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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to Sideload Apps on Chromecast Using Google TV – Get Virtually Any Android App to the Big Screen Gadget Hacks

How to Sideload Apps on Chromecast Using Google TV – Get Virtually Any Android App to the Big Screen Gadget Hacks



When starting Chromecast with Google TV, the number of compatible apps is relatively limited. Lots of the usual suspects are there, but there are some interesting omissions like Google Stadia (though support is coming). At its core, however, the device runs on Android 10, which means you can sideload apps, including those that don’t officially support Chromecast with Google TV.

The process is almost identical to sideloading apps on Android TV. You will therefore need some additional tools to download and install apps on the device. I’ll cover the easiest method below.

What you will need

  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • Computer or smartphone

Step 1
: Download the APK that you want to side-load

Using either your phone or computer, download the APK installation file for the app you want to download. APKs are like EXEs for Windows if you’re familiar. A good source for this is APKMirrorHowever, you can always check an app’s website for a manual download.

If you’re just looking to try something for now, we recommend downloading Droid Hardware Info and Google Chrome first. After sideloading these apps, you can install future apps without needing a computer or phone.

If it’s a phone app you want to sideload and you have an Android phone, you can install the app on your phone first and then use it APK Extractor to get the APK installation file for this app.

Step 2: Download File Commander

Install File Commander on your Chromecast with Google TV. If you are unfamiliar with installing apps, follow these instructions.

Image by Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Step 3: enable cloud storage integration

Now open the File Commander app and select “Cloud” on the first start page. Then follow the instructions to add a cloud storage account to the file browser. We recommend using Google Drive as you already have a Google account (you’ll need to sign up for Chromecast) and plenty of free storage.

Image by Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Step 4: Unlock Developer Mode

To install an app from outside the Play Store, you must first enable developer mode. Scroll to your profile photo and click on it to reveal the Settings app shortcut. Then click on it.

In the settings, navigate to “System” and then to “Info”.

Under “About” scroll down and select “Android TV OS Build”. Keep clicking until the toast message says, “You are now a developer!” Congratulations on your new career path.

Step 5: Enable “Unknown Sources”.

Return to the main Settings page, scroll down to Apps and select Apps. On the Apps page, scroll down and select Security & Restrictions.

Under Security and Restrictions, select Unknown Sources. This is where you can find the File Commander app as a potential source. Click on it and after paying attention to the warning on the side, turn the switch to blue to allow unknown apps to be installed.

Step 6: Upload the APK to your cloud storage service

Now you need to upload the APK file that you want to side-load to your cloud storage account. If you have chosen Google Drive, open the app on your phone (Android | iOS) or go to the web version in your desktop browser and move the APKs files to “My Drive”.

Alternatively, you can use the PC File Transfer protocol to cast an APK from your smartphone or desktop computer to the Chromecast. File Commander provides a web address that you can access on your smartphone or computer, and you can upload the file directly from your browser.

Step 7: Download the app from the site

Now open File Commander and navigate to the cloud or the location of the APK file on the device. Select the file and choose Install. When the “Open” and “Done” buttons appear, the app will be installed.

If you are registered in Google’s advanced protection program, you will no longer be able to install the app at this point. If you insist on continuing, you will need to sign out. The process only takes a few clicks, but it can take a few hours for it to spread through the system.

Step 8: Launch the Sideloaded app

Once installed, you can click “Open” to launch the app immediately. Otherwise, it might appear under the list along with your other apps To you or Apps Pages.

If not, go to Settings -> AppsThen select the app from the list and select “Open”. Alternatively, you can use an app called the Sideload Launcher, which can be installed on your Android TV by browsing the Play Store.

Some apps that were not designed to be used on a TV may require the use of a mouse. Since the new Chromecast only has a USB port, we recommend using a Bluetooth mouse.

Step 9: Download future apps from the site

If you chose to sideload the two apps in Step 1, the process will be a lot easier in the future. Use Droid Hardware Info to determine the CPU architecture of your TV or set-top box. You can find this information at system Tab titled “Instruction Sets”.

With this information, 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 use File Commander to open the APK file (usually under “Downloads”) to download it from the site as before.

For those looking to use APKMirror, many of the apps they host now come in packages and use a new file format (.apkm). To install these apps, you need to first download the APKMIrror Installer app from the site. Read our tutorial (linked below) on how to use this installer.

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Cover image and screenshots (unless otherwise stated) by Tommy Palladino / Gadget Hacks

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