This story was originally published and last updated .
Getting Android apps without access to the official Google Play Store can be a bit of a gamble depending on where you choose to get your apps. While Android will let you install an APK from basically anywhere on the web, you want to be smart about choosing your source for those files. And that's why there's only one source we recommend: APK Mirror. In this post, we'll show you how to install or "sideload" APKs onto your Android phone or tablet, and why APK Mirror is the best place to get them. Specifically, we run the site, and we stand by it — and it even offers split APK App Bundles for things you usually can't get anywhere but the Play Store, like Netflix, Disney+, and other popular services.
You may be aware of Google's Advanced Protection Program, which allows customers to opt-in on additional security protections and restrictions for their Google account, like a forced two-factor hardware security key requirement without fallbacks, and reduced account access for third-party apps. In addition to enhanced security, it also comes with other recent perks. According to details revealed in a recent teardown by 9to5Google, the Advanced Protection Program may expand to blocking apps from being installed from outside the Play Store.
If you happen to own a Samsung Captivate, HTC Aria, or HTC Inspire 4G, then the dream of many, many Android owners on AT&T is about to be yours - the ability to legitimately sideload apps. AT&T lifted its sideloading-barrier on the newly released Samsung Infuse 4G, and naturally, the question arose: What about older Android devices? Now we have our answer.
This means that you will be able to enjoy the little pleasures that other Android users currently have - like the Amazon Appstore and non-market apps like wireless tether. According to the above document obtained by Android Central, the OTA update should start rolling out today to the aforementioned devices, so make sure to let us know when you get yours.
AT&T has taken a lot of heat from Android fans, and for good reason - they were the last of the four major US carriers to truly embrace it, and even then they made the controversial decision to block users' ability to sideload apps - i.e., install apps not offered on the Android Market. Their intentions were only to protect users from "bad apps," but of course this also meant that users have been unable to install any type of beta apps or, more notably, the Amazon App Store. Fortunately, they plan to reverse this decision going forward, as Senior VP of Mobile Devices Jeff Bradley announced:
It's shaping up to be quite a day for AT&T users, isn't it? First the Infuse 4G announcement, and now even biggernews: it appears that the aforementioned device also allows apps to be sideloaded! As you may remember, AT&T has blocked sideloading since its first Android device - the Motorola Backflip. Sure, there have beenways around that restriction, but it's a simple service that all Android users should be allowed to enjoy.
According Phillip Berne, the Infuse 4G that he has in hand does indeed allow apps to be sideloaded. This is really great news for AT&T users across the board, as maybe the tides have finally turned and all users will be able to enjoy the little things in life - like the Amazon Appstore and its free premium app of the day.
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.