How to Sideload Android Apps on Chromebook without Developer Mode

As a Chromebook user, I have often found myself wanting to access Android apps that are not available on the Google Play Store for Chromebook. Fortunately, sideloading Android apps onto a Chromebook without enabling Developer Mode is entirely feasible by using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the process of setting up ADB on your Chromebook and installing Android APKs without the need for Developer Mode.

Set Up ADB on Chromebook

The first step in sideloading Android apps on your Chromebook is setting up the Android Debug Bridge. ADB is a versatile command-line tool that enables you to communicate with your Android device or emulator. While Chromebooks do not support ADB natively, you can install it using the Linux container feature.

To begin, ensure that your Chromebook is running Chrome OS 80 or later, as this version includes native support for Linux. Once you have verified the OS version, enable the Linux (Beta) feature in the Chrome OS settings. This will initiate the installation of a Debian-based virtual machine on your Chromebook. After the installation is complete, open the Terminal from the app drawer and run the following command to install the ADB tools:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

With the ADB tools successfully installed, you can now connect your Android device to your Chromebook using a USB cable. To verify that your device is recognized, enter the following command in the Terminal:

adb devices

If your device is listed, you are now ready to proceed with installing Android APKs on your Chromebook.

Install Android APK on Chromebook

Now that ADB is set up on your Chromebook and your Android device is connected, you can proceed with installing Android APKs without the need for Developer Mode. Begin by downloading the APK file of the app you wish to sideload onto your Chromebook. Once the APK is downloaded, navigate to the directory where it is saved using the Terminal.

Next, ensure that your Android device is connected to your Chromebook and is recognized by ADB. Then, enter the following command in the Terminal to install the APK onto your device:

adb install /path/to/your/app.apk

Replace /path/to/your/app.apk with the actual file path of the APK you downloaded. After executing the command, ADB will install the APK on your connected Android device. You can now access the sideloaded app on your Chromebook through the Play Store or the app drawer.


Can I sideload any Android app onto my Chromebook without Developer Mode?

While sideloading Android apps onto a Chromebook without Developer Mode is possible, it is essential to note that certain apps may not function optimally due to the differences in hardware and software between Chromebooks and traditional Android devices. Additionally, some apps may be incompatible with the Chrome OS environment, leading to limited functionality or performance issues.

Is there a risk of security or stability issues when sideloading Android apps on Chromebook?

Sideloading Android apps onto a Chromebook using ADB does not inherently pose a significant risk to the security or stability of the device. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when downloading APK files from third-party sources, as they may contain malware or other security threats. Additionally, compatibility issues with certain apps may result in stability concerns, although these are typically isolated cases.

Can I uninstall sideloaded Android apps from my Chromebook?

Yes, you can uninstall sideloaded Android apps from your Chromebook just as you would uninstall any other app. Simply navigate to the app in the app drawer or the Play Store, right-click on the app icon, and select the option to uninstall. Alternatively, you can use the ADB command adb uninstall <package-name> in the Terminal to remove the app from your Chromebook.