Normally, to sideload (install from outside the official market) an Android app, you need to enable the "Unknown sources" option in Settings > Applications, then copy the app anywhere on the SD Card, and install it via a file manager, such as Astro.

Unless, of course, a certain entity removes the whole option altogether, making it impossible to install off-Market apps unless you root. Aria, Backflip, Captivate, X10 all have this problem. There was a workaround with HTC Sync that "mistakenly" allowed sideloading, but that hole was patched by HTC shortly after.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Today, AndroidCentral announced an open-source program that allows you to sideload apps, even to phones that don't allow it. The only requirement is that you enable USB debugging in Settings > Applications > Development.

So now, whether you win an app in a contest, a developer sends you a beta version, or you want an app that is not available on the Market, you will no longer sadly say: "Oh, I can't do that - I have AT&T."


Check it out in action:

Very cool – props to AndroidCentral.

[Source: AndroidCentral]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Oscar.

    You can do the SAME thing from the Android device with Fast Web Installer from AppBrain. And without need of Desktop PC.

  • riley

    i have the captivate and there are a LOT of non market apps that i would like to download the only problem is i have a mac is there a version for os 10.4/10.5/10.6

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Try the solution from AppBrain that Oscar mentioned.

  • KovaaK

    It's pretty common knowledge among Backflip owners that you can simply install the Android SDK and load non market apps to your AT&T phone with that. This ability is far from anything new, but I guess it could make it easier for those who aren't comfortable with command lines.

    By the way, did this site have any coverage of the Backflip updates earlier this month? I feel like it was totally forgotten. Given that I'm a Backflip owner on AT&T, I feel like my phone is being trashed and ignored at every opportunity despite it being a nice piece of hardware in general.

  • killerjackalope

    My X10 has always allowed non market apps to be installed after unchecking the box, no passwords, rooting or debranding needed. I suspect 02 UK just don't block it in their version, from what I understand US carriers can be much more restrictive.