You’ll Soon be Able to Sideload Android Apps on your Chromebook Without Developer Mode
Support for application sideloading has been a standard feature of Android since inception, and it’s let users install software that isn’t available from the Google Play Store. On Chrome OS and Chromebooks, app sideloading’s been available since the rollout of Android app support on the platform, but it currently requires enabling Developer mode. However, this might be changing very soon, according to a code commit spotted in Chrome OS.
The commit references a public bug report from a user requesting sideloading capabilities on Chrome OS without the need to enable Developer mode:
Add ARC sideloading device policy.
Adds a simple boolean device policy to give enterprise administrator
control over allowing APK sideloading for Chrome OS / ARC users.
The work-in-progress feature, together with Android Oreo‘s trusted sources, seems part of a collective effort by Google to make sideloading apps on devices easier without compromising security. But easier Chrome OS sideloading won’t come to consumer devices right away — the commit references enterprise Chromebooks such as those in businesses and schools. When the feature is live, Chrome OS administrators will be able to toggle APK sideloading on and off on fleets of devices with a simple switch.
It’s not certain yet whether Google will roll sideloading support out to regular, consumer Chromebooks in the near or far future. But there’s a good chance it might. Google made significant changes to app sideloading behavior in Android Oreo, doing away with the infamous Unkown sources toggle. Previously, sideloading an app required heading to a phone’s Security settings menu and toggling the “Allow apps from unknown sources” option. Now, there’s a new, more user-friendly trusted sources mechanism that allows users to manually grant install permissions to individual apps.
Here’s hoping that Chrome OS follows suit.
Source: Chrome Story