How to install non-Google Play Store apps on your Chromebook

Sometimes an Android app you want to install on your Chromebook may just not be available on the Google Play Store. This could be because it’s incompatible, or because the app developer has labeled it as such because the experience on your device isn’t exactly how they prefer to present it.

While it’s admirable, you may just want the damn thing installed so you can use it, bugs and all. Today, I’m going to show you how you can install apps from outside the Play Store on your Chromebook without switching to developer mode.

A quick note on this though: if you do this, you’re potentially putting yourself at risk with app bundles from bad actors, so proceed with caution and only install apps you know from developers you trust. Okay, let’s continue.

what you will need

To get started, you’ll need your Chromebook (of course), and you must also have Linux enabled on your device. you can do that for following our quick tutorial. Once you’re up and running with that, just go ahead and grab the app you want to install. We recommend going exclusively to APK Mirror as all your uploads have been scanned and approved for security. However, if you are trying to install Fortnite or something like that, you can download other applications from their source website.

This is an incredibly useful thing to know as a Chromebook owner looking to take advantage of different apps on their laptop, especially since many game developers just don’t transfer their experiences to larger screens. We’re looking at you, Apex Legends! Unfortunately, I tried to install Apex and it still didn’t work because the developers forced the game to check for play store integration, so your mileage may vary.

Android debugging settings

Ok, so you have configured Linux support and you also have your application to install. First things first, you’ll want to go into the Files app and rename it to something simple. Be sure to leave the “.apk” at the end, as that is the extension. Then drag and drop that file to the left sidebar of the Files app into the “Linux Files” folder.

Go to the Settings app on your Chromebook and click on the “Linux (Beta)” section. Next, click “Develop Android Apps” and press the blue button shown in the popup dialog. It should say “Restart and continue”.

Your device will reboot, and after doing so, you will see the following screen confirming whether or not you want to “Enable ADB debugging”. This is generally intended for developers who want to install early test versions of their apps locally before distributing them to the masses, but we’ll use it to force-install apps for our own needs.

Of course, you’ll tap the blue “Confirm” button to continue. Although you will see a red message at the bottom of the login screen stating “This device may contain apps that have not been verified by Google”, you can still log in as usual before proceeding. Again, only install apps you know from developers you trust and this won’t be a problem.

Now the technical part. Open the “Terminal” app from your Chromebook launcher and type “sudo apt install adb“. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard and wait. You may be prompted to confirm the ADB installation by typing the “Y” key and pressing Enter again.

The next thing you’ll type once you’ve finished installing ADB is “adb connection arc“. This will connect you to the Android debugging tool so you can tell it to install your .apk file that is currently waiting for you in your Files app Linux folder.

A popup should appear asking if you want to “Allow USB Debugging”, and it will obviously say “OK”. Here’s the final step: Back in the Terminal app, type the following, replacing what’s in the parentheses with the name of your app that’s in your Linux files (don’t include the brackets, either).

adb installation [name of your app].apk

Write this for devices with ARM processor

adb -s emulator-5554 install [name of your app].apk

Write this for Intel or AMD processors

That is all! You should get a message that your app is installing. Once you’re done, you’ll find the newly installed app with its icon on your Chromebook’s launcher. I would love to know in the comments which app you needed or decided to install and whether or not it had Play Store protection and was not running due to the need for a key. Again, Apex Legends clearly didn’t work for us, but I imagine plenty of others will do just fine.

I just want the steps!

1. Enable Linux support on your Chromebook
two. Discharge any application file (APK) you want to install
3. Open the Files app Y rename application file (leave “.apk” at the end!)
Four. Drag and drop the application file in “Linux files
5. Open the Settings app and navigate to “developers
6. Click on “Linux Development Environment”
7. Select “Develop Android Apps”
8. Let your Chromebook restart and allow adb debugging
9. return to log and open the “Terminalapp
10. Type “sudo apt install adb” and hit get into
11. If asked, type “Y” and hit get into to confirm the installation
12. Type “adb connection arc” and hit get into
13. Type “adb installation [name of your app].apk
14. If that doesn’t work, type “adb -s emulator-5554 install [name of your app].apk
14 Open your new app from your Chromebook launcher!

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