Guide to installing Downloader on your Android TV Box and using the application to download and install APKs to sideload content into your streaming device.
The Google Play Store makes finding and installing the apps that you want for your Android TV Box easy, but you may soon discover that not all the apps that you want to install are available there.
We aren’t just talking about obscure apps. Some apps that you might consider fundamental, such as Google Chrome, aren’t available in the Google Play Store for Android TV, but this doesn’t mean that you have to give up and settle on not having certain desirable apps on your box. You can download the app APKs directly and sideload them onto your box.
While there are many ways to do this, the simplest is using the Downloader app.
In this article, we will explain how to install the Downloader app onto your Android TV box and give it permission to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store. We will also take you through how to sideload an app using Downloader. Finally, we’ll share a list of some of the best apps that you might consider sideloading onto your Android TV box.
What Does The Downloader App Do?
Downloader was developed by programmers who wanted to be able to download apps designed for Android onto their devices without having to jump through the hoops of putting their APK in the app store.
It is often used by developers who are want to install apps that they are developing, but it is also used by people who don’t feel like their selection of apps should be limited by Google and their app store rules and restrictions.
The app is simple. It has basic browser functionality that lets you navigate to the URLs on the web where the APKs for apps that you want are hosted. Downloader then lets you download these APKs directly from the web onto your device, and then install the APKs so that they will function like any other app that you have on your TV box.
How To Download & Install Downloader
Unlike many of the apps that you will want to install with Downloader, it is available in the Google Play Store. It is also available in alternative app stores such as the Amazon Store, Aptoide TV store, and APKpure.
Because of this, the simplest way to install Downloader is just to search for it in the Google Play Store and install it like you would any other app. Make sure you get the right app, as there are many out there with similar names. It is officially called “Downloader by AFTVNews.”
While downloading the app is easy, there are a few extra steps to take to enable it to do what it is supposed to do on your Android TV box. Specifically, you need to change your settings to allow the install of apps from locations other than the Google Play Store; otherwise, you will be blocked when you do try to install apps with Downloader.
Head to your Settings menu and choose Device Preferences. There you will find Security & Restrictions. Here you will find a sub-menu called Unknown Sources and use the toggle to give yourself permission to install apps from sources other than the Play Store. You may be able to do this for your device generally, or you may need to do it for apps on an individual basis. For example, you can permit this for Downloader and Aptoide TV, but restrict it for Google Chrome.
Using Downloader To Install APKs
Once this is done, using the Downloader app to install other apps directly using their APKs is a pretty straightforward process.
When you first open the Downloader app, you will be asked to verify permission to access photos, media, and files on your device. You will have to enable this for Downloader to be able to download and install content.
The first time you use the app it will also show you a Quick Start Guide. It will give you the information that we are providing here in less detail, but if you are an experienced techie that may be all that you need.
Once you arrive on the Home screen, you will find a familiar-looking search box. If you know the URL of the APK that you want, you can put it here and it will take you directly to the site for download, but you can also browse via keywords if necessary.
To get this functionality working, you will need to sideload the Downloader Browser Plugin, which may be the first app that you sideload using Downloader. The app provides you with the URL for accessing and downloading the plug-in; just pop the URL into Downloader.
Once you have put the URL in the browser, just hit go and then download the APK.
Once the APK has been downloaded, you will be asked whether you want to Install the APK, Delete it, or simply be Done to come back later.
If you choose to install it, you will see an all-white screen and will be asked to verify whether you really want to install the APK. If you are installing anything that requires special permission, you will also be asked to verify these at this point.
Then it is just a matter of waiting a few minutes until the installation is done. You will receive a message that says “App Installed” and you will have the opportunity to hit Done to return to the main Home screen of the app.
You may find that you return to the App Installed screen after you hit Done. This can be a bit confusing, but it is just a strange glitch in the app.
Once you have installed the APK file, it is a good idea to delete the installation file that you no longer need. This just saves space on your device. You will be given this opportunity when you return; just hit Delete. If you want to keep the file for some reason, hit Done instead.
If you choose to use the browser to find your APK, use the D-pad to navigate around the Home screen, and an online keyboard will pop up when you need to type in search terms. Of course, you also have the opportunity to upgrade to an air mouse or keyboard remote as well.
You can access all the files that you have downloaded using Downloader in the File section on the left-hand menu. You can also access them using a file navigator. You can choose where you save files on your device in this area.
You can also access the settings for the app on the left-hand side. You shouldn’t need to adjust this much, but they are here if you do find that you have trouble.
You can find specific instructions on using Downloader on Fire TV here.
How To Check If An APK Is Safe?
We can generally feel confident when downloading apps from the Play Store, as they have been security-checked by the Android team, but this is not the case when you sideload and install APKs. You will need to do this step yourself.
The first step is often to have a quick look around forums. If you are downloading the most popular apps there will be a community of people who have already installed the app and will be able to provide links to safe versions of the APK to download. You will also learn pretty quickly if there is an APK that you need to steer clear of.
Apps Worth Sideloading Onto Your Android TV Box
You might be asking yourself whether Downloader is really worth it and if there are that many apps that you will want to sideload onto your device.
Consider the following apps that aren’t available in the apps store but that could be very useful for your Android TV box.
While there is a Google Chrome app for your smartphone, you will find that you are blocked from downloading this onto a TV box. Why? It is designed to work with a touch screen, so it won’t work as expected with a TV box. To use Chrome with a TV box you need the web version, and you will need to install this via the APK.
This app not only gives you access to some of the latest movies and shows, but also allows you to download items onto your internal or external storage. This is ideal if you have a weak internet connection. You can leave your box downloading when you aren’t around and then watch later with no buffering issues.
If you are looking for streaming content in multiple languages, this app is very helpful. You can apply subtitles in languages such as French, Spanish, German, and Arabic.
This is another app that exists for Android smartphones, but not Android TV. Fans of the game will love playing this on the big screen, and since the smartphone app works pretty seamlessly on TV, it is curious that it isn’t available.
Is the Downloader App free?
Yes, the Downloader App is free to download from the Google Play Store.
How do you use Downloader?
Once you have installed the Downloader app you can use it to install APKs in much the same way as you use the Play Store. Search for the APKs that you want using the search bar, and then download the APK. You will be asked if you want to install the app, and when you say yes, the app takes care of the rest for you. Just remember to delete the installation file when you are done to save space on your device.
Is Downloader on Google Play?
Yes, the Downloader app is available from the Google Play Store. You will also find it in most other app stores including Amazon and Aptoide TV.
Is it safe to sideload apps?
It is generally considered safe to download apps from the Play Store, as they have been security-checked as part of the submission process; however, when you sideload apps you need to do the due diligence on checking the APK yourself. Make sure you have a quick look at forums before downloading an APK just to see whether the community has detected any problems.
It is illegal to sideload apps?
It is not illegal to sideload apps. You can do whatever you want with your hardware once you have purchased it. The download restrictions that exist on Android devices are to protect users from downloading dangerous applications that can damage your device, and, of course, Google also uses this to limit competition to their flagship apps. Regardless, sideloading is certainly not illegal.
While you will find most of the apps that you want for your Android TV box in the Google Play Store, you will occasionally find that there are apps that you want to install that aren’t available there. You can easily download and install these apps using Downloader.
You can install the Downloader app from the Google Play Store, and then use it to download and install APKs for applications that aren’t available there. Once it is set up, installing APKs here is about as simple as installing them from the Play store. Just make sure to activate the right permissions before you get started.
Do you use Downloader to sideload apps onto your TV box? Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.