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How to Install Apps from Unknown Sources on Android

The procedure to enable installation from unknown sources may differ depending on the version of Android OS you are running on your device.

By Myra Ozerova


Unknown sources as part of the Android Operative system, there is a restriction that blocks installing applications outside the Google Play Store.


    What is Unknown Sources?

    Unknown sources define places outside the Google Play Store from which you downloaded an apk app. Google considers its own Play Store as the only trusted source for apps to be installed on Android.

    However there are situations when you need to download unknown sources, such as apps coming from third-party marketplaces or apps that are currently in beta-testing phase. Platforms such as APKPure enable app distribution outside the Play Store and require such permissions.

    Since the early Android operating system versions, users have to explicitly approve unknown sources to be enabled in settings.

    So if you are trying to install a downloaded apk without this setting enabled, you will be prompted with this message:

    For your security, your phone is not allowed to install unknown apps from this source.

    How to enable Unknown Sources in Android?

    What should you do to proceed with the installation? To allow app/game install from Unknown Sources in Android, follow this steps:

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

    • Go to your Android Settings > Security
    • Check the option Unknown sources
    • Tap OK on the prompt message
    • Select Trust
    If you are running Android 9.0 and later, you will need to allow Unknown sources for each app willing to install an apk file. For instance if you are using two browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, you will need to allow both Chrome and Firefox to install unknown sources.

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

    • Go to your Android Settings > Apps & Notifications
    • Select Advanced or the three dots at the top-right corner – users might see either option depending on their device
    • Select Special App Access
    • Choose Install Unknown Apps
    • Select the apps you want to allow to install apk files

    How to find APKs outside Google Play Store

    Once you’ve enabled unknown sources, it’s time to download the APKs you want. Maybe you already have a site you trust for downloading APKs. If not, we recommend APKPure.com as a good place to find legal APKs of the latest or old versions of Play Store apps, free apps/games, and so on.

    You can download APKs directly through the web browser on your phone, at which point you’ll receive a message stating, “This type of file can harm your computer.” Don’t worry, if you’re getting your file from APKPure or another site you trust, then your phone’s perfectly safe.

    Download the file, then open the APK from the pull-down notification menu on your phone or by browsing the “Downloads” folder on your phone’s file manager. Tap Install and your new app/game should be ready shortly.

    You may be prompted with a warning message asking if you want to continue with the installation process; select yes and allow all necessary permissions for full installation.
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