On Android TV, how to sideload any application

April 26, 2023 0 Comments

Your television is probably running some variation of Android TV, whether you’re using an Nvidia Shield TV running Android 11 or the most recent Chromecast with Google TV. Google is paying closer attention to the streaming market than ever before, and the company even plans to introduce more affordable devices to take on companies like Amazon and Roku. Because Android TV is an open platform, just like Android phones, any missing apps may be rapidly added by sideloading new ones. As you may anticipate, obtaining APKs for your TV is more difficult than it is for a Pixel 6 or Galaxy S22. The two best ways to sideload APK files into any Android TV or Google TV device are described above.

Install APKs from a tablet or phone running Android.


There are a number alternative ways to upload APK files to Android TV, like setting up a cloud file manager or laboriously configuring ADB on a computer. The simplest option is to utilise ‘Send files to TV,’ an app that allows you to send files over your home network to an Android TV device or any other Android-powered device.


The “Send files to TV” app from the Play Store must first be installed on both your phone and TV. Open the Play Store and type the name into the search bar to install it on your TV. You can also click the aforementioned link on a desktop computer and select your TV as the installation target.


Open the Send files to TV app on your TV after the app has finished installing on both devices, then choose the ‘Receive’ option to launch the receiver. Press Send after opening the app on your phone. This launches a file browser, where you must locate and choose the APK file.


You should be able to choose the file on your TV and click “Open” after the file transfer is complete. If everything goes according to plan, you should receive a prompt to install the application.

The Open button, however, occasionally fails to function properly in the transfer programme. On the most recent Chromecast, I also saw some strange behaviour that at first prevented me from accessing the installation options. If this occurs, you’ll need to set up a different file manager programme on your TV, such as File Commander. Choose “Internal storage” from the main screen of File Commander, then click the Download folder. Press one to open any files you transferred utilising the Send files to TV feature.


The notification “Installations from unknown sources are not allowed” could appear if your Android TV is a current version. If so, click the ‘Settings’ button, which will launch a popup on the side with a list of permitted apps.


You simply need to press back on your remote to resume the installation after turning the app that is attempting to install the APK (either the file manager or Send files to TV) to the “on” state. Before turning on the option for your app on Google TV, you must first allow the option under “Security & Restrictions” in the Apps section of settings.


Install APKs using ADB from your PC.


The Android Debug Bridge, also known as ADB, may be used to transfer APKs to Android TV just like it does with other Android devices. A cable USB connection is generally how ADB operates, but we’ll be using Wi-Fi in this operation. Installation of ADB on your PC is the first step. It’s officially included in the Android Studio SDK, but setting that up if you’re not a programmer can be challenging. For this reason, it’s preferable to utilise a third-party installation tool. 15 Seconds ADB Installer is a well-liked choice that has consistently worked for me if you’re running Windows. Try Nexus Tools if you use macOS, Linux, or Chrome OS (full disclosure: I created it). Try entering “adb –help” (without the quotations) in your Terminal/Command Line programme after installing ADB. You ought to see something similar to the screenshot below. Close and reopen the Terminal/CMD window and try again if you receive an error or other message.


Connecting to your TV is now required. On the Android TV home screen, select Settings from the Settings menu, then select Device Preferences > About. You are a developer, so scroll down to “Build,” select Build, and wait till you see that message.


You then need to determine the IP address of your TV. To pick the active connection, return to the main Settings page and click “Network & Internet.” One of the first details to be listed should be the IP address.


It’s time to connect your PC’s ADB to your Fire TV at this point. Return to your PC and type “adb connect” (without the quotes) and the IP address of your Android TV. Your TV will then display a prompt that you must accept as a result. After that, you should see a notification indicating that ADB connected successfully; you can also use the command “adb devices” to confirm.


Finally, you’re free to install any APK files you like. Drag the downloaded file into the app window after typing “adb install” (without quotes) in the Terminal or Command Line. The complete path of the file should be pasted. then hit Enter, and the magic will happen.​​​​​​​


Your TV should now display the app if you get a “success” message. Simply perform the ADB connect command once more on your PC, followed by the install command for each additional APK you wish to sideload.​​​​​​​


Android TV is the operating system of many of the best streaming devices you can buy right now, and these devices have an air of openness and freedom about them. Therefore, if you look for your favourite app on the Play Store and discover that it has vanished, don’t worry; it may still be found there by downloading an APK.


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