There are several ways you can get an app from the APK file installed into your Android device.

First off, let us find out if your device was app-locked by your carrier or not. If you already know whether this is true or not, you can skip ahead.

  • go to your app drawer, and go into Android's Settings
  • select Applications
  • in Application settings there should be an Unknown sources option. If there is no such option, your device is app-locked and you need to follow the app-locked device procedure
  • if the Unknown sources option is there, you should enable it if it is not already enabled! Then follow the app-unlocked device procedure just after the line below


The app-unlocked device procedure

Follow this procedure only if you have an app-unlocked device. The Unknown sources option in Settings->Applications should already be enabled by now.

The easiest way to install an APK is to send yourself the APK file to the gmail address that your android device uses:

  • mail yourself the APK by attaching it to the email message
  • open the gmail app on your android device
  • open the message that you've just sent yourself
  • there should be an Install button next to the attachment which should start the installing process.

Another way would be to manually transfer the APK and install it:

  • get the APK to your device's SD card or internal memory. The easiest way to do this is to download the APK with your computer and then transfer the file to your android device via the USB cable
  • get a file explorer app of some sort to your android device. May I recommend Astro File Manager (just get it from the Android Market)
  • with the file explorer app, browse yourself to the APK file and select it. The installation process should begin.


The app-locked device procedure

Follow this procedure if your have an app-locked device. This procedure would work on an app-unlocked device too but there are easier ways to install an APK to an unlocked device.

An app-locked device is a device which does not allow installation of third-party APK files unless they come from the Android Market. These lockouts are usually done by the carriers. If you want to install an APK file to such a device you need a computer with a side-loading program. Follow this procedure:

  • get a side-loading program for your computer. A good one is the AndroidCentral Sideload Wonder Machine (SWM). It's for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • get the SWM for your operating system (you might have to be registered on the AndroidCentral forums to download), unzip it to a folder
  • make sure Debugging mode is enabled on your android device. Go to the Android's Settings, then Applications, then Development. There you will find an option called USB debugging which should be enabled
  • connect your android device to your computer and wait for potential drivers to download and install
  • run the SWM, click on Choose a file, choose the APK file, and then click Go. A terminal/command prompt window should appear telling you that the installation is in process and eventually that it is successful