If you are using an AT&T Samsung Captivate, you must have noticed that the only way you can install apps is via the Android Market. If you attempt to install an app from an ‘.apk’ file, the device gives an error. The following procedure will enable app sideloading for your device.
Before you proceed with the following method, check out the update at the end.
You should attempt these steps at your own risk as these involve modifying the operating system of your device. Also, this workaround is useful only for the AT&T Samsung Captivate as other Samsung Captivate devices do not have this issue.
First of all, you will need to root your device. Our instructions on how to root your Android device can be found here. Next, grab and install BusyBox from the Android Market, run it and enable it by following the instructions. Finally, get an SQL Database Manager for your computer. You can use the SQLite plugin for Mozilla Firefox found here, or use another one of your choice. You will also need to download and install the Android SDK from here if you already don’t have it.
Now to get to the real deal, enable USB debugging on your phone by heading over to Settings >> Applications >> Development, and connect your phone to the computer via USB.
On your computer, fire up a command prompt window by right-clicking the command prompt shortcut and selecting ‘Run as administrator’, and browse to the ‘tools’ sub-folder of the folder where the Android SDK is installed. Once there, use the following commands:
adb shell su cp /dbdata/databases/com.android.providers.settings/settings.db /sdcard/settings.db cp /dbdata/databases/com.android.providers.settings/settings.db /sdcard/settings.db.backup exit exit adb pull /sdcard/settings.db %userprofile%desktop
Do not close the command prompt yet, and fire up Mozilla Firefox. From the ‘Tools’ menu, click ‘SQLite Manager’. In SQLite Manager, click ‘Database’ followed by ‘Connect database’. Browse to the ‘settings.db’ file that we copied to the desktop in the previous step and once it opens, expand its tables.
Click ‘Secure’ and find ID 6 “install_non_market_apps”. Double click it and change its “value” from 0 to 1.
Close SQLite Manager, head back to the command prompt window that we left open earlier and use the following commands:
adb push %userprofile%desktopsettings.db /sdcard adb shell su cp /sdcard/settings.db /dbdata/databases/com.android.providers.settings chmod 777 /dbdata/databases/com.android.providers.settings/settings.db reboot
This will reboot your phone. Unplug it from the computer while it reboots, and you’re done. Now you will be able to sideload apps on your phone using “.apk” files.
Our reader Greg B has just informed us that you can sideload apps on the AT&T Captivate using Sideload Wonder Machine from Android Central. Please visit the link to get it. This method seems to be easier and doesn’t require root.