One of the more sensible security features on Android devices is that you’re not allowed to install apps from outside the Play Store. Not by default anyway. But seeing as there are plenty of great apps you can find outside the Play Store, you may want to venture beyond those walls every now and then.
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to install apps from unknown sources in Android, although the method varies depending on which Android version you’re on. One rule applies for people using Android 7 and below, and another for Android 8.0 Oreo and Android 9.0 Pie (and onwards). Here we’ll show you both ways.
Install Apps from Unknown Sources in Android 8.0 Oreo and 9.0 Pie
As of Android 8.0, the method to install apps from unknown sources has changed. Instead of the previous method where you gave permission to download APKs through any existing app on your phone, from now on you need to give permission to specific apps that are allowed to install APKs from unknown sources.
To set these permissions, go to “Settings -> Apps & notifications -> Advanced -> Special app access -> Install unknown apps”.
Here, select the app (usually your internet browser) that you want to grant permission to install from unknown sources. Then once you’ve tapped it, tap “Allow from this source” to enable unknown sources for that specific app.
Install Apps from Unknown Sources on Android 7 Nougat or Older
To install from unknown sources in Android N and older, you can enable and disable the feature right from the settings panel.
1. Open the App Drawer on your Android device, and tap on the “Settings” icon. It will open the settings panel where you can change all the settings related to your device.
Also, you can pull down the notification bar twice, and then tap on the gear icon to open the Settings menu.
2. When the Settings menu opens, scroll all the way down until you see an option saying “Security & fingerprint.” On the devices that do not have the fingerprint feature, you will only see the “Security” option. Tap on that option, and it will open the security settings menu for your device.
3. When the Security Settings menu launches, scroll down and you will see an option that says “Unknown sources.” This option is what controls whether apps from outside the Play Store should be allowed to install on your device. By default, the option is disabled.
Turn the toggle next to the option to the ON position, and the feature will be enabled on your device.
4. You will get the following prompt before the feature can be enabled on your device. It mentions the risks involved with installing apps from unknown sources. Tap on “OK” to enable the feature.
5. The feature should now be enabled on your device, and you may now exit out of the settings menu.
6. Now, tap on any APK file downloaded from anywhere on your device, and you should see that it installs without any issues. As long as the feature for unknown sources is enabled on your device, you will be able to install APKs without any issues on the device.
Getting an app in the APK format from your friend but not being able to install it on your Android device due to system restrictions is a big pain. The guide above helps you relieve the pain and teaches you how you can install apps from outside the Play Store on your device.