Sideload Android Apps on Chromebook without Developer Mode

Developer Mode allows you to sideload Android apps on your Chromebook. However, it also weakens the security of Chrome OS. Though besides Developer Mode, you can also install Android apps from the Play Store but it is not supported on all Chromebook models. So, to make it easy for developers to install and test their Android apps on Chromebook, Google extended support for sideloading Android APKs with the release of Chrome OS version 80.

So, after you update your Chromebook to the latest version, you will be able to install Android apps using APK files. And you won’t have to compromise the security of the Chromebook anymore. You just have to switch your Chromebook from Stable to Dev Channel. It won’t wipe your data either, so, it’s not a risky choice.

SEE ALSO: How to Install Google Play Store on Windows 11 and Run Android Apps?

Install or Sideload Android APKs on Chromebook Without Developer Mode

So, as mentioned above, you have to switch your Chromebook to Dev Channel to sideload APKs. And the best part is, it won’t wipe your precious data. You just need to make sure to install the latest update of Chrome OS. Let’s check the steps in detail.

Step 1: Switch your Chromebook to Dev Channel

To switch to the Dev channel, go to Settings > About Chrome OS > Additional Settings. Here change the Chrome OS channel from Stable to Developer – unstable.

Switch To Dev Channel On Your Chromebook
Switch to Dev Channel on your Chromebook

After that go back to the About Chrome OS page and check for updates to install the latest update automatically. Now, you will be on the Dev channel with the latest release.

Step 2: Enable Linux on your Chromebook to Sideload Android Apps

After switching to the Dev channel, you also have to enable Linux on your Chromebook. For that, go to Settings, select Linux (Beta) from the left pane, and click Turn on.

Select Linux Beta From Left Pane And Click Turn On To Install Linux On Chromebook
Enable Linux on Chromebook

SEE ALSO: How to Enable or Install Linux on your Chromebook?

Step 3: Enable ADB Debugging in Chrome OS

After you have successfully set up Linux on your Chromebook, it’s time to enable ADB debugging. For that, go to Settings > Linux (Beta) > Develop Android Apps and enable the toggle for “Enable ADB Debugging“.

Enable Adb Debugging In Chromebook To Sideload Android Apps Apks
Enable ADB Debugging in Chromebook

After that, you need to restart your Chromebook. You will see an ADB prompt after reboot, click Allow to allow ADB debugging. Now, you are almost ready to sideload Android apps via APKs on your Chromebook.

NOTE: In some cases, you might not be able to turn on Enable ADB debugging toggle. In such scenarios, you will have to reset or powerwash your Chromebook.

Step 4: Install ADB Tools and Connect the Android System with Linux on your Chromebook

Next, we will have to install ADB platform tools on the Chromebook. You can use Terminal on your Chromebook to install ADB tools. Use the following command to install ADB tools on your Chromebook.

sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb
Install ADB tools in Chrome OS using Linux terminal
Install ADB tools in Chrome OS using a Linux terminal

You might also need to press “Y” when prompted. It may take some time depending upon the network speed. After that, you can connect the Android system with Linux on Chrome OS using ADB tools.

Run the following command to connect the Android system with Linux on your Chromebook. You will need an active internet connection to perform this task.

adb connect
Run Adb Connect Command To Connect Android System With Linux On Chrome Os
Connect Android System with Linux on Chrome OS

NOTE: If you get a “Permission Denied” or “Command Not Found” error, then run adb start-server command first and then run adb conect command (as mentioned above) again.

Step 5: Allow USB Debugging in Chromebook

After you run adb connect command on your Chromebook, you will see a pop-up asking you to allow USB debugging. Now, enable the checkbox for “Always allow from this computer” and click OK.

Allow Usb Debugging In Chromebook To Install Or Sideload Android Apk Apps On Chromebook
Allow USB Debugging in Chromebook

Now, we are ready with the base. We can now install or sideload Android apps using APK files on Chromebook.

NOTE: If you get the “can’t connect to connection refused” error, then go to Settings and select Apps from the left pane. After that go to Google Play Store > Manage Android Preferences > System > About Device. Now, click on “Build number” for 7-8 times continuously to enable Developer Options. After that go back to the System page and select Developer Options. Here, enable ADB Debugging to solve this error.

SEE ALSO: How to Enable USB Debugging in Android Smartphones?

Step 6: Download and Move APK Files to Linux

Finally, you can now sideload Android apps using APK files on your Chromebook without Developer Mode. First of all, download the APK file of the app that you want to install and move it to Linux Files using File Manager. In this tutorial, we have used, Firefox APK. We have also renamed the APK file to firefox.apk for simplicity.

Move Apk File To Linux Files On Your Chromebook
Move Firefox APK file to Linux Files on Chromebook

Step 7: Install the Android App on the Chromebook using the APK File

Now, it’s time to install the selected APK file on the Chromebook. We can install Android APKs on Chromebook using ADB commands in Terminal. So, type the following command and press Enter to install Firefox APK. You can install your app by replacing the firefox.apk with your APK’s name.

adb install firefox.apk
Install Apk File Using Adb Command On Your Chromebook
Install the APK file using the adb command

Step 8: Run the Android App on the Chromebook

After successfully installing Android APK on your Chromebook, it’s time to test it. So, open the App drawer and look for the app you just installed. You can run the app from there. Similarly, you can install more Android APK files on your Chromebook.

Launch Installed Firefox App From App Drawer In Chromebook
Launch Firefox from the app drawer on the Chromebook

SEE ALSO: How to Play Roblox Games on Chromebook in 2024?

Install or Sideload Android APKs on Your Chromebook

The above tutorial explained how you can sideload Android apps on Chromebooks. That too without enabling Developer Mode. Just make sure that you are running Chrome OS 80 or newer. The best part of using Linux for Android apps is that it uses the ART (Android Run Time) framework to enhance Android performance. So, you will not face any performance-related issues with your Android apps.

Hope you liked this tutorial. Feel free to share your queries and suggestions in the comment section below. You may also subscribe to get the latest updates via email.

Editorial Staff

Hi there, we are the editorial staff at WINDOSPC (former HELLPC). We are a team of funny and technical people. Feel free to get in touch with us via Contact-Us page.


  1. After putting it in dev, and completing step 1, I can’t find the “develop android apps” in the settings. It’s simply not there. What should I do?

    1. Have you tried checking for updates on the “About Chrome OS” page? This feature is supported on Chrome OS 80.0.3987.18 (Platform version: 12739.12.0) and above.

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