How to Sideload apps on the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV using Downloader

Google’s new 2020 Chromecast with Google TV has changed a lot about the underlying Android TV operating system that it runs on, but what hasn’t changed too much is the ability to sideload apps. Sideloading, which is the process of installing APK app files from a source other than the Google Play Store, is possible on the new Chromecast, but Google makes you jump through a few more steps than was previously necessary on Android TV. Here is a step-by-step guide for how to sideload apps using Downloader on the Chromecast with Google TV.

Video Guide

Written Guide

  1. Find and install the Downloader app by searching for “Downloader app” using either the voice serach or the text search. You need to include “app” in your search or else it won’t come up. An alternative way to find the app is to go to the “Apps” tab and scroll down to the “Tools” category. Downloader should be one of the first apps listed.
  2. Once the app is installed, don’t bother launching it yet. You first need to enable dveloper mode so that you can allow Downloader to install apps form unknown sources. To do so, go to the device’s Settings screen. You can get there by either selecting your circle profile icon in the upper right of the home screen, or by pressing and holding the Home button on your remote to bring u the same menu.
  3. Once you’re on the Settings screen, navigate to “System” and then to the “About” menu.
  4. Scroll down to the “Android TV OS Build” item at the very bottom and repeatedly select it over and over. Nothing will happen at first as you select the menu item, but eventially a message at the bottom will appear saying that “You are now [#] steps away from being a developer.” Keep selecting the “Android TV OS Build” menu item until you see “You are now a developer!” at the bottom of the screen.
  5. You can now enable Downloader to install apps from unknwon sources. You do this by navigating to Settings > Apps > Security & Rescrictions > Unknown Sources. From there, select Downloader to flip the setting to “Allowed.”
  6. Now you can launch Downloader. Do so by finding the icon at the end of the “Your Apps” list on the “For You” screen or the “Apps” screen.
  7. Once Downloader opens, select “Allow” to grant permission for Downloader to save and access files. You must do this or you won’t be able to download anything. If you accidentaly deny the permission, you can grant it form the Settings > Apps > Permissions > Storage menu.
  8. If what you are downloading is on a website, you’re going to need to install the Downloader Browser Plugin, otherwise, all you can do is download files by entering their full and direct URL. To install the plugin, simply enter into the URL filed and select Go.
  9. Once the plugin downloads, select “Install” to install it. After it installs, select “Done” and then you should select “Delete” to remove the plugin apk since you don’t need it anymore.
  10. You can now navigate to the Browser section of Downloader and enter the URL for the file that you want to download. You can also just enter a search term directly into the URL field to perform a Google search.
  11. Use the on-screen cursor to click on the file to start the download.
  12. When the AK finishes downloading, select “Install” to sideload the app. Once it finishes installing, select “Open” to launch the newly installed app.

  1. TechyChris says:

    I really want to get one of these BUT the OCD in me is saying NO to the colors: “Apple White” “Baby Blue” and “Salmon” ?????(my nicknames)
    I read this is due to the minimal “ECO Footprint” Google wanted. Any electronic device made of black plastic requires the use of a VERY nasty substance called “Carbon Black” which is a major pollutant. I have a friend that works for a chemical company that produces this stuff and his running joke is you would be better of dipping your hands in plutonium!

  2. clocks says:

    One issue I have with this device is when trying to setup Kodi, it does not see my servers on SMB. I had the same issue with the Tivo Stream before I returned it. Anyone have this issue?

  3. IanG says:

    In kodi, I had to add a network location like smb://NASServer with a username and password, and could then browse to that to add the regular shared folders.

  4. John117 says:

    Is it possible to install APKs on the new Chromecast using ADB ?

  5. VG says:

    the app got installed and opened. but once i exited the app – I can no longer see them on the installed apps section. Anyone faced this issue?

  6. Katoz says:

    Go to apps and scroll to the see all tab. Its there

  7. TF says:

    I really want to use a browser on the Chromecast with google tv. I tried to use the downloader to install Chrome but it does not work.

    Actually the build-in browser of Downloader saved me that it works pretty well. However, it fails to enter full screen mode for the video in a webpage. Could you please fix it?

    By the way, can you reduce the speed of cursor movement a bit? It’s hard to control since too fast.

  8. Jot. says:

    OMG thank you!

  9. HvB says:

    Als ik een link gevonden heb dan wil ik de link kunnen aanklikken met de afstandsbediening van de chromecast+google tv. Dit is gewoon niet mogelijk de cusor springt de hoeken in jekan dan helemaal geen regels aanklikken door dat de cusor alleen van de bovenste hoek naar de onderste hoek gaat en van links naar rechts en weer naar boven. Hoe kan ik dit verhelpen om de cusor per regel in te stellen? Dit komt alleen voor in downloader in Browser en dus bij link zoeken en aanklikken.

  10. Cat Herber says:

    Does not allow me to install apps directly to my android tv. I can only watch the apps via aftvnews browser which is not very user friendly – especially the red circle cursor. When I go to Google play store and dowoad an app, I have to sign into my Google acct. Google thus prevents me from installing the not yet approved for Android tv app. The Great courses plus app. A video streaming subscription app that I can watch on every device EXCEPT my tvs.

  11. Harry Broom says:

    I am in the UK & bought the new Chromecast from Google when it first arrived & took advantage of 6 months Netflix subs which saved me around £25. That was the good bit. 1st problem was with Bluetooth. After you paired say a pair of headphones, then used them on another device you could only get connected by doing the pairing all over again – they forgot the connect button! How did they foul that up? The number of apps for the UK market is garbage. If I compare my SD Firestick with 21 apps I can only have 13 of them from the Google TV store. The rest I have to cast unless I can find a way to sideload from the Google Android store or the Amazon store. That should be fun if it’s possible. looks like I may need to buy a new 4K Firestick. That way I’ll get the performance boost. Now my Pixel 4g that’s another story. Google seem to be going through a phase of getting a good idea & fouling it up.

  12. Mark says:

    I can’t brown to

    I get the error: forbidden. Try using https if you used http

    If I add https so:

    I get the same error

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