Samsung's Gear VR is one of the most accessible forms of virtual reality available today because it runs right off of your Samsung phone. Initially, there are plenty of apps that you can download from the Oculus Store, or the Google Play Store. However, if you've found an app that you want to try that isn't on the Google Play Store, or you want to check out some of the more adult apps out there, you'll need to sideload those apps on your phone.
Don't panic if you have no clue what sideloading is. We've got all the details that you'll need. Just keep scrolling and we'll explain everything.
What is Sideloading?
Your first question is probably what is sideloading. It's a fair question too, especially if you've never done it before. Sideloading is a term used for installing an application package, or APK, from an unofficial source. These are apps that are downloaded from the internet, or from a source other than the Google Play Store, or Oculus store.
That also means that these are apps that are often not checked for safety. One of the big things to remember when you start to look at sideloading, is that there is just a little more danger than with downloading an app from the Google Play Store. These apps are slightly more prone to having dangerous or malicious software embedded. So long as you practice due diligence in making sure that the apps you download are on the up and up, you should be fine. Only download from sources you trust, no matter how cool the app looks.
Why would I want to sideload an app?
When you consider there are hundreds of apps available for download through the Google Play Store if you want to access Cardboard apps on your Gear VR and even more in the Oculus Store for fun VR times, why go through a third party? It turns out you can't access everything though the Google Play and Oculus stores, and that's the big reason people like sideloading.
There are three basic reasons that you would want to sideload an app. If you are developing your own apps, then sideloading means that you can test them out before they are released to the general public. The same goes for getting involved in beta testing a new application. The third reason — and the most likely reason you're reading this — if you are looking for a type of app that isn't available on those official stores, like adult apps or apps that haven't, or wouldn't, get approval to be in app stores.
What do I need to do to sideload an app?
Unlike normal apps you sideload onto an Android phone, Gear VR apps need a helper so you can actually use them in the Oculus interface. The app that you want is the Sideload VR. Once you download and open Sideload VR, you'll need to follow the directions within the app to get it properly set up. Thankfully, those directions are extremely easy to follow, so if this is your first time sideloading, it's super simple to set up.
Sideload VR has been around for a long time and officially supports Galaxy phones up to the S7. If you download the app on a newer phone such as the S8 or S8 plus you will see a warning that the phone isn't supported. Reviews from users trying to use Sideload VR on these phones are mixed but in our testing it worked well.
The second thing that you'll need to do is enable download of third party apps.
- Open Settings.
- Select Lock screen and security.
- Toggle Unknown sources to on.
- Press OK on the warning.
Remember that when you download apps from unofficial sources you're accepting the responsibility for downloading apps that aren't as secure as the ones on the Google Play Store.
SideloadVR is an app that is run by a single individual, and sometimes during busy times their site or downloads can get overloaded by requests. If you get timeouts, just try again later.
Go have fun!
Sideloading gives you some much-needed flexibility in the kind of content you have access to on your Gear VR. Whether you're looking to experience porn in VR or you're testing out a crazy new app that isn't quite fully baked yet, you are now good to go. Do you have more questions about sideloading? Ask away in the comments below!
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