One of the most frustrating feelings can be discovering an app or streaming service, only to find that it doesn’t work with your Android phone, or isn’t available in your country. But don’t despair! Thanks to Android’s flexibility, there’s usually a way around these limitations, you just need to make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job.
We’re here to show you how you can install incompatible or geography-restricted APK apps on your Android.
DISCLAIMER: While the tools that we show you how to use here are powerful and effective for getting those tricky apps to work, they may not work on every single app. Sometimes you’ll find that no matter what you try, you won’t be able to use an app or two.
Virtual Private Networks or VPNs
Have you ever wondered how it is that people get access to geography-restricted apps and sites? Those of you with some internet knowledge will have perhaps already tried a VPN. This app essentially masks your geographical location and tricks it into thinking that you’re based somewhere else.
For example, say you wanted to access US Netflix from the UK. Once you’ve downloaded your VPN you have the choice to set the country of choice (in this case, the USA). This will then open up the shows that are available on US Netflix.
If you’re trying to download a specific app, you need to work out which country to set your VPN to. While you might not be able to find the app in the Play Store, if you do a quick search for the app and “play store”, you’ll be able to find the download link.
It’s important to remember that you might need to keep the VPN running while you’re using the geography-restricted app, as not all apps work outside of their area.
A lot of people have their preferences when it comes to their favorite VPN, but some of the best (as voted by TechRadar):
- Private Internet Access
An Android Package Kit, or APK
Like an EXE file for Microsoft, or Apple’s DMG files, an APK is a format that is used for installing files or programmes onto your Android phone. Doing it this way is known as sideloading – a way to find the file you want outside of the Play Store.
Please note: Before you download the file, you’ll need to make some security adjustments to your phone. This can be a risky move, unless you know who has made the app. Only try sideloading if it’s an app that you’re confident about (or proceed at your own caution).
Click through to your phone’s security settings, and then tap ‘Allow installation of apps from sources other than the Google Play Store’.
Then all you need to do is download the APK file and tap it to install. It will ask you to confirm, and once you have, it should run like any other Android app.