How to sideload apps on android

Chris Hoffman
How to sideload apps on androidChris Hoffman
Editor-in-Chief

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to sideload apps on android

Windows 10 marks a big shift in philosophy from Windows 8. In Windows 10, you’re free to sideload your own universal apps from outside the Windows store — just as you can sideload apps on an Android phone or tablet.

With Windows 8, Microsoft copied Apple’s iPad and iPhone model, forcing you to get your apps from Microsoft’s curated store. Windows 10 shifts back to a more PC-like, Android model — you can get apps from anywhere you like.

How to Sideload Apps on Windows 10 (Including Windows 10 Phones)

This option isn’t even hidden. It’s only a few clicks or taps away, just as on Android. It’s in the new Settings app, which you can open from the Start menu.

This option first appeared on Windows 10 Insider Preview build 10122. If you don’t see it yet, you’re running an older build.

This option is also present in the same place on Windows phones. You can now sideload apps on the phone version of Windows 10 — dubbed Windows Mobile — too.

How to sideload apps on android

You’ll see a warning, just as you see when enabling app sideloading on an Android phone or tablet. Microsoft doesn’t vet apps you install from elsewhere, so this does technically open a risk.

However, it’s the same risk you face when you download traditional Windows desktop programs from the Internet. You’re getting applications from outside the curated, safe app store environment. That’s your choice, and you accept the risks from doing so.

How to sideload apps on android

Yes, Microsoft Allows App Sideloading for Personal Use

If there was any doubt, Microsoft does say this option is intended for average Windows users who just want to sideload apps from outside the Windows Store. Never mind the wording of the Settings application, which insists that “these settings are intended for development use only.”

The official MSDN article on the subject mentions that “You can enable a device for development, or just sideloading.” To clarify, it says that “Sideloading is installing and then running or testing an app that has not been certified by the Windows store.” Microsoft also warns that “If you sideload apps, you should still only install apps from trusted sources.”

In other words, MIcrosoft has designed this option to let any PC user install apps from outside the Windows Store. If Microsoft decides they don’t want to allow emulators, BitTorrent clients, controversial games, or many of the other apps that are blocked on iOS and not allowed in the Google Play Store on Android, you can get those apps from outside the Store. No longer is Microsoft’s new development environment restricted only to software that fits the Windows Store’s policies.

How Microsoft Restricted Sideloading on Windows 8

This is a huge turnaround from Windows 8. In Windows 8, those new apps — named Metro apps at the time, and then Modern apps, Windows 8-style apps, immersive UI apps, and finally Store apps — could only be installed from the Windows Store. If an application didn’t meet the Windows Store’s guidelines, you just couldn’t install it or distribute it to users.

In this way, Microsoft embraced Apple’s closed iPhone and iPad-style app store instead of the more open, PC-style design of Android, which allows you to run any software you like on your own device.

Microsoft did have to open a few holes for sideloading on Windows 8, of course. They allowed developers with an approved developer license to sideload apps for testing, and they also allowed businesses to sideload line-of-business apps on their own computers.

Sure, you could potentially get a developer license and use it just to sideload some apps, but Microsoft warned you that they were watching your use of the license and would revoke it if you used it for another other than developing and testing your own applications:

“Microsoft can detect fraudulent use of a developer license on a registered machine. If Microsoft detects fraudulent use or another violation of the software license terms, we might revoke your developer license.”

How to sideload apps on android

With Windows 10, MIcrosoft has turned away from the completely closed app store model pioneered by Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Whether you’re using Windows 10 on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone, you have the ability to go outside the store and install any apps you like. All it takes it flipping a quick, easy-to-access setting — just like on Android.

Windows is once again an environment you control, where you can run any software you want on your own computer — whether that’s a traditional PC or a Windows smartphone.

  • › How to Sideload Apps onto an iPhone or iPad Without Jailbreaking
  • › What’s New in Windows 10’s Anniversary Update
  • › What Is “Developer Mode” in Windows 10?
  • › 10 Overlooked New Features in Windows 10
  • › How to Install .Appx or .AppxBundle Software on Windows 10
  • › One Year Later: Did Microsoft Listen to Windows 10 Complaints?
  • › Stop Closing Apps on Your iPhone
  • › 11 Things to Check When Buying a Used iPhone

How to sideload apps on android Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »

There are a growing number of ways to quickly and easily sideload Android apps on Windows 11. Shortly after writing about WSATools, the first Android app sideloader to hit the Microsoft Store, I became aware of a few more apps that do the same thing just as well.

WSA-pacman is described as a package manager and installer that lets you install Android APKs on the Windows Subsystem for Android, while APK-Installer is another Android app installer for Windows. Both are open source applications available for download from GitHub.

How to sideload apps on androidWSA-pacman

The Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) is still in preview and only available to members of the Windows Insider program running beta or dev channel builds of Windows 11. While Microsoft makes it easy to install applications by bundling the Amazon Appstore with WSA, only around 50 Android apps are available so far, and even when that number grows, Microsoft and Amazon’s stores likely won’t have all Android apps – the Amazon Appstore has just around half a million apps while the Google Play Store available on most Android phones and tablets has millions.

That’s where sideloading comes in. Android makes it relatively easy to install apps that aren’t downloaded from an app store, and shortly after started a public preview of Android app support for Windows Insiders, I wrote about how you could use command line tools to sideload Android apps that aren’t available from the Amazon Appstore. But the original method involves running command line tools.

Since then, a number of developers have come up with easier solutions that let you do everything with a few mouse clicks thanks to graphical user interfaces.

WSATools may be one of the simplest methods for many users since you can download and install it directly from the Microsoft Store.

But I’ve actually had more luck getting apps to install properly when using WSA-pacman and APK installer. They just take a little more work to set up.

WSA-pacman

WSA-pacman is a lightweight tool that you can download and unzip to a directory on your PC. Then just double-click on the WSA-pacman file to run the app.

How to sideload apps on android

It will automatically connect to the Windows Subsystem for Android and set up the Android Debug Bridge for you. Click the Manage Applications or Manage Settings buttons to open the WSA screens for those functions.

In order to install an Android app using WSA-pacman, just download an APK from a trusted source, right-click on the file, and choose “open with.”

Since WSA-pacman doesn’t have an installer that hooks into Windows, you’ll need to first select the “Choose another app” option, then choose “More apps” on the following screen, and then finally scroll down to “Look for another app on this PC” to open a file browser that will you navigate to the folder where the executable is located.

Check the box to always open with this app, though, and you should only have to do this once. After that, you can just double-click on any APK file to open it with the WSA-pacman installer.

Once you do that, you’ll be greeted with a window that provides a little information about which permission the app requires and an “install” button.

How to sideload apps on android

Click install to start the process, and in a moment you should see a new screen asking if you’d like to open the app. I found that clicking “open” doesn’t always work, but you should now be able to find the installed app from the Windows Start Menu.

APK-Installer

This is another open source app that, once installed, allows you to double-click on any Android APK to open an installer window.

Like WSA-pacman, the installer will show which permissions an Android app requires in order to run, although it’s listed under “Capabilities” and includes language that’s a little more unwieldy.

Instead of “Files and Media” or “Camera,” for example, the Firefox Nightly APK shows “android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” and “android.permission.CAMERA.”

But for the most part this utility gets the job done the same way, and even has a box that you can check to optionally automatically launch the Android app once it’s installed. This seems to work much better than the open button in WSA-pacman, at least as of the time this article was published. Both apps are under active development, so things could change in the future.

One frustrating thing about WSA-installer is that the app itself is actually rather cumbersome to install.

The good news is that once it’s done, you don’t need to jump through a lot of hoops to associate APK files with WSA-installer, it will show up in the list of installed Windows applications. The bad news is that the recommended installation process involves:

  • Downloading an unzipping the latest installer package (a 250MB .rar file).
  • Right-click the Install.ps1 script and choose “Open with Powershell.”
  • Follow the instructions, which involve administrative privileges and adding a certificate for the app.
  • The first time you run APK Installer, you may also be prompted to download adb (Android Debug Bridge), even if you already have it on your computer.

But once you’ve gone through those steps, APK Installer, just like WSA-pacman, makes installing downloaded Android apps on supported Windows 11 devices as easy as installing any native Windows app.

Keep in mind that not all Android apps will necessarily work properly if they’re sideloaded. For example, apps that require Google Play services won’t function properly unless you jump through some extra hoops to install the Google Play Store and Google Services Framework, along with other Google apps and services.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing’s primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the “Shop” button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we’ll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you’re using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign

Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Yes, it’s possible to sideload Android apps on Windows 11, and in this guide, you will learn how.

On Windows 11, it is possible to sideload virtually any Android app on your computer, and in this guide, you will learn how. The ability to install and run Android apps is available for testers with devices enrolled in the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program using the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) and the Amazon Appstore. However, it’s also possible to sideload Android apk apps (such as Gmail, Twitter, and virtually any app) using a specific third-party tool known as ADB (Android Debug Bridge) Installer.

The process to run Android apps on Windows 11 requires the WSA platform already installed on the computer. If you don’t have it already installed, follow these instructions first, and then continue with the steps below.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to sideload Android apps outside the Amazon Appstore on Windows 11. (See also this video tutorial in the Pureinfotech YouTube channel explaining how to complete this task.)

How to sideload Android apps on Windows 11

To sideload Android apps on Windows 11 through the WSA platform, use these steps:

Under the “ADB and fastboot” section, click the Download button for the Windows 11 platform.

Save the zip file on the computer.

Double-click the platform-tools zip folder.

Click the Extract all button from the command bar.

Select the location to extract the files that allow sideloading of Android apps.

Click the Extract button.

Open Start.

Search for Windows Subsystem for Android and click the top result to open the app settings.

Turn on the Developer mode toggle switch.

Click the Manage developer settings option to start WSA on Windows 11 (if applicable).

Click the Refresh button in the “IP address” setting.

Click the Copy button to copy the IP address of the Windows Subsystem for Android virtual machine to the clipboard.

Open Start.

Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

Type the following command to navigate to the platform-tools folder and press Enter:

In the command, make sure to update the path with the location where you extracted the files.

Type the following command to connect to the Windows Subsystem for Android app and press Enter:

In the command, change the IP address corresponding to your WSA instance.

Type the following command to sideload the Android apk app on Windows 11 and press Enter:

In the command, specify the name of the apk package you downloaded from another source and want to install on Windows 11. Also, the .apk file should be stored in the platform-tools folder to work.

Once you complete the steps, the Android app will install on Windows 11, and it’ll be available from the Start menu like any other app.

If you want to uninstall the app, right-click the app from the Start menu, and select the Uninstall button.

Install Windows Subsystem for Android and Amazon Appstore

Before you can install Android apps on Windows 11, you first need to install the Windows Subsystem for Android. However, before installing the platform, the device must have virtualization enabled on the motherboard’s firmware. If you don’t have this feature enabled, check your computer manufacturer to find the specific details to complete this task.

In addition, you have to make sure that the Virtual Machine Platform is enabled on the Windows Features page. You can enable this by opening Start, searching for Turn Windows features on or off, and click the top result. Then check the Virtual Machine Platform option, and click the OK button, and then restart the computer.

The apps in the Amazon Appstore require 8GB of RAM (16GB recommended), a solid-state drive (SSD), and a supported processor (Intel Core i3 8th Generation, AMD Ryzen 3000, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8c, or above), and the Microsoft Store app must be version 22110.1402.6.0 or higher. You can check by clicking the Get updates button in the Library tab of the app (bottom-left corner).

At the time of this writing, WSA is only available for devices based on the United States enrolled in the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program.

You can enroll your device by going to Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program and changing the Insider settings to the Beta Channel. Or clicking the Get started button following the on-screen directions, linking a Microsoft account, and selecting the Beta Channel option.

Once the computer is enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, install the Amazon Appstore from the Microsoft Store, which will also install the Windows Subsystem for Android platform on the computer automatically.

If you plan to use the Amazon Appstore, you will also need to sign in with a United States-based Amazon account. After the computer has all the components, you can proceed to sideload Android apps.

We may earn commission for purchases using our links to help keep offering the free content. Privacy policy info.

All content on this site is provided with no warranties, express or implied. Use any information at your own risk. Always backup of your device and files before making any changes. Privacy policy info.

We rely on your support. Consider contributing with the button below to keep bringing great content.

How to sideload apps on android

Microsoft has released the first preview version of the Windows Subsystem for Android for Windows 11 Insiders, and one of the more interesting features is that you can sideload Android apps.

The Windows Subsystem for Android is a new feature of Windows 11 that allows you to run native Android apps directly from the desktop in a virtualized environment.

These apps will have graphics support, audio, and even network access, allowing you to play multiplayer games online.

To install Android apps, Microsoft has partnered with Amazon to create the Amazon Appstore, which currently contains 50 curated apps.

How to sideload apps on android

Amazon Appstore

However, the Windows Subsystem for Android also allows you to sideload apps using the Android Debug Bridge (adb), theoretically allowing you to install any app you wish.

How to sideload apps in Windows Subsystem for Android

While the apps available in the Amazon Appstore have been curated by Microsoft to make sure they are bug-free and work well with the new Android feature, many other apps will work as well.

The good news is that you can use sites like APKPure or APKMirror to download APKs and sideload them using ADB.

To sideload an Android app in the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), please follow these steps:

  1. Download the Android app you want from APKPure or APKMirror.
  2. Download the Android SDK Platform-Tools for Windows and extract it to your hard drive.
  3. Click on the Start menu and type Android. When the Windows Subsystem for Android search result is displayed, click on it, as shown in the image below.

How to sideload apps on android

Opening the Windows Subsystem for Android

If you are still cannot see an IP address, open the ‘Files‘ option at the top of the Settings to make sure the subsystem is enabled.

How to sideload apps on android

Windows Subsystem for Android Settings

adb install %UserProfile%\downloads\com.innersloth.spacemafia_2021.6.30-967_minAPI23(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk

How to sideload apps on android

Sideloading an APK in WSA

How to sideload apps on android

Sideloaded Among Us now available in the Windows 11 Start Menu

To launch your sideloaded apps, simply click on them from the Start Menu. Like apps installed through the Amazon Appstore, sideloaded apps will have network access and sound.

How to sideload apps on android

Sus screenshot of the Among Us Android app

At this time, not all sideloaded apps will work in WSA yet, so you may experience blank screens when you attempt to launch an app.

Also, while it is possible to install the Google Play Store app on WSA, it will crash if you attempt to run it. Therefore, you will not be able to use any apps that rely on Google services.

There are also many malicious Android apps floating around the Internet, so be careful of what you install as it is not clear what access Android apps have to the rest of the Windows environment.

BleepingComputer has reached out to Microsoft with questions about sideloading apps but has not heard back at this time.

How to sideload apps on android

Android Subsystem for Windows 11 is one of the biggest new features that was originally supposed to come on October 5. It turns out that Microsoft needs more time to test the subsystem and it has started rolling out the feature to Insiders, but a simple trick now lets you sideload Android apps on Windows 11 without joining the beta channel.

Microsoft has confirmed that testers in the United States can download and install Android apps from the Amazon AppStore on Windows 11. However, Android Subsystem for Windows 11 is rolling out in stages, so the Amazon AppStore may not download when the Store app is not updated.

Windows 11’s Android Subsystem is available on eligible devices with Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm processors. Additionally, a minimum of 8GB of RAM is required to sideload Android APKs on Windows 11, while 16GB of RAM is recommended for the best experience on supported devices.

Sideloading APKs on Windows 11

Thanks to WSA, we can sideload Android apps on Windows 11 without Google Play Store. It also lets you install and use mobile apps that you can’t find through app stores like Amazon, Google or Samsung.

What’s great about the Android Subsystem for Windows is that it lets you install nearly all Android apps without making changes to device settings. The process is similar to sideloading apps on your phone, but you should be familiar with Command Prompt.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the simplest ways of sideloading apps on Windows 11 using Command Prompt. The method is easy to follow, so let’s take a look at how it works.

How to sideload apps on Windows 11 using Command Prompt

If you know the basics of Command Prompt and ADB (Android Debug Bridge), sideloading APKs on your Windows 11 PC can be a piece of cake.

Before getting started, make sure you’ve downloaded APKs for apps you want to install on your device. For this article, we chose to install the Brave browser downloaded from APKMirror.

To sideload Android APKs on Windows 11 using WSA without joining the beta channel, follow these steps:

  1. Download Windows Subsystem for Android from here.
  2. Open PowerShell (admin).
  3. Enter Add-AppxPackage (To get the path of WSA, right-click on it and select “Copy as path“, and paste it in the above command).
    How to sideload apps on android
  4. Head to Google’s website and download the Android SDK Platform-Tools.
  5. Extract Android SDK Platform-Tools to a folder of your choice.
  6. Open Windows Search and type “Windows Subsystem for Android“, and click on it.
  7. Inside “Windows Subsystem for Android”, scroll down and turn on “Developer mode”.
  8. Click on “Files” to get the IP address. This step is required when the IP address is unavailable on the settings page.
    How to sideload apps on android
  9. If you still do not see the IP address, click Refresh or reopen the settings.
  10. Once done, open Command Prompt.
  11. Use cd command to navigate to the folder of Android SDK Platform-Tools. For example, if you extracted the tools in the Downloads folder, you would need to type cd c:\users\username\downloads\platform-tools and press enter.
    How to sideload apps on android
  12. In the Command Prompt, enter adb connect ipaddress that you copied earlier.
  13. To install the APK, use adb install appname.apk. In this case, we’re using brave.apk (brave browser), so we entered the following command: adb install brave.apk
    How to sideload apps on android
  14. If you followed the steps correctly, a success message will appear in the Command Prompt.

You will find the app listed in your Start menu and these Android apps can be uninstalled like other apps.

How to sideload apps on android

The Android app support for Windows 11 is currently enabled for Windows Insiders enrolled in the Beta channel. Currently, around 50 Android apps are accessible via the Amazon Appstore inside the Microsoft store. Last week we saw an advanced method to sideload Play Store on the Windows 11 operating system using ADB (Android Debug Bridge). However, this workaround is not suggested for average users. Now, to the rescue is another method (as we speculated earlier) which will be a sigh of relief for Windows 11 users.

Developer Simone Franco has come up with the WSATools which functions like a GUI to emulate the ADB commands for installation of Android apps on the new OS. The workaround is far simpler than the method by ADeltaX, and Simone promises more features to follow in the future for the tool.

To get going, you’ll need to download and set up the ADB on the Windows 11 system and add the ADB to system environment variables. This is an important step, as it ensures the ADB commands can run system-wide and eliminate the need to open a command-line tool for the specific folder.

Thereafter, you’ll have to enable the developer mode in Windows Subsystem for Android and check its functioning by opening any Android app. Once everything is in place simply download the APK files and open them in the File Explorer for simplicity of use.

As per the developer, the ability to install ADB automatically is explorable in the development versions, and more such features will follow shortly. The WSATools takes care of the APK file associations without any problem in Windows 11, and that’s a big relief for normal users.

The stable version of the WSATools (with a refined design) will soon be up for download; the current pre-release version is the official one yet. That said, it is still good enough to give a try and can be owned from the Microsoft Store.

How to sideload apps on android

If you want to run Android apps on your Windows 11 PC now, you can take measures to sideload Android apps on Windows 11 – use Windows Subsystem for Android and ADB. How to sideload Android app APKs on Windows 11? Read this post and you can find a detailed guide from MiniTool.

On October 5, 2021, Microsoft was originally supposed to release Android Subsystem for Windows 11. But this company needs more time to test it to let it stable. Currently, Microsoft has released Android app support to Insiders – only can be used by American testers.

How to sideload apps on android

Windows 11 will be officially released to the public on October 5, 2021, and Microsoft delays the Android apps support in Windows 11 into 2022.

If you don’t join the Windows Beta channel, how can you run Android apps on Windows 11? You can sideload Android apps via APK files. Let’s go to see the guide below.

How to Sideload Android Apps on Windows 11

Step 1: Windows Subsystem for Android Download and Install in Windows 11

  1. Download the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) Msixbundle package via this link.
  2. Search for PowerShell, choose Windows PowerShell, and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Navigate to the MSIX package, right-click on the downloaded file and choose Copy as path to save it on the clipboard.
  4. Go back to the PowerShell window, type Add-AppPackage -path and press Enter. Replace the file path in the command.
  5. Wait some time and then Windows Subsystem for Android will be installed on your Windows 11 PC.

Step 2: Find the IP Address of Windows Subsystem for Android

  1. First, open Windows Subsystem for Android in Windows 11 via the search box.
  2. In the WSA settings, turn on Developer mode.
  3. Click Refresh next to IP address to show the IP. If the IP is still not showing up, click Manage developer settings, go to Developer options, and tap on Wireless debugging. Then, note down the IP address.

Step 3: Download SDK Platform Tools

1. Go to this page and click Download SDK Platform-Tools for Windows.

How to sideload apps on android

2. Accept terms and conditions and click Download Android SDK Platform-Tools for Windows.

3. Right-click the downloaded file (ZIP) and choose Extract All.

4. Choose a path to save all the files.

Step 4: Connect to Windows Subsystem for Android Through ADB

  1. In the Android SDK Platform-Tools folder, go to the address bar, type cmd and press Enter to open Command Prompt.
  2. Type adb connect IP_address and press Enter. Note that the IP address should the one you have noted down before.

Step 5: Sideload Android Apps on Windows 11

To sideload any Android app on Your Windows 11 PC, you can go to download Android Windows 11 APK files from the Internet. For example, you want to sideload Snapchat, you can search for Snapchat APK for android download and click one link to get the APK file.

Save the APK file to the SDK Platform-Tools folder, go back to the CMD window, type the adb install apk-file-name.apk command, and press Enter. The file name of the APK should be actual.

After finishing all the operations, you can run the Android app from the Start menu like any other native apps in Windows.

Final Words

That’s all the steps to sideload Android apps on Windows 11. If you want to sideload Android app APKs on Windows 11 now, follow these steps above to easily perform this task. If you have any ideas, leave a comment below to tell us.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Reddit

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Position: Columnist

Vera is an editor of the MiniTool Team since 2016 who has more than 5 years’ writing experiences in the field of technical articles. Her articles mainly focus on disk & partition management, PC data recovery, video conversion, as well as PC backup & restore, helping users to solve some errors and issues when using their computers. In her spare times, she likes shopping, playing games and reading some articles.

Although Windows Subsystem for Android allows Windows 11 users to install Android apps on their Windows computer, you can sideload apps as well. If the desired app is not available on the Amazon Appstore, you can sideload Android apps using WSA on Windows 11 with the help of this step-by-step guide.

It is quite straightforward to install Windows Subsystem for Android on Windows 11 when you are from the USA. However, if you do not live in the USA, you will get some issues installing apps from Amazon Appstore even if you use the manual method to install Windows Subsystem for Android on Windows 11. It is not possible to install any app from Amazon Appstore without a US-based Amazon account. If you do not have one, you can sideload Android apps without any issues.

Before getting started, you must know that Google apps won’t work using this method. As those apps require additional libraries, you cannot sideload any Google app using this particular way. Other than that, some online movie and web series streaming apps, such as Netflix, etc., also don’t work by sideloading.

How to sideload Android apps using WSA on Windows 11

  1. Download APK file
  2. Download SDK Platform Tools
  3. Enable Developer mode in WSA
  4. Copy IP address
  5. Open Windows Terminal in platform-tools folder
  6. Connect to the IP and install app

To learn more about these steps, continue reading.

1] Download APK file

It is the first step you need to follow. You must have the APK file on the Android app you want to install or sideload using WSA. There are several websites from where you can download the app’s APK file to your computer. For example, apkpure.com, apkmirror.com, etc., are some of the best websites in the market.

However, do not download any pirated version of any paid application. You may end up getting some issues by doing so.

2] Download SDK Platform Tools

As per the official statement, Android SDK-Platform Tools is the component for the Android SDK. In this case, you need to download the Platform Tools to run the ADB command, which is necessary to sideload apps on Windows 11 using Windows Subsystem for Android.

Therefore, you can visit the developer.android.com website and click the Download SDK Platform-Tools for Windows link.

How to sideload apps on android

Following that, accept their terms and conditions and start downloading the Platform Tools on your computer.

Once done, extract the compressed file and place the platform-tools folder somewhere safe.

3] Enable Developer mode in WSA

How to sideload apps on android

  • Open Windows Subsystem for Android app on your PC.
  • Find out the Developer mode option.
  • Toggle the corresponding button to turn it on.

However, if it is already enabled, you can skip this step.

4] Copy IP address

How to sideload apps on android

  • Open Windows Subsystem for Android app on your computer.
  • Find out the IP address option.
  • Click the Copy button.

However, if you cannot find the IP address and instead it shows an Unavailable message, you need to click the Files option and click the Refresh button.

Then, you can find the IP address under the IP address label. Once done, you can click the Copy button.

5] Open Windows Terminal in platform-tools folder

You need to open Windows Terminal in the platform-tools folder and ensure that the Command Prompt instance is opened. For that, double-click on the platform-tools folder that you extracted in the second step of this tutorial. After opening, right-click on empty space, and select the Open in Windows Terminal option.

How to sideload apps on android

If it opens Windows PowerShell, you can click the arrow icon in the Title bar and select the Command Prompt option.

Next, you need to navigate to the platform-tools folder only if it is not done yet. For that, you can use the following command:

6] Connect to the IP and install app

Now, you need to connect to the IP from the host computer. For that, enter the following command:

Don’t forget to replace the [IP] with the original IP address you copied earlier from the WSA window.

After entering this command, it should show a success message. Next, you need to copy the APK file path. For that, right-click on the APK file that you downloaded in the first step of this tutorial, and select the Copy as path option.

Following that, enter the following command:

How to sideload apps on android

Once done, you can find the app in the Start Menu.

How to run Android apps on Windows 11?

To run Android apps on Windows 11, you need to follow the aforementioned guide. First, you need to download the APK file and the Platform Tools from the respective websites. Then, turn on the Developer mode in the WSA, and copy the IP address. After that, open Windows Terminal’s Command Prompt instance in the platform-tools folder and enter the adb connect command. Following that, copy the file path of the APK file, and enter the adb install command.

Hope this tutorial helped you sideload Android apps on Windows 11 using Windows Subsystem for Android.

Date: November 5, 2021 Tags: WSA

Related Posts

Fix Error 0x800700B7 when downloading Windows Subsystem for Android

How to sideload apps on android

WSATools is an APK installer for Windows Subsystem for Android

How to sideload apps on android

How to run Google Play Store Android apps on Windows 11

report this ad

[email protected]

Sudip loves to engage with the latest technology & gadgets. Apart from writing about all things technology, he is a Photoshop junkie and a football enthusiast.

If you’re one who likes to tinker with Android, TWRP is the first thing you should install. It replaces your phone’s stock recovery mode interface and adds over a dozen advanced features to your device—most notably, the ability to flash ZIPs that can modify practically every aspect of your operating system. It’s certainly one of the most powerful tools available for Android, and there’s simply nothing capable of replacing it.

One of the more useful features in TWRP is the ability to sideload ZIP files, meaning you are able to send files from your computer directly to TWRP and immediately install them. This feature especially comes in handy when you’ve messed up something on your phone and are stuck in a bootloop. For future reference, or for immediate help, we’ll briefly go over the steps to this process below.

Prerequisites

    , Linux, or Windows computer
  • USB data cable
  • ZIP being sideloaded (as an example, we’ll be flashing a PIN removal ZIP)

Step 1: Prepare Your Phone & Computer

Boot your phone into TWRP, then plug it into your computer with a USB data cable. From there, open a Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Mac and Linux) window, and type in adb start-server to start the ADB server on your computer. For an in-depth guide on this part, don’t miss our full ADB installation tutorial at the following link.

How to sideload apps on android

Next, tap the Advanced tab from TWRP’s main menu on your phone. From there, tap on ADB Sideload, then swipe the slider to start the ADB connection.

How to sideload apps on android How to sideload apps on android How to sideload apps on android

Step 2: Sideload the ZIP

Type adb sideload into Command Prompt or Terminal, then hit your spacebar once to add a single space. From there, locate the ZIP file you wish to sideload, then click and drag the file into the Command Prompt or Terminal window, which will populate the file’s location and name into the field. From there, just hit enter to begin the sideloading process. In our example, it would look like this:

adb sideload “C:\lockscreen-db_removed-signed.zip”

How to sideload apps on android

Take a look at your device, and you’ll see the ZIP do its work. In this case, it has completely removed the lock screen from my device. Depending on the ZIP you’re flashing, the feedback message will vary. However, you will see a Reboot System button in TWRP when the ZIP has been successfully flashed.

How to sideload apps on android

Now that you’ve mastered the art to sideloading ZIPs in TWRP, don’t forget to browse around and take a look at some of the ZIPs we found interesting. There’s ViPER4Android, iPhone Emojis, the Xposed Framework, custom kernels such as ElementalX, and so much more! If you have a favorite tweak or mod, be sure to share it with us and your fellow readers. There’s no limit to modifying Android, which is what makes it so unique.

Keep Your Connection Secure Without a Monthly Bill. Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for all your devices with a one-time purchase from the new Gadget Hacks Shop, and watch Hulu or Netflix without regional restrictions, increase security when browsing on public networks, and more.

When you bought your Kindle Fire, maybe you knew that you were entering a world without the Google Play Store, and did it anyway. Or, perhaps you were surprised to find out that you weren’t able to find apps like Chrome and YouTube in the Amazon App Store. And you’d love your Fire just a little more if you could add a few of your favorite apps!

Luckily, this isn’t hard to do. You can install individual apps directly onto your Fire, called “Sideloading.” Note that some apps may not work on the Fire if installed this way, especially paid apps or apps that require in-app purchasing, and most Google apps won’t work either (Chrome is a big exception – it works, as long as you don’t want to sign in and sync Chrome with other devices). For these I would recommend reading our tutorial on how to get the Google Play Store on your Fire.
Either way, know that there is some risk in altering your Fire this way. Be especially careful of where you get your APK files from.

Sideloading onto your Fire involves three steps: getting the APK file, getting that file to your Fire, and installing it. But the first thing you want to do is get your Fire ready to install apps from someplace other than the Amazon Apps Store. Do this no matter which method you’re planning on using.

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and press Settings. Scroll down to the Personal section and press Security. Under Advanced, turn on Apps from Unknown Sources. You’ll see a warning about being responsible for all damage to your Fire that unknown source apps can do. This would be a good time to mention that while this is an easy process, you do it at your own risk. Press OK.

2. Restart your Fire by holding down the Power button until you’re asked, “Do you want to shut down your Fire?” Press “OK” Once your Fire has turned off completely, press the power button and turn it back on.

Sideloading From Another Android Device

There are several ways to get an APK file. APK is a file extension used by Android. The easiest way to get your hands on an APK file is if you already have an Android phone. I like this method the best because you know you’re getting the file from a reliable place.

1. Download Apk Extractor to your Android phone from the Google Play Store.

2. Open Apk Extractor. You will be able to see every APK file on your phone.

3. Choose the app you want to install on your Fire. In this example, I’m using Chrome. Press the three dots next to the app and then press share.

4. Decide how you want to share the file to your Fire device. My preferred method is to just email it to myself and then open the email on the Fire, but a lot of these files are too big. Another good method is to share it to Dropbox or OneDrive and then retrieve the file on the Fire.

6. When it’s done downloading, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and press Install.

The app will now be on your Home screen and ready to use!

You now have a working version of Chrome. Although, you can’t sign in to sync with Chrome on other devices. If you want to do that, see my tutorial about adding the Google Play Store to your Fire.

Sideloading From The Silk Browser

Another easy way is to find the APK file on a site like APK Mirror and download the file directly to your Fire.

1. On your Fire, open the Silk browser and go to APKMirror.com.

3. On the next page, if there’s only one version of the app you’ll see, press Download APK to start your download. If there’s more than one version of the file, press See Available APKS and pick the version that’s right for your device (APK Mirror has a faq page to help you figure it out, but when in doubt, go for the version that says “nodpi” and that matches your Fire’s OS). Press that version and on the next page press Download APK to start your download.

4. A pop-up will warn you that the file could harm your device. Press OK.

5. Swipe down from the top of the screen and find your download in progress. When the file is finished downloading press the completed download notification, scroll to the bottom of the page if necessary, then press Install.

6. The app will now be on your Home screen and ready to use!

7. You now have a working version of Chrome. However, as I mentioned before, you won’t be able to sign in to sync with Chrome on other devices. If you want to do that, see my tutorial about adding the Google Play Store to your Fire.

Sideloading is the process of moving files and programs locally from one device to another. Usually, this means connecting your computer to a smartphone or tablet. For most people, sideloading isn’t something that they’ll ever need to do, but knowing how to do it could be a handy skill.

But what is sideloading? There are some important things you need to know before you do it, however, as there are potential security risks involved, and in some cases, it can void your device’s warranty.

How to sideload apps on android

What Is Sideloading And How Does It Work?

For most of our devices, we get files and software by downloading them from the internet. Usually, this is through software provided by our device’s manufacturer. For computers, this will be the browser or software store. Android and iOS use the Play Store and the App Store, respectively.

Sideloading avoids these methods by placing software directly onto your device. This usually happens in one of the following ways:

  • USB sideloading – moving files and software between devices using a USB cable.
  • Bluetooth sideloading – using a Bluetooth connection to move data between devices.
  • External Storage sideloading – Using a USB drive or microSD card to transfer between devices.

Most programs contain instructions to the operating system for how they should be installed. Whether you get the software from an official source or sideload it, once on the hard drive, your device usually won’t detect any difference.

Why Would You Want To Sideload?

While most apps you’ll need are available via an official app store, there are exceptions. Perhaps the most high profile example was the mobile version of Fortnite. On release, the popular battle royal game wasn’t available on the Google Play Store and required users to sideload the game on to their smartphones.

Epic Games aren’t the only developers keen to avoid publishing their app on Google or Apple’s official outlets. Sites like APK Mirror and vShare Download host thousands of downloadable apps for Android and iOS devices.

Another common reason to sideload is to get access to an older version of an app, or one that is no longer available through conventional methods. This is especially handy for smart home apps, which are particularly prone to error after forced updates.

Finally, in some areas, smart devices cannot readily access the internet. Sideloading apps from a shared computer gives people the freedom to enjoy software usually reserved for those directly accessing the App or Play store.

Is Sideloading Safe?

How to sideload apps on android

While sideloading isn’t illegal, there are some things to consider before getting started. Sideloaded apps don’t come with the same security assurances as official downloads. This is not a problem as long as you trust the source of the app, but you could be installing malicious spyware without realizing it.

Until recently, sideloading on iOS required the phone to be jailbroken. Jailbreaking is the process of bypassing Apple’s official system for adding files and software to iOS devices. Unfortunately, it also voids the phone’s warranty and may even result in official Apple vendors refusing to repair your device.

While sideloading no longer requires jailbreaking, Apple has not made it clear if sideloading will also break user warranties.

Here’s how to sideload an APK file to install the Android app on your Windows 11 PC using Windows Subsystem for Android. You can install Windows Subsystem for Android manually on your Windows 11 PC using its Msixbundle file from our guide here.

  • Step 1: Enable Developer mode in Windows Subsystem
  • Step 2: Install SDK Platform Tools
  • Step 3: Install Android app
  • Sideload APK automatically using a double-click

Step 1: Enable Developer mode in Windows Subsystem

Install Windows Subsystem for Android first. When done, open the ‘Windows Subsystem for Android’ app on your PC. For this, press the Windows key and search for Windows Subsystem for Android.

How to sideload apps on android

Click Windows Subsystem for Android. Or click Open.

How to sideload apps on android

In the Windows Subsystem for Android, toggle on Developer mode.

How to sideload apps on android

Step 2: Install SDK Platform Tools

Visit Google’s SDK Platform Tools page here.

Click Download SDK Platform-Tools for Windows.

How to sideload apps on android

Scroll down all the way and select the checkbox to agree with the terms and conditions. Then click the green button to download the Platform Tools.

How to sideload apps on android

A zip file called platform-tools_r31.0.3-windows (version might change) will be downloaded to your PC.

How to sideload apps on android

For your ease, create a new separate folder called folder-for-apps in Windows Explorer. Now, transfer the platform-tools file to this folder.

Right-click the platform-tools file and select Extract all.

How to sideload apps on android

How to sideload apps on android

The file will be extracted. Open the folder called platform tools.

How to sideload apps on android

You will have the adb.exe and some other files here.

Step 3: Install Android app

Double-click the platform-tools folder open it.

Here, click the address bar and type cmd, and then hit the enter key.

How to sideload apps on android

A command window will open up with its location set to the platform-tools folder. This is important.

How to sideload apps on android

Now, we have the command prompt window in the folder where we have the adb.exe file. That is, our platform-tools folder.

How to sideload apps on android

Now, download the APK file of the Android app you want to install. For example, if you want to install Snapchat, search Snapchat APK on Google and download its APK file from any reliable website that you trust. Next, rename the file to something simpler like snapchat.apk. Now, transfer snapchat.apk to the platform-tools folder.

How to sideload apps on android

We can now install the Snapchat Android app using snapchat.apk and adb on your PC.

Open the Windows Subsystem for Android, and find the IP where it can connect with ADB under the Developer mode option.

How to sideload apps on android

In your command prompt window, type the command below and hit Enter:

Example: adb.exe connect 127.0.0.1:12345

How to sideload apps on android

Now, type the install command given below and then hit Enter:

Example: adb.exe install Snapchat.apk

How to sideload apps on android

The Android app will now be installed on your PC using ADB and the APK file you provided.

How to sideload apps on android

When done, you will see the Success message.

How to sideload apps on android

You can close the CMD window now.

You can now open the Android app on your PC.

Press the Windows key and then type the name of your app. In our case, it is Snapchat.

How to sideload apps on android

Here is how Snapchat looks on Windows 11.

How to sideload apps on android

Sideload APK automatically using a double-click

We know using an adb command is not the easiest way to install an Android app on your PC. Thankfully, you can now double-click an APK file to install it. Check the link below to learn how to set this up.

Let us know what is your favorite method to sideload APK files on PC.

RELATED

Kapil Malani

A die-hard Liverpool FC fan, Kapil is a big fan of Batman, Android and street Cricket. In that order, probably. Email: [email protected]

How to sideload apps on android

Yesterday, Microsoft released the first preview of Android apps experience on Windows 11. This experience is powered by Windows Subsystem for Android. In the preview release, you will be able to install the curated collection of 50 apps available via Amazon App Store. The good news is that you will be able to sideload any Android app on Windows 11 by following the instructions below.

  1. Follow the instructions available in this article and enable Windows Subsystem for Android on your Windows 11 PC.
  2. Go to Android Platform SDK Tools page.
  3. Download and extract Download SDK Platform-Tools for Windows
  4. Launch Windows Subsystem for Android and enable Developer Mode.
  5. Please note down the IP address displayed on Windows Subsystem for Android. If IP address is not there, please click Refresh.
  6. Now, launch Terminal and navigate to the extracted SDK Platform Tools folder you downloaded.
  7. Download the APK you want to sideload from the internet and place it in the SDK Platform Tools folder.
  8. In the Terminal, please enter the following command. Please use the IP address which you noted down in Step 5:
    1. .\adb.exe connect 127.0.0.1:58526
    1. .\adb.exe install ‘apkname.apk

    Note: Not all Android APKs will work on Windows 11 since some of them require Google Play Services.

    Some links in the article may not be viewable as you are using an AdBlocker. Please add us to your whitelist to enable the website to function properly.