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The Art of the Sideload

You’re heard of uploading and downloading. But what about sideloading?

Sideloading is when you can’t directly install certain software onto a device, so you install it indirectly through a “middleman” device. The most common example is if you want to install an Android app on an iPhone, or an iPhone app on a Blackberry, and so forth. With certain special software, you can download a modified version of the app to your computer instead, and then transfer the app from your computer to your phone via a USB connection.

For example, let’s say you want to use Spotify on your Blackberry. There is no Blackberry-compatible Spotify app, but there are certain websites where Blackberry users have coded their own modified apps. You can go to the Google Chrome Store on your laptop, download the Blackberry Playbook App Manager, sync the App Manager with your phone via a USB connection, then download a modified Spotify app to your laptop, and then install the app onto your phone by clicking and dragging it into the App Manager. It’s a bit of a pain (just because it’s harder than downloading Spotify with one click at the normal app store), but all the heavy lifting has already been done for you by the kind souls who coded the modified app for Blackberry.

Please be advised that you might need to sideload new versions of your app every so often, because sideloaded apps don’t update automatically, and over time they can become incompatible with newer systems. (If the folks at Spotify don’t design a basic app for Blackberry, they certainly aren’t going to design an update for Blackberry for no reason.)

Happy sideloading!

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