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How to Sideload Android Apps
#1

You've found that hot new app on the Android
Market, and you can't wait to click the Install
button. But you're getting the message that the app
isn't compatible with your device. Being the good
Maximum user that you are, you'd rather find out
for yourself. Those messages are sometimes
wrong, after all. Or perhaps you want to take
advantage of the daily giveaways in the Amazon
Appstore. Or, if you're one of the millions of Kindle
Fire owners, you may want more choices than the
limited Amazon Appstore provides. All of the above
comprise sufficient reason to start sideloading apps
to your Android device.
Step 1: Get Some Apps to Sideload
The reason you sideload apps in the first place is
because you're sourcing them from a place other
than the sanctioned method, which is usually the
Android Market or some device-specific boutique
app store. Android Apps come in the form of .apk
files. You can procure such files from a prior device
backup, straight from a developer's website, and of
course from… the Internet (you know the deal).
Next, transfer those .apk files from your PC to your
Android however you like: on a microSD card
(image above), through a cloud service such as
Dropbox, via a USB transfer, etc. Just remember
what directory those files end up in, so you don't
have to root through too many folders looking for
them later.
Step 2: Tweak Applications Settings
The default setting in Android is to not allow the
installation of non-Market applications. Fie on that!
Go to your Android device's Settings, and under
Applications, check the "Unknown sources" box
(image below), allowing you, in effect, to sideload.
Some unfortunate souls may have tyrannical
devices that have modded the Android OS to not
allow sideloading at all, in which case they'll have to
look into rooting the device or installing custom
Android ROMs. But that's a whole other How To.
Step 3: Install the Apps Through a File Manager
To install your .apk apps, you essentially launch the
files through a file manager app. Many Android
devices come with a file manager preloaded. For
the rest, there are tons of file managers out there
and a good handful of high-quality free ones. If you
have access to the Android Market, like most
Android users, we like Metago's Astro File Manager
or Rhythm Software's File Manager HD for
Honeycomb tablets. For folks locked into the
Amazon Appstore (users of the Grid10, Kindle Fire,
etc.), we prefer ES File Explorer.
Because you heeded our warning to remember
what folder your .apk’s are in, you just need to
launch your file manager and find them (image
above). If they're on a microSD card, you'll probably
need to hit the file manager's Up button a couple of
times to find the "Removable" directory. Touching
an .apk icon will open the Package Installer, where
you can touch the Install button to finish the deed
(image below). Now that app, whether it will function
properly or not, is ready to launch. Enjoy the sweet
freedom of the gray market!


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