What is Sideloading?

Sideloading can be defined as the transfer of files to a phone from another phone or computer. When we talk about sideloading apps, it means installing applications without using the official app store. Sideloading apps is possible on both Android and iOS devices.

How To Sideload Applications on Android?

We all might have come across a situation where the apps we want are not available on the Google Play Store. Apps might not be available on the official app store due to various reasons. The app might not be available for the region you live in or your phone might not be compatible with the app. In all these scenarios you can easily have the application on your phone through sideloading.

Before you learn how to sideload an app on your Android device it is important to know about the default setting your phone has for apps not available on the Google Play store. Your Android device does not allow apps to be installed from unknown sources by default. So whenever you try to install an unknown application a message pops up that tries to warn you against such installations. The reason is your device’s security. The apps you download from the Google Play store are always safe for the device and the data. So, installing apps from unknown resources that do not follow the Google security protocols might harm your device and the data in it. Hence the default setting does not permit installation from unknown sources.

If you know that the application source is safe and trusted then one simple change in settings would let you sideload the app on the Android device. Here are the steps to follow for Android 8.0:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select App and Notifications
  3. Navigate to the Advanced settings and then Special App access
  4. Under Special App Access, go to “Install Unknown Apps” and press allows for the particular app you want to install.

The settings are slightly different in previous Android versions. Once you allow the installation from unknown sources it applies to all such apps. 

How To Sideload Applications on iOS?

Apple provides much tighter security on their iOS devices as compared to Google’s Android. Hence, sideloading unauthorized apps is not as easy in iOS as it is in Android. There are no setting changes that enable installation from unknown sources. 

To sideload apps on your iOS you can choose to use the TestFlight program which is available for free download. This is a tool that enables developers to use the beta versions of apps. So, only if you get an invitation through mail to test the beta version you will be able to sideload the app through TestFlight. 

The other common way is to jailbreak. Basically, you break the security that Apple provides and unlock the phone on your own. Jailbreaking techniques are available on the internet. A different version will require different methods. While jailbreaking gives you a lot of freedom with how you handle the phone, it makes the device prone to multiple security threats and there might be issues with the warranty as well as OS updates. 


Sideloading is an easy option but comes with multiple issues. Hence, you need to be careful when you sideload apps and make sure the source is a trusted and safe one that will not harm the data.