The procedure to sideload apps on Android-powered smartphones and tablets is simple enough. Just head over to the Settings menu and enable “Apps from Unknown Sources.” Unfortunately, it’s not as simple on Chrome OS. Users have to jump through several hoops before the OS lets them install Android APKs from a source other than the Play Store. Fortunately, it appears that Google might make it easier for users to do this soon.
In order to sideload Android apps on a Chrome OS-powered device, users first have to enable Developer Mode. This comes with its own set of challenges. They first have to disable boot verification and other security features. They also have to press a key combination when the device boots up, at least on many devices, for the Developer Mode to be enabled.
It’s clear that this process was left this way because Google wanted to discourage users from sideloading Android apps on Chrome OS. It seems to be changing its stance on this is the near future.
A new code commit has been discovered in the Chromium Gerrit which reveals that Google will soon let administrators enable or disable APK sideloading. This would make it easier for organizations and schools that have deployed Chromebooks to deploy apps to users without having to distribute them through the Play Store.
If it does that, there’s a good possibility that Google might allow normal users to sideload Android apps as well without having to enable Developer Mode. Fingers crossed!