A major benefit of a great Chromebook is that you can use all kinds of apps on it, including Linux apps, Android apps, and regular web apps. Most Android apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, but what if you want to use a specific Android app that isn’t listed? Well, you can sideload the app.
Just know that it’s not that easy since you’ll need to put your Chromebook into developer mode. This comes with risks, but if you’re up for the task, follow the steps below.
No need to sideload Linux apps to your Chromebook. As we explained in our guide to Linux apps, you can install almost any Linux app on your ChromeOS device if you know the terminal command. Also, ChromeOS web apps, which are just websites, don’t need to be downloaded from a page.
Sideload apps to Chromebook in developer mode
To sideload an Android app to a Chromebook, you must first put it in developer mode. This is usually for developers who want to install and test their apps, and using developer mode can void your Chromebook’s warranty as it is an unsupported state.
That’s why you need to press it Ctrl+D every time you turn on your Chromebook in developer mode. It is similar to root access on an Android device. Switching to developer mode will erase your Chromebook and any information stored on it, so be sure to back up your files before proceeding.
Once you’ve done all that, follow these steps to start sideloading your apps:
- Turn on your Chromebook.
- press the Exit, Updateand Power Button at the same time
- It says “ChromeOS is missing or corrupted. Insert USB drive” message.
- press and hold Ctrl+D.
- press it Enter when called upon to do so.
- Wait for the device to reboot and complete the Chromebook setup process.
- The screen shows that the operating system check is turned off. From now on, you will see this screen every time you start.
- press it Ctrl + D start over.
- You will now be in developer mode and can continue to page load the application.
- Open Chrome and download the APK file of the Android app you want to install. APKMirror is a website that lists many APK files.
- Go Files on your Chromebook.
- Find the downloaded APK file, right-click on it and select it Package installer.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
- After the application is installed, it will appear in the launcher.
That’s all it takes to sideload an app to your Chromebook. It doesn’t cost much, but the process can be risky, so make sure it’s worth sideloading that app first.
We want to remind you that installing APK files from unknown sources can change the security of your Chromebook and make it more vulnerable. We strongly recommend that you don’t sideload apps and stick to official apps from the Google Play Store.