Android TVs have become extremely popular over the last year or so, thanks to the growing number of manufacturers offering smart TVs across different price segments. However, while there are some good apps for Android TV, the selection is not good enough. Also, thanks to fight between companies like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and TV manufactures, sometimes consumers even have to miss out on some basic apps. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use these apps and more on your smart TV. The beauty of Android TV is that you can easily sideload apps. So, if you’re looking for ways to try and run your favorite apps on your TV, here’s how to sideload apps on Android TV.

Sideload Apps on Android TV in 2020

In this article, we have mentioned multiple ways to sideload apps on your Android TV. First, we will see how we can sideload apps wirelessly through Android smartphones and computers (Windows and macOS). Then we will show you how to sideload apps through a thumb drive. However, before that, we need to enable a toggle from the Settings page and download a file explorer on Android TV. So here is how it goes.

1. Open the Play Store on your Android TV and search for Solid Explorer (Free, Offers in-app purchases). After that, install the app.

Sideload Apps on Android TV in 2020

2. Next, go to Settings -> Device Preferences -> Security & Restrictions -> Unknown Sources -> Enable the toggle for “Solid Explorer”. Having done the preliminary steps, let’s move to the wireless method now.

Sideload Apps on Android TV in 2020

  • Sideload Apps on Android TV Wirelessly

In this wireless section, we will be using Send Files to TV app to send Android apps from Android and Windows devices. And for macOS, we will be using a native way (SFTP) to connect to Android TV. Following that, we can easily sideload apps on Android TV using Solid Explorer. Now let’s begin without any further delay.

  • Sideload Apps on Android TV using Android Smartphone

1. On your Android TV and Android smartphone, launch the Play Store, and install Send Files to TV app (Free, Offers in-app purchases).

1. Sideload Apps on Android TV using Android Smartphone

2. After that, open Send Files to TV app on both your devices. Now, tap on “Send” on your smartphone and choose the APK file that you want to send. On the next screen, your Android TV would show up. Now, tap on it and within a few seconds, the APK file will be sent to your Android TV.

Note: Both your Android TV and Android smartphone should be connected to the same WiFi network and should have the SFTV app open. 

Sideload Apps on Android TV using Android Smartphone

3. Now, open Solid Explorer and go to the “Downloads” folder. Here, you will find the transferred Android APK. Open it and select the “Package Installer” option.

1. Sideload Apps on Android TV using Android Smartphone

4. Now, click on “Install” and the app will be sideloaded on your Android TV. You can find the installed app in the “Apps” section. So that’s how you can sideload apps on Android TV.

1. Sideload Apps on Android TV using Android Smartphone

  • Sideload Apps on Android TV using a Windows PC

You can install Send Files to TV app on your Windows PC too. The developer has recently released the Windows app and it works flawlessly. So here is how you can send Android APKs and other files from your Windows PC to Android TV wirelessly. Thereafter, you can sideload apps from Solid Explorer.

1. Download and install Send Files to TV application on your PC. After the installation, the app will sit in the system tray.

2. Now just right-click on it and select “Send Files”. As I said above, for this to work, both your Android TV and Windows PC should be connected to the same WiFi network and should have the SFTV app open.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using a Windows PC

3. After that, choose your Android APK and then it will open a window where it will show your Android TV. Select your TV and click on the “Ok” button.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using a Windows PC

4. If the transfer fails for the first time, try again and it will surely work. You can also try sending files by right-clicking on the system tray icon and choosing “View Transfers”. There, click on “Send Files” and select your APK file.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using a Windows PC

5. Finally, the file will be sent to Android TV and you can proceed with the installation using Solid Explorer. Open Downloads -> Android APK -> Package Installer -> Install. You are done.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using a Windows PC

  • Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

Sideloading apps on an Android TV using Mac is not a very difficult task. All you need is a file explorer on your Android TV that can connect to SFTP servers, and an SFTP Server running on your Mac. Both of these can be achieved quite easily using Solid Explorer and macOS native settings. So just follow the steps below:

Note: Both your Android TV and Mac should be connected to the same WiFi network.

 

  • Open System Preferences on your Mac, and then click on “Sharing.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

  • In the left column, check “File Sharing” and “Remote Login” and allow access for “All users“. Here you will find something on the lines of “ssh <username>@<ip address>”. Take note of the username and the IP address of your machine.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

  • Now on your Android TV, launch Solid Explorer, and open the hamburger menu. Here, click on the 3-dot menu beside the cog-wheel and then go to Storage Manager -> Click on the Plus sign at the bottom-right -> SFTP.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

  • Now add the details for your secure FTP server. In the Remote host name field, enter the IP address that we noted above on Mac. Besides that, keep everything as it is and click on “Next”.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

  • Now enter the username and password of your Mac. Username should be the same that we noted above in the Sharing section and the password is your Mac login password. After that, click on “Next” and keep everything default in the next few screens.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

  • Finally, the server will be created in Storage Manager. Click on it and it will basically open your Mac on Android TV. All your APK files and folders will be available here to copy and install. You will find all your data in the Volume\Date\Users\YourUsername folder.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using macOS

  • Now, you can download APK files on your Mac and they will be readily available on Solid Explorer. You can always find your Mac Server under the hamburger menu. Simply navigate to the APK file and directly open it to install the app. No need to copy and paste to your internal storage. So that’s how you can sideload apps on Android TV using Mac.

How to Sideload Apps on Android TV macos

  • Sideload Apps on Android TV using USB Flash Drive

One of the easiest ways to sideload apps on your Android TV is by using a flash drive. You just need to copy the APK file for the app you want to install into the USB flash drive and then plug it into your Android TV. To do this, just follow the steps given below:

  • On your Mac or PC, download the APK file for the app you want to sideload. You can use websites such as APKMirror for this. We’ll be sideloading “Netflix” for this tutorial. Once the APK is downloaded, copy it into a USB drive.
  • Plug the USB drive into the Android TV box, and launch Solid Explorer. Here, locate the USB drive under the hamburger menu and open it.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using USB Flash Drive

 

  • Navigate to the location where you saved the APK file, and simply click on it to begin installing it on your Android TV.

Sideload Apps on Android TV using USB Flash Drive

  • Certain companies also add a File Browser to their Android TVs and you can use that app just like Solid Explorer to sideload APKs onto your smart TV.

xiaomi built in explorer interface

That’s basically it. You have now successfully sideloaded Netflix onto your Android TV using a USB drive. If for some reason, you’re unable to use a USB drive to sideload apps, you can use the wireless method that we have mentioned above.

Sideload and Run any Android App on your Android TV

The Android TV Play Store has a dearth of TV compatible apps. So, unless you sideload apps on your TV, you will miss out on a lot of great apps like Google Chrome, Skype, Google Drive or Dropbox. Note that while you can install almost any Android app on your Android TV by sideloading it, some apps won’t behave properly as they are not optimized for large displays. In my testing, media apps tend to work the best. That’s all from us, let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I am havving tcl iffalcon k2a 55 inch TV and after upgrading to android 8.0 after that even if i send android apps via pendrive in TV it does not install, niether it works even if i use downloader app by troypoint or by using fx explorer or solid explorer of xplorer it did not work it stated installing apps first but does not completes installing and says “app not installed”

  2. install apkpure work like playstore

    install thoptv/snappy stream/ free flix pro apk for live tv & latest movies

    install megashow app for web series & dual audio movies in single click

  3. Is it safe to install APK files on Android TV. I’m looking for below apps. Can you suggest best sources for them?
    1. Amazon prime video
    2. Airtel TV
    3. Jio TV

    Fyi, I’m using Iffalcon Android TV.

  4. HI Guys,
    I downloaded several versions of Google chrome and install it…but my Sony Bravia KD49XF7596 its freeze after opening app. Any hint?

    Thanks a lot in advance

    • Same problem with mine. I can’t see it on the apps screen. Only in file explorer so it is installed. It won’t open even if you try to open it from file explorer.

  5. The author of this article forgot to say how to get ES File Explorer into the Android TV box.
    I just bought a new NVIDIA Shield TV, and it does not have it installed.

  6. ES file explorer have now nice log in to google drive – you just load apps to google drive. No need to build FTP servers etc

  7. HEY BEEBOM I WANT TO CHECK BEFORE BUYING MI ANDROID TV BOX THAT IT CAN RUN JIO TV FOR LIVEE TV ON IT AND ALSO VIDEO AND VOICE CALL ALSO SO PLEASE CAN YOU CHECK FOR IT AND TELL ME IF IT WORKS OR NOT. THANKYOU.

  8. Guys i downloaded Gameloft games from other websites on my sony Android TV it’s giving me error ‘app can’t be installed.’ Please help me.

  9. maybe you forgot something in this paper…? icons of most side loaded apps do not appear on home screen and it’s necessary to use a bullshitty “sideload launcher”

    • You just about killed the idea promoted in this article for me.
      Instead of devising work-arounds that are only any good for tech enthusiasts, all journalists involved in anything Android should press Google to do something about this mismatch between Android and Android TV.
      Too many people are unaware of this trap. I paid $200 for NVIDIA Shield TV box thinking my wife will be able to use it to watch Australian catch-up TV.
      Why couldn’t all Android apps be required to be compatible with all platforms that can run Android?

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