How to Sideload Apps on to the Ouya

How to Sideload Apps on to the Ouya

Jul 2, 2013

The Ouya released rather recently, and there’s been complaints about the lack of content on there: there’s hundreds of games and a selection of non-game apps right now, but there are plenty of notable omissions. Of course, half the fun of the Ouya is that it’s an open Android device, and getting apps that aren’t yet on the Ouya store to your console is a breeze. Here’s how to sideload apps on to the Ouya.

How to Sideload

The Ouya interface doesn’t make it immediately clear how to install your own apps. Your best bet is to install a file manager and then install apps from there. Do just that. Go to the Ouya’s Make menu, and go to Software. Open up the browser. Now, download Astro v3 from Metago’s web page. Back out to the main menu and go to Manage, System, Advanced, which takes you to the default Android settings. From here, open Storage, Downloads. Install Astro. It will now be listed next to the browser in the Make/Software menu.


Copy the apps to your Ouya by plugging it in to your computer and copying them anywhere, though I recommend creating an Apps folder. You can copy while the system is on and in use. Now open up Astro, and using the touchpad on the Ouya controller, choose Manage My Files. Go to the folder with the app you want to install and chose Install. Follow the dialogue to install the app. Assuming that it’s a non Ouya-optimized one, it will appear in the Make/Software menu. Now just launch the app, and you’re good to go.


The easiest way to get APKs for yourself is to back the app up using a file manager. Astro has the ability to back up apps to APKs, as does File Expert. Both apps have Backup Apps options on their main screens. Get the APK files they create off of your device and on to your Ouya!


Apps that aren’t optimized for the Ouya’s controls and settings will be hit or miss. Here’s a few apps I tried from across the spectrum that show the postives and drawbacks of sideloading on Ouya.

MLB At Bat: Works normally! The d-pad works for some actions, and video playback is not as high-quality as it could be, but the app works perfectly well with the Ouya.

Netflix: The app runs, and video can be watched, but only if an advanced setting to kill all processes as they are quit is disabled. The Ouya has this setting enabled so that background processes don’t slow down game performance. Short answer: until an Ouya-optimized version is released, no Netflix for you. You’ll just have to play it on one of the dozen other devices you own that can play back Netflix.

OnLive: The streaming game service is still alive! And it works great on Ouya despite not being there at launch. The only issue that arises is that because the Ouya controller lacks the standard Start/Select buttons of most HID controllers (which the Ouya controller seems to work as) that some controls in some games will not work.

Metal Slug 3: These faulty controls rear their ugly head here. Try continuing when running out of lives while using the Ouya controller. You can’t. Thankfully Xbox controllers work with the Ouya, but this does limit what the Ouya controller can do.

While sideloading is an imperfect experience, there’s still plenty of unofficial functionality that can be added to the Ouya if you’re clever. Sideload away, and let us know if you find anything that works particularly well!

AT&T Phones to Finally Have Sideloading Enabled

AT&T Phones to Finally Have Sideloading Enabled

May 9, 2011

One of the biggest problems with AT&T and Android has been their lack of sideloading applications on their phones. However, AT&T has announced that along with a variety of new Android phones including ones with hardware keyboards, they will enable sideloading in the future. This means that AT&T users should be able to enable ‘installation of non-Market applications’ in the near future. The first phone confirmed to have this feature is the incoming Samsung Infuse 4G. According to AT&T senior vice president of mobile devices, Jeff Bradley, the decision to disable the option to sideload applications was done in part for user security, and in part because AT&T couldn’t remove any ‘bad apps’ that might be installed. Of course, sideloading is a setting that must be enabled by the user, apps always prompt when they are being installed, and simply making this an option would have been the simplest option for users. Of course, power users have always been able to root and install custom roms that support sideloading and other features.

A big reason for this change might be the Amazon Appstore. It works through sideloading applications to the phone that are sold through Amazon’s storefront on their store. This has been unavailable to legitimate AT&T users, and it has offered paid apps for free on a daily basis, as well as cheaper prices for apps like Fruit Ninja thanks to their more flexible pricing. They sell Fruit Ninja for $0.99, whereas on the Android Market it is currently ~$1.28. Presumably, they could not sell it for $0.99 on the Android Market due to whatever base price it is set to in their region. Of course, $1.28 corresponds to more than $0.99 Australian, so why this price is what it is in the US is confusing, but the point is that region-appropriate pricing is something that the Amazon Appstore provides that the Market does not yet. This is completely avoiding the fact that Amazon is giving away paid apps on a daily basis that AT&T users are not privy to yet.

Of course, how much influence Amazon and their Appstore had on AT&T’s decision is unknown – but given Amazon’s power player status, it must have had some input on AT&T’s decision. It is good that AT&T is finally taking a step to letting their users use their phones in the way they want, though.