How to Allow Unknown Apps on Android?

What is Unknown Sources in Android?

Unknown sources refer to locations outside of the Google Play Store from which you downloaded an APK app. Google considers its Play Store as the only reliable source for installing apps on Android.
However, there are instances when you may need to download from unknown sources, like apps from third-party marketplaces or apps in beta-testing. Platforms such as Appaloosa enable app distribution outside the Play Store and require such permissions. This method of distribution is also called sideloading.
Since early versions of Android, users have had to explicitly allow the enabling of unknown sources in settings.
If you try to install a downloaded APK without enabling this setting, you will see the following message for security reasons:
"Your phone is not allowed to install apps from this source to protect your security."

How do I turn on unknown sources on Android?

To allow apps to be downloaded from Unknown Sources, follow the steps below

For old Android versions (4.0, Lollipop 5.0, Marshmallow 6.0, Nougat 7.0)

Enabling Unknown Sources on older Android versions may vary slightly depending on the specific version of Android you have. Here is a general guide:
  • 1. Open the Settings app on your Android device.
  • 2. Scroll down and select "Security" or "Security & privacy".
  • 3. Look for the "Unknown sources" option and toggle the switch to enable it. You may need to check a box or slide a toggle, depending on your device.allow app installations from unknown sources
  • 4. A warning message will appear informing you about the potential risks of installing apps from unknown sources. Read the message and proceed if you understand the risks and still wish to enable Unknown Sources.
  • 5. Once enabled, you will be able to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store.

For New Android Versions (Oreo, Pie, Android 10, 11 and 12)

Enabling Unknown Sources on newer Android versions (Android 8.0 Oreo and later) follows a slightly different process. Here's a guide to enabling Unknown Sources on new Android versions:
  • 1. Open the Settings app on your Android
  • 2. Scroll down and select "Apps & notifications" or "Apps".android-install-unknown-apps
  • 3. Depending on your device, you may need to tap on "Advanced" or "three dots at the top-right corner" to access additional
  • 4. Look for and select "Special app access" or a similar option.Special access
  • 5. Locate and tap on "Install unknown apps" or "Unknown sources".android-install-unknown-apps
  • 6. You will see a list of apps that can install unknown apps. Select the app you want to enable (e.g., Chrome, File Manager).
  • 7. Toggle the switch next to the selected app to enable "Allow from this source".android-install-unknown-apps-allow-from-this-source
Once you've enabled Unknown Sources for the specific app, you can install APK files from outside the Google Play Store using that app.
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