How to Side-Load Apps on Android TV

How to Side-Load Apps on Android TV

Android TV is great for streaming, especially if you have an Nvidia Shield TV. However, maybe you want to put on a video or two and watch on Kodi? How would we go about doing that you might ask?

Thankfully we have a few methods for this, but some can be more involved than others. I’m here to help guide you through the different ways we can side-load apps, games, and files.


Method 1: USB Flash Drive/Portable Hard Drive

USB Drive


Assuming your system comes with a USB socket, you can likely plug in a USB stick without any trouble. One thing you’ll need to have is a File Manager to get the most out of your USB Stick. Nvidia themselves have a list of recommended USB Drives to use for your Nvidia Shield TV which includes 2 USB 3.0 Ports.



When you use a USB Stick or Portable Hard Drive on the Shield TV, you’re given the option of using it as internal (Formatted to only be used with the Shield TV, but you can use it to store apps or other data on it) or as external (generally read only, but removable and viewable by other systems).

Most of the Android TV boxes have a USB Female adapter, but the Nexus Player only has a female Micro USB adapter. You’d have to get a Micro USB male to female adapter from places like Amazon.


OTG Cables


There are a few File Explorers, like Total Commander or X-Plore that can be downloaded via the Play Store. They should let you go into your flash drive and copy data over if needed.


Method 2: Air-Share and Air-Launch.


Air Share App

So, this app is used on your phone or tablet and your Android TV Device. Specifically, Air-Share on both devices will allow you to pair them up, and then copy the files over. Load the file on your tablet, send it to the Android TV Device, on the Android TV device you’ll see a prompt for receiving the file. Accept it and the file is sent over via WiFi/Internet. This should work with all Android TV devices.

Developer: BlackSpruce
Price: Free+

Method 3: Use WiFi feature with a File Explorer

There are a few file explorers mentioned, but I’d probably stay away from ES File Explorer due to the pretty crappy bloatware that it installs on your system. Solid Explorer will do the trick though.

The link below will have more information on Solid Explorer.

Solid Explorer

Closing Notes

And that’s about all there is to it.

Some notes though. Since most apps are NOT designed with Android TV in mind, you might have some issues with navigation and apps being in portrait mode rather than landscape mode.

If you have a Shield TV, the right joystick on the Shield TV controller will also act as a mouse input. That should help you with navigating apps that generally require touch input. But there’s really no way of fixing portrait to landscape mode on a TV.