How to Install an APK in Android using ADB

To install an application on Android, we use the play store. It is the official method for installing apps on Android devices. However, we can install apk files from external sources. We can either install apk files by downloading them on the device and installing them directly or we can sideload apk files from a computer using android debug bridge (ADB). 

This method is useful when you want to install apps that are not available on Google play store or if your device does not have the google play store (for example kindle tablets which have their own app store). Installing Android apps using Android debug bridge (ADB) is an easy process and in this article, we are going to discuss how to install an APK onto Android using Android Debug Bridge (ADB).

What is Sideloading?

Sideloading is just a technical jargon used by Android developers and modders which refers to installing Android applications from outside of the Google Play Store. When we sideload applications in Android, we can get pass installing applications from play store and directly install them using the APK file of the Android app. 

When you are sideloading, you are bypassing the official method of installing applications on android that is the Google Play Store. APK (Android Package Kit) is the way android files are packaged and distributed. You can get apk files online to sideload them into your device.

However, before sideloading android apps from the play store, we have to know about the potential security issues that may arise due to sideloading Android apps. 

Sideloading has potential security issues

Google has a Play Protect system in place which scans the apps that are downloaded from the Play Store. However, if you install applications from outside of play store then it cannot ensure that they are free of any risks. Sideloading may result in the installation of malware into your android phone which may show advertisements or present viruses. 

This is why you have to make sure that the apk file you are sideloading comes from a reputable source and is free of viruses. Sideloading is a dangerous method and there are a lot of infected apk files that we can find online and there is a good chance that the apk you are sideloading is infected with viruses and one needs to know sideloading policies before downloading any apps from the same. Download apk files from genuine sources like APKmirror or other apk sites which are reputable.

Allow the installation from “Unknown sources”

If you are willing to sideload the apps, first of all, you have to enable your device to allow the installation of application from unknown sources because, by default, your Android system would not allow you to install any applications from an unknown source that are not from the Play Store. 

You can following the listed guidelines that will help you to allow the installations from unknown sources:

  • Go to Settings and select Security.
  • Search for the Unknown Sources toggle. Turn on the toggle or else click on the checkbox that will enable the installation from unknown sources on your device. 

Sideloading an app by manually installing the APK file

You can also sideload the applications directly on your Android device by installing the applications directly from the trusted website. To install the apps manually, you can follow the following steps:

  • Install the APK file that you want to install on your device from a trusted website. 
  • Go to the file manager of your device. Generally, the downloaded APK files are stored in the Downloads folder. 
  • Click on the APK file to start the installation process.
  • Check the permission, and continue with the installation.

Sideloading an App via ADB

We have already discussed the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) and also about the process of installation in our recent videos. Make sure that you go through the article before trying it.

In a certain period of time, a moment might arrive in which you have to complete the sideload process by connecting your device to the PC with the help of USB cable. To do that, you can follow the instructions given below:

  • Download the APK file from any of the browser but from a trusted website. It might be easier for you if you keep the file and the ADB in the same folder.
  • Connect your android device with your PC.
  • Open the ADB command line on the ADB folder. To open the command line, click Shift+Right click and then select open command window.)
  • Type “adb installs sideloadapp.apk”, where instead of the “sideloadapp.apk”, the full name of the APK file must be written.
  • At last, press the enter key to start the installation process.


We have provided you with some of the methods that might be useful for one who is willing to install an APK onto Android using Android Debug Bridge (ADB). 


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