Google and Apple both strictly control the apps you can install on your iPhones and Androids. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, we’re teaching you how to get around the “walled garden” and install unauthorized applications on your Android device.
Why Are Apps Unauthorized?
Many unauthorized apps were once available on the Google Play Store, only to be banned for violating Google’s Terms of Service in some way or another. Here are a few of the reasons why apps are unauthorized:
-They violate one of Google’s Terms of Service, like restrictions on pornographic apps, weapons apps, etc.
-They perform illegal function on users’ Android devices
-The app performs malicious functions, like hacking or phishing operations
-The app is currently in beta form and has only been released as an unofficial beta
-The developer has previously had trouble getting apps posted onto the Play Store for any number of reasons, and releases apps outside the Play Store
Ultimately, there are a number of reasons why apps can be unauthorized on the Google Play Store.
When an app is unauthorized, the only way to install that app onto your device is to “sideload” it. Sideloading is the process of installing an app outside of Android’s traditional app installation procedures.
Is It Risky?
There’s a reason Google and Apple don’t let you install unauthorized apps by default: it’s an easy way to expose your device to outside threats. Google automatically scans every app on the Play Store. It can’t do the same for apps listed outside of the Google Play Store.
So of course it’s risky to sideload apps.
But you can also download malware from the Play Store. Whether you’re sideloading apps or installing them from the Play Store, your same precautions need to be in place.
Most importantly, never try to download APKs for paid apps outside of the Google Play Store. Malware authors know you’re looking for free versions of paid apps, and they purposely lure you in with promises of a free APK file. Avoid free premium Android apps at all costs (unless you want a nasty virus).
If you verify the app developer’s identity, check the authenticity of the app, read verified third party reviews, and perform all of the other safety checks, then there’s no reason why sideloading apps has to be inherently dangerous.
What that in mind, let’s take a look at how you sideload apps on Android.
How to Sideload Apps on Android
Sideloading apps on Android is way easier than doing the same on iOS. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1) Go to Settings > Security and then check the box beside Unknown sources (it should say “on” and not “off”)
Step 2) Download an APK, or Android Application Package. You can find APKs online from developers’ own websites or from less trustworthy sites online. You can download APKs directly onto your device from the internet, or you can transfer it to your Android via USB drive, a third party file manager app, etc.
Step 3) Download a file manager app, if you don’t already have one. Any file manager will do.
Step 4) Open your file manager app and navigate to your APK. You’ll probably see some warning messages about the hazards of downloading and installing APK files. Proceed through to opening the APK file, and the installation process will complete.
In most cases, after installing, the app will automatically update itself as well, although not all apps do this.
That’s it! That’s how easy it is to install unauthorized apps on your Android device outside of the Google Play Store.