How to install unknown sources on Android

How to install unknown sources on Android

August 26, 2019

One of the security features of Android devices is that users are not allowed to install apps which are not from Google Play Store. Therefore, it would be hard for you to install APK files on your phone. Don't worry, we will guide you on how to allow unknown sources on Android.

What are “ Unknown Sources”?

As we said above, unknown sources are outside sources from Google Play. If you download an APK file on your Android device for the first time, you will see this notification:

Unknown Sources Notification

If you want to download an app but your Google Play doesn’t work, it’s compulsory to use an APK file of this app. So, how will you go about overcoming this prompt and enabling your phone to accept unknown sources to install unknown apps?

Well, actually it’s not difficult to change some settings on your phone. The steps to change security settings will be different between Android versions. Therefore, you should know what kind of Android version that you are using!

How to check the Android version of your phone?

To know the Android version of your phone, you should download AIDA64 from Google Play. In this post, we will take Google Pixel XL as an example. After installing, from the main interface of AIDA64, choose Android and you will see Android Version. As you can see in the picture below, our device is using Android 9 (Pie).

Android Version

Many people care about installing “unknown sources Android 8” and “unknown sources Android 9”. As we said before, steps to help your phone install apps from unknown sources are different between Android versions. It means that enable unknown sources on Android 8 or Android 9 won’t be the same as on Android 7 or Android 5. Therefore, whether you are using Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi or Vivo, you just only need to pay attention to your Android version.

Enable Unknown Sources on Android 7.0 and lower

In fact, the exact name of the settings listed below may vary slightly from device to device, but the overall process is similar. To begin, go to Settings on the menu of your phone, then look for Security/Lock screen and security/ Security & Privacy.

Go to Settings


Scroll down and simply toggle the switch next to "Unknown Sources". Then, a pop up will appear and you just need to tap "OK"

Enable Unknown Sources

That's done! Now your phone can install unknown apps from unknown sources. It is easy, isn't it?

Enable Unknown Sources on Android 8.0 and higher

From Android 8.0 Oreo, the process to change security has changed dramatically. The old "Unknown Sources" setting was removed and replaced with a permission that you need to grant to individual apps. Therefore, if you are using Android 8.0 Oreo and Android 9.0 Pie, you can not follow the same steps to enable "Unknown Sources" as on Android 7.0 Nougat.

It means that if you download an APK with Google Chrome, you will need to give Chrome permission to install that APK file. So do Samsung Internet and other browsers. By this way, the malware will no longer be sneaked onto your device through apps. We really highly appreciate this high-security level of Google. 

Whenever you download an APK file via a browser for the first time, the system will send you a prompt. You just only need to tap "Setting" on this prompt and then toggle the switch next to "Allow from this source" on the screen.

Enable Unknown Sources


Next, you hit the back button to come back to the browser and continue downloading and installing apk files.

Another way to do for most phones are going to Settings on your menu > Apps and Notifications> Advanced> Special App Access> Install Unknown Apps.

Enable Unknown Sources on Android 8.0 and higher

If you are using Samsung, steps will be different. Go to Settings on your menu > Biometrics and Security> Install Unknown Apps. Then, select a browser that you usually use and switch the white "Allow from this source" to blue.

Enable Unknown Sources on Samsung


Another quicker way to do on Samsung is going to Settings > Apps, then tap the menu button at the top right corner and choose "Special Access". Then, select "Install Unknown Apps".

Unknown Sources samsung a7 2018

Now you can choose an app to grant permission to download unknown sources. If you want to revoke the permission, simply toggle the switch off so that the browser won't install other apps.

Unknown Sources

In fact, installing apps from unknown sources may be dangerous for your phone. Therefore, you should consider downloading apk from a reputable and trusted source like our website to protect your phone.

Hope that our post helps you enable “Unknown Sources” successfully on your Android phone. If you still encounter problems, let’s contact us and we will try our best to help you. Good luck to you!

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