How to Sideload Third-Party App Stores on Android

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Pretty much every Android device comes pre-loaded with Google services, which also includes the Play Store. It’s the biggest hub of Android apps and games, plus a decent collection of movies and e-books.

Most developers submit their Android apps on the Play Store for a broader range of feedback and engagement, as it’s the most prominent app storefront for the Android ecosystem. Whether you have an Android phone/tablet, Android TV, or a Wear OS smartwatch, you will most likely find Play Store installed on your Android devices.

Nowadays, popular Android device manufacturers like Samsung and Xiaomi have their own Play Store alternatives. Still, the Play Store is the safest option for you to download apps and games. However, that doesn’t refrain you and others from installing software from third-party app stores, as Android doesn’t have the same level of restrictions as iOS.

In case your new Android device doesn’t have the Play Store, or you are in search of third-party Play Store alternatives, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Popular Play Store alternatives

Here are a few popular Play Store alternatives that you may or may not have heard about before:

  • APKPure: Founded in 2014, its apps and games library is more or less the same as the Play Store. However, you can download region-locked apps and games that you won’t likely get access to in the Play Store.
  • Amazon Appstore: Comes pre-installed on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV devices. Since the storefront is offered by none other than Amazon, it’s a safe Play Store alternative to use.
  • Aptoide: It claims to have a 300 million user base, with millions of apps and games at its disposal. It’s an open-source app store, offering both official and third-party software.
  • F-Droid: One of the oldest Android app stores to this date. It offers free and open-source apps, which you probably won’t find on the Play Store.

How to sideload third-party app stores on Android?

If you are on your Android phone or tablet, sideloading a third-party app store is easy enough. For reference, we’ll show you how to install the Amazon Appstore. Just follow the steps below.

  1. First, open Chrome or any other web browser on your device, and go to this Amazon Appstore download page.
  2. Tap the Get Amazon Appstore button. A pop-up warning message should appear from the bottom of the screen. Tap OK to proceed.
  3. Once the Amazon Appstore APK file finishes downloading, another pop-up box should show up below. Tap Open to continue.
  4. Assuming you haven’t done this before, you should see a dialog box regarding your device not allowing Chrome (or your preferred browser) to install unknown apps. Tap Settings to proceed.
  5. Toggle-on the slider next to Allow from this source option.
  6. After that, return to your browser window and tap Install. Amazon Appstore shouldn’t take more than a minute to install.
  7. Finally, tap Done to close the installer, or tap Open to launch the Amazon Appstore immediately. You can open it from your app drawer as well.

Upon launching the Amazon Appstore, follow the on-screen instructions and complete the first-time setup process. After that, you can choose to install any app or game from the catalog.

For the first time, you will need to allow Amazon Appstore to install unknown apps on your Android phone or tablet, similar to what we just showed above.

Following the same steps, you will be able to install F-Droid, Aptoide, APKPure, and other popular third-party Android app stores on your device.

Wrapping up

That’s how you can sideload Play Store alternatives on your Android device. If you are using an Android TV, check out our guide to sideloading apps on Android TV. You can go through the steps in the following guide to install a third-party app store on your Android TV or set-top box.

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