you transferred using Send files to TV will appear here — just press one to open.
If you have a recent version of Android TV, you may get a message that installations from unknown sources are not allowed. If so, select the ‘Settings’ button, which will open a popup on the side with a list of allowed apps.
You just need to switch the app attempting to install the APK (either the file manager or Send files to TV) to the ‘on’ position, and press back on your remote to return to the installation. You only have to do this once, at least.
Install APKs from your PC with ADB
Like all Android devices, you can use the Android Debug Bridge (or ADB, for short) to transfer APKs to Android TV. ADB normally works over a wired USB connection, but we’ll use Wi-Fi for this process.
The first step is to install ADB on your computer. It’s officially available as part of the Android Studio SDK, but that can be daunting to set up if you’re not a programmer, so it’s best to use a third-party installation tool. If you’re on Windows, 15 Seconds ADB Installer is a popular option that has always worked well for me. If you’re using macOS, Linux, or Chrome OS, give Nexus Tools a shot (full disclosure: I made it).
After you install ADB, try typing the command “adb –help” (without the quotes) in your Terminal/Command Line application and press Enter. You should see something like the below screenshot. If you get an error or other message, try closing and re-opening the Terminal/CMD window and try again.
Now it’s time to connect to your TV. Press the Settings gear at the top of the Android TV home screen, then go to Device Preferences > About. Scroll down to ‘Build,’ then click Build until you see the message “You are a developer.”
Once that’s done, you have to find the IP address of your TV. Go back to the main Settings page, press ‘Network & Internet,’ and select the active connection. The IP address should be one of the first details listed.
Now it’s time to connect ADB on your PC to your Fire TV. Go back to your PC and run “adb connect” (without the quotes), followed by the IP address of your Android TV. This will cause a prompt to appear on your TV that you will have to accept. Afterward, you should see a message that ADB successfully connected — you can also run “adb devices” to verify.
Finally, you can now install whatever APK files you want. In the Terminal/Command Line, type in “adb install” (without quotes), then a space, then drag the file you downloaded into the app window. It should paste the full path to the file. Then press Enter and watch the magic.
If you got a “success” message, the app should now be visible on your TV. If you want to sideload more APKs in the future, all you have to do is run the ADB connect command again on your PC, then run the install command for each APK.
One of the best features of Android TV is that you have access to the Play Store which means you can run your favorite Android apps on the TV. However, there are several Android apps that are not available on the Play Store. While we can transfer the APK file to the TV, the installation for some apps remains unsuccessful due to various compatibility issues. So if you are looking for a way to run incompatible Android apps on Android TV then you have come to the right place. Here, we have mentioned a number of helpful steps to install and run Android apps on Android TV.
Run Incompatible Android Apps on Android TV in 2021
I would recommend you to go through the guide from the first step as some instructions are interlinked. From basic to advanced steps, we have covered everything in this article. On that note, let’s find out how to run incompatible Android apps on Android TV.
1. If you are trying to sideload an APK already stored on your Android TV then you should first enable the option to install unknown apps from third-party sources. To do so, open Settings -> Device Preferences -> Security & Restrictions -> Unknown Sources. Here, enable the toggle for “Solid Explorer” or any other file manager that you are using.
2. Now you can transfer APK files to Android TV and sideload apps that are not available on the Play Store due to incompatibility issues.
3. You can also override Android TV’s basic compatibility check and force install Android apps on Android TV through wireless ADB. Just set up ADB on your computer and open Settings -> Network and Internet -> Your WiFi Network on your Android TV. Here, note down the IP address.
4. After that, run adb connect ipaddress to connect to your Android TV wirelessly. Make sure to replace ipaddress with the actual IP address that you have above. Next, hit enter and your Android TV will be connected to your computer through wireless ADB.
5. Now, download the APK on your computer and move it to the ADB folder. In my case, I am installing Firefox on my Android TV. Make sure to rename the APK file to something shorter. Finally, run adb install firefox.apk on the terminal and within a few seconds, the app will be installed on your Android TV.
6. In case, the installed app does not show up in your TV’s app drawer then you can find it under Settings -> Apps -> See all apps. Here, look for the app and open it. Next, click on “Open”.
7. You can also install Sideload Launcher (Free) from the Play Store to find all the sideloaded apps on your Android TV at one place.
8. Finally, if an app gets installed but does not show up in the app drawer or under the Settings page then you can invoke the specific activity of the app to open it. For this, you have to install Activity Launcher which is not available on Android TV’s Play Store. You can download the APK file from APKMirror and follow the above steps to sideload it on your TV.
9. Once installed, open Activity Launcher and look for the incompatible app that you want to run on your Android TV. Open the app and click on every activity to check if the app is running fine. One of the activities will surely launch the app on your TV.
10. In case, Activity Launcher is not working then you can force start the app through the ADB terminal on your computer. Just note down the activity name of the app and the package name from the Activity Launcher app. After that, run the command in this fashion: adb shell am start -n packagename/activityname .
For example, this is what the ADB command looks like to invoke Google TV on Android TV.
11. If all the above steps fail then you can try looking for the app on some Play Store alternatives. For example, you can sideload Aptoide TV (Free) on your Android TV and install incompatible apps from there.
Run All Sorts of Android Apps on Android TV
So that is how you can install and run incompatible Android apps that are not available on the Play Store. While some apps may have orientation issues, but you can definitely use the app without any issues. I have been using VPNs and some niche apps on Android TV which are otherwise not compatible with the Play Store requirement.
So go ahead and try out all the above steps and see if you are able to run your favorite Android apps on Android TV. Anyway, that is all from us. If you found the article helpful then do comment down below and let us know.
Updated on April 26, 2020 by Swayam Prakash
We all android enthusiasts know that Google Play Store has thousands of applications. However, those of you who use Android TV, do not get a lot of apps in its respective app store. So, if we wish to install any app for regular Android devices on Android TV, we need to manually sideload the APK. In this guide, I will tell you how to sideload apps on Android TV.
All you need is your TV which has Android OS support and a PC or your smartphone. Then grab the choice of APK. Next, you have to download a file installer and enable cloud integration. Upload the APK to the cloud and then access it on your Android TV. YOu can then sideload apps of your choice. You can do it for more almost all apps. Though it sounds a bit technical, it’s quite easier to perform. Check out the detailed steps below.
Table of Contents
How to Sideload Apps on Android TV?
We will check it step by step.
Start by downloading the APK for the app you plan to install on your Android-powered TV. To download, the best approach is to go to the official website of the application. There check for the latest APK build available for the Android TV.
Also, you can grab the APK from non-official websites that host them. Though there are great third-party platforms to download APK, you may also download any wrong build or buggy build. So, be careful about that. Always check for the availability of the latest build.
Getting the File Commander
- Open the Play Store on your Android TV.
- Search for the File Commander app.
- Download and install it.
- Now open the app
- On the starting screen select Cloud
- The idea is to add a cloud storage account. I suggest using your Google Drive account.
- You need to log into your Drive though
Enable Permission to Install the App from Unknown Sources
If you have downloaded your APK from third-party or unofficial sources, then you need to allow your device to permit the installation of such apps. These kinds of APK builds are usually termed as untrusted. So, it’s up to the user to decide what app to allow for installation.
Posted on June 22, 2019 by Mona Leave a Comment
Google Play Store has millions of apps. However, there may still be some apps that you want to sideload. Sideloading apps on Android TV can be done in various ways. We will go through the steps below.
Getting Your TV Ready for Installation
Enabling installation from unknown sources
Before you start, you need to disable security by allowing apps installation from unknown sources. Android TV protects you by ensuring that any apps from “unknown sources” aren’t installed. They prevent it so you stay “safe.” But if you know what you are doing, then there shouldn’t be an issue.
To disable the security option, you need to go to the “Settings” menu. The settings option should be on the bottom row of the Android TV menu. Click on the “cog” icon, and then scroll down to “Security and Restrictions.” Once you open it up, you will get the “unknown sources” option. Turn it off, and you are good to go!
Download APK to Computer or Cloud Storage
With security disabled, you now need to access the app’s APK file. Make sure you download it from a secure source(we recommend APKMirror) and scan it for potential threats using an antivirus. Once done, you can save it to your computer or cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Method 1: Sideloading from USB
Sideloading from USB is one of the easiest methods out there.
- Copy the APK file to your USB flash drive. Plug it into Android TV using the USB slot.
- Install ES File Explorer(if you do not have it on your TV).
- Launch ES File Explorer and open your USB.
- Click on the APK file you want to install.
Note: Many Android TV companies also have a file browser pre-installed. You can use it to locate the APK on your pen drive, and then do not need ES File Explorer.
Method 2: Sideloading from Cloud
Another secure method of sideloading apps on Android TV is to use the Cloud.
- Save the APK file to your favorite cloud storage.
- Open ES Explorer and scroll down to “Network” section.
- From there, click on “Network.”
- After selecting, you will see a “New” button on the top right section.
- It will ask you to login into your Cloud. Once done, the cloud storage should show up on the ES Explorer.
- Find the APK file you want to install. It will start downloading the file and will show an installation prompt when completed.
- Click on “Install” to complete the process.
The app should be successfully installed!
Running your Sideloaded Apps
The last step is to run the apps. By default, Android hides the unknown apps, and that’s why they are not accessible from the launcher. To access them, you need to go to Settings> Apps. From there, choose the app you sideloaded. You can also install “Sideload Launcher” — a handy app that lets you launch your sideloaded apps directly from the launcher.
Pros & Cons of Modding Android
Android is probably the most versatile OS out there, both for mobile devices and PCs. While you can do pretty much everything with Android, there is a learning curve involved and some mods might cause your system to crash.
Before you mod your Android, make sure you follow the instructions to the letter, or that you know exactly what you are doing.
– Wide range of options
– Relatively easy
– Lots of instructions online
– Slight learning curve
– Sometimes involves coding
– Coding is hard
If you want to learn more about Android programming you can pick out The Big Nerd Ranch Guide by Bill Phillips that explains all of the ways that you can go about making applications or modding the existing ones.
Sideload Apps On Android TV
Best and Easiest Way To Sideload Apps On Android TV devices likes the Nvidia Shield TV, Xiaomi Mi Box S, Mecool KM9 Pro, Sony TV and any Android TV. Now you can sideload apks in a very simple and fast way! Lately the trend by Google is to avoid sideloading apps, or at least in an easy way on Android TV devices. But this is an option that is very useful since not all the applications are available on the Android TV Google Play Store. That makes sideloading apps a must for any Android TV user.
Easiest Way To Sideload Apps With Google Drive
If you struggle to sideload apps on Android TV, then look no further. You can now easily download Android apps on your computer or smartphone and then launch the app on your Android TV device. This is achieved by using the Gdrive application, Google Drive, on any device. Google Drive works on any operating system: Android, Windows, iOS, MacOS and more. Then on your Android TV device you can easily access that cloud space by using a File Manager. My preferred and free that has this ability is X-plore File Manager that can be found on the Android TV Google Play Store. Also ES Explorer works great too but lately I cannot find on Google Play for Android TV devices.
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Android TV is an excellent way to expand your streaming media capabilities. Android TV boasts a slick, easy-to-use interface and support for a variety of streaming media services. In addition, the platform has been adopted by a variety of devices, from top of the range to budget set-top boxes. This means that no matter how many zeros you have in your bank account, you can find an Android TV device that’s right for you.
While Android TV supports a large number of apps including the likes of Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and even games, not every app is available on the platform. Fortunately, there is a way to get virtually any app up and running on your Android TV device. To do so, we’ll be utilizing a method commonly known as “sideloading,” which is a way of manually installing an app on your Android device.
Allow Installation of Apps from Unknown Sources
First, you’re going to need to lower your Android TV’s defenses by allowing the installation of apps from “unknown sources.” Normally, your Android device prevents you from installing apps that come from outside the Google Play Store as a security feature. We’ll be getting all of our apps from a trusted source, APK Mirror, so you don’t have to worry about any malware or malicious files sneaking onto your device.
To allow installation of apps from unknown sources, you’ll have to jump into the Settings menu. To find it, use your remote to scroll down to the bottom row of your Android TV menu. Here you’ll see a cog icon; go ahead and select it. Next, scroll down and select “Security & Restrictions.” Finally, in the menu that appears, toggle “Unknown sources” to on. A dialog box will pop up warning you about the potential dangers of installing apps from unknown sources. Just dismiss it and you’re ready to go.
Download the APK to Your Computer and Upload It to Google Drive/Dropbox
For the next step, you’ll need to hop on a computer. Point your browser to APK Mirror. This site acts as a repository for free Android apps that appear on Google Play. APK Mirror is reputable and safe. Use the search bar to find the app that you want to install on your Android TV. For example, I searched for Private Internet Access VPN. Once you find what you’re looking for, download the app to your computer.
When you download the app, the file will appear on your computer with the extension APK, which stands for Android Package. Take the file and upload it to a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Download & Install ES File Explorer
Once you’ve uploaded the APK, you can jump back to your Android TV device. You’ll need to grab the APK you uploaded and download it to your Android TV box in order to install it. Unfortunately, at this point in time neither Dropbox nor Google Drive are supported by Android TV. So to get your APK, you’re going to need ES File Explorer, which does work with Android TV. Navigate to the Google Play Store, search for “ES File Explorer” and install it.
Install the App on Your Android TV Device
Next, launch ES File Explorer. In the menu on the left, select “Network -> Cloud.” On the right side of the screen hit the button labeled “New.” Select the cloud storage provider you uploaded the APK to in the previous step. Once you input your credentials, simply find the APK file, and click on it to initiate the download to your Android TV device. Once the download has completed, a dialog box will pop up. From here, select “Install” to install the app to your Android TV device.
How to Launch Sideloaded Apps
It was a somewhat convoluted process, but we got there in the end. Now, where is the sideloaded app? Unfortunately, sideloaded apps do not appear in the Android TV launcher due to the fact that (technically) they’re unsupported. Fortunately, there are two ways to launch your sideloaded apps.
Your first option is to navigate to “Settings” and select “Apps.” This will bring up a master list of all the apps installed on your Android TV device. Simply find the sideloaded app, click on it and select “Open.” If that sounds like a hassle, you can download an app called Sideload Launcher. Running this app on your Android TV will list all of the apps on your device, including ones you’ve sideloaded.
Are you planning on sideloading any apps on your Android TV device? If so, which ones? Let us know in the comments!
With Smart TVs, you are in a good position to download and install apps of your choice since they are just one click away. However, there arises a need that requires you to sideload apps on your smart TV. This allows you to unveil the extended functionalities of the apps that may have a limited selection in the Android TV platform.
Apps on Smart TV
Now the question here becomes, what is sideloading? Well, the installation of apps on your smart TV is just straightforward by searching for the desired app in the Play Store and installing it just by a single click. This is the typical way of downloading apps on your smart TV. On the other hand, sideloading means that you will not undergo the same process but installing the apps away from the Play Store interface.
Therefore, we are providing you with a simple procedure on how to sideload apps on your smart TV, more specifically, the Hisense smart TV. Be sure to navigate through the page till the end and the answer to your question will be handsomely answered.
Note: If you are going to sideload an app, you need to be sure that you trust the source that you are getting the file from. Be sure to get the apps only from known and trusted sources.
Requirements for Sideload apps on Hisense Smart TV
Well, before you get started, you need to consider that the requirements are all in place. This will make the installation process smooth and easy, thus saving on your time and efforts. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the requirements are well taken care of before anything else.
First of all, you will need to allow the installation from unknown sources by enabling the Unknown Sources. This will allow you to download apps from unknown sources by the system hence allowing the installation. To achieve this, you will need to follow the steps given below:
- Turn on your Hisense Smart TV.
- On the home screen, navigate to the Settings menu.
- Select the Personal tab and look for the option for Security.
- Now, you will be able to see the setting for Unknown Sources. Toggle the switch next to it to enable it.
- Once this is enabled, you will now be free to download apps from other sources apart from the Play Store.
Allowing installation from unknown sources
Besides enabling installation from unknown sources, you will need to have additional applications to make the sideload process easier. This involves the sideload launcher which allows you to access your apps once you have downloaded them. Also, you will need a file manager which will make it easier to browse the files on your Hisense TV.
These applications are available in the Google Play store. Therefore, you will need to find them in the Play Store. To download sideload Launcher, be sure to follow the steps given below.
- Go to Google Play Store.
- In the search bar, type Sideload Launcher and hit enter.
- Once you see it, click on Install.
Installation of Sideload Launcher app
On the other hand, you can easily download and install the File Manager app from the Play Store by following the procedure as given above for the Sideload Launcher app. Once all these requirements are in place, you are now ready to begin the sideload process with ease.
There are two ways in which you can sideload apps on your smart TV. This involves installing apps from a browser as well as using a flash drive. We are going to give you a step by step guide on how to use the methods above.
Sideload Apps from your Web Browser
Where can you use your web browser? The answer is very simple, you can access your web browser through your smartphone, laptop or computer. This is an easy and fast way of installing apps since all you have to do is navigate to the web browser and look for the app. To do so, you will have to follow the steps given below:
- Open the web browser of your choice using your computer or laptop.
- Next, you will need to navigate on the Google Play Store and search for the app that you want to be installed.
- Click on Install if you do not have the app in your current device.
- You will then need to sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have one you can go ahead and create one, it is easy and won’t take much of your time.
- After logging in, you will see a window with a drop-down menu. Click on the drop-down and select your Smart TV from the list of devices then click on Install.
- A notification will appear confirming to you that the app has been installed on your Smart TV. Tap on OK.
- Next, you can now power on your TV and you will find the app already installed in it. Make sure that your TV is connected to the internet and you can now proceed to use the sideloaded app.
If the above-described method won’t work, don’t worry, you can try the next method as described below.
Sideload Apps using a Flash Drive
This process involves getting the sideload app from a trusted source using your computer’s web browser and then copying the file to a flash drive and transferring it to your Hisense Smart TV. You need to make sure that your TV has a USB port where you can insert the Flash Drive and proceed with the installation process. Therefore, to achieve this, you will need to follow the steps as outlined below:
Downloading the APK file content
- Go to the web browser in your computer or Laptop.
- From the trusted sources, find the .apk file for the app that you want to install into your Hisense TV and then download it.
- Insert the Flash Drive into your laptop or computer and copy the file into it.
- After copying the file, remove the flash drive from the computer and plug it into the TV.
- You can now open and view the contents of the flash in your Smart TV, thanks to the file manager app you already downloaded.
- After finding the .apk file, select it and click on Install.
- Once the installation process is complete, using the Sideload Launcher app, you can now open the app that you have just installed in your smart Hisense TV.
After Google TV was shut down a few years ago, it as soon replaced by something more advanced; Android TV. Since its introduction, Android TV has been doing quite well. Google TV lacked apps, but with access to Google Play Store, Android TV has abundance. It is easy to operate. The interface is slick and navigation is easy as it can get. Moreover, Android TV supports tons of media streaming services so there is always one for you. As the platform is adopted by numerous manufacturers, no matter what your price range is, there is always an Android TV that you can buy without burning a hole in your pocket. As I mentioned earlier, the selection of apps is great on Android TV, but factors like region restriction may prevent you from using certain apps. Fortunately, there is a way you can bypass such restriction. It is called sideloading. Like on any Android smart device, you can sideload apps on Android TV too, and the process is quite similar. Here’s how to Sideload apps on Android TV.
Sideload apps on Android TV
The first step will sound familiar if you have been sideloading apps on your Android smartphone. You will first need to force Android TV to accept the app you’re trying to install. That means you need to enable Unknown Sources. This will let you install apps that are not downloaded from Google Play Store. Unknown sources is disabled by default for a reason. It is to prevent malicious files from getting into your device. So make sure the app you are about to sideload is from a trusted source. To enable Unknown Sources, go to Settings (gear icon on the bottom of the menu) > Security & Restrictions > enable Unknown Sources. When you see a warning, dismiss it.
Now you will need to use your computer or Android smartphone to download the app you want to install. If you have a trusted site, you can download it from there. But if you do not, APK Mirror is the to go. The site is safe and has all the free apps that are on the Google Play Store. Search for the app you want and download. Now, you will need to upload it to cloud storage like Google Drive. Then, go back to your TV and download the APK from the cloud storage and install it. If your TV does not support cloud storage, you can use ES File Explorer, connect it to your drive and download it from there.
After the apps are sideloaded, you will need an app to use them. There’s an app called Sideload Launcher that lets to see and use the app you’ve sideloaded.
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How to sideload any application on Sony smart TVs
- Tips & Tutorials
Sony uses Android TV across all its smart TVs, which means you get a full-fledged operating system without extra boxes or streaming devices. Android TV also gives you access to the Google Play Store, a library of thousands of TV-optimized games and applications. However, sometimes the app you want might not be available through the Play Store — maybe Google hasn’t approved it yet, or you want to install the latest updates before everyone else. That’s where sideloading comes in.
Android TV supports a mechanism called ‘sideloading,’ where you can install any valid APK file (no matter where it came from). You can even install most applications designed for Android smartphones and tablets — though whether or not they will be usable is another question entirely.
The Play Store on Android TV
Every Bravia-branded Sony smart TV sold since 2015 runs Android TV — before that, Sony used the short-lived Google TV platform and XrossMediaBar. That means even if your television is a few years old, sideloading APK files should still be possible. We have all the instructions you’ll need for the process at the link below.