At its core, Android TV software is the same as the operating system running on 87% of all smartphones. But it doesn't always feel that way, with its version of the Play Store with only 5,000 apps (or 0.2% of all Android apps). To access the remaining 99.8% of the apps, you need to sideload them.
Just like your phone, sideloading allows you to install apps outside the official Google Play Store. These apps include apps rejected by Google hosted by other app stores or modified apps. The process is almost identical to sideloading on your phone, except that getting the APK installation files on the device is a bit more difficult.
What you need
- Android TV device (television or set-top box)
- computer or smartphone
: Download the APK you want to sideload
Download with your phone or computer the APK file for the app you want to install. APKs are like EXEs for Windows, if you're familiar. A good source for this is APKMirror but you can always check the website of an app for a manual download.
If you want to try something now, we recommend downloading Droid Hardware Info and Google Chrome first. After sideloading these apps, you can install future apps without the need for a computer or phone.
Step 2: Download File Commander
On your Android TV device, open the Play Store app and download File Commander. You can find this app by clicking the search icon at the top of the Play Store main menu and then typing its name using the on-screen keyboard or voice control.
Step 3: Enable Cloud Storage Integration  Now open the File Commander app and select "Cloud" on the first home page, then follow the prompts to add a cloud storage account to the file browser. We recommend going with Google Drive because you already have a Google account (Android TV requires you to sign up) and it comes with plenty of free storage.
If your device has Android 8.0 or newer, use the up arrow to navigate to the Settings gear in the top right corner of the home screen. Click on it and then go to & # 39; Device Preferences & # 39; and then & # 39; Security & Limitations & # 39 ;. From there, click on "Unknown Sources" and enable the toggle next to File Manager.
Now you need to sideload the APK file you are trying to upload and upload it to your cloud storage account. If you went with Google Drive, open the app on your phone (Android | iOS) or go to drive.google.com in your desktop browser and move the APK files to "My Drive" .
Step 6: Sideload the app
Now open File Commander and select Google Drive (it will be named with your Google account and contains the Google Drive icon) or whatever cloud storage service you use. Select the APK file and choose & # 39; Install & # 39 ;. When the "Open" and "Done" buttons appear, the app is installed.
If you chose to sideload the two apps in step 1, the process will be much easier in the future. Use Droid Hardware Info to find the CPU architecture of your television or set-top box. This information can be found under the tab System titled & # 39; Instruction Sets & # 39 ;.
Use this information to use Chrome to access third-party app stores. Find the app you are looking for and download the variant with the same architecture as your television. Download the app and then use File Commander to open the APK file (usually in "Downloads") to sideload just like before.
For those who want to use APKMirror, many of the apps they host will come in bundles. now and use a new file format (.apkm). To install these apps, you must first sideload the APKMIrror Installer app. Check out our tutorial (linked below) on how to use this installer.
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