Lastly, web apps are sometimes an option if you need to get at apps that aren’t in the official Google store. Even if apps are officially available through the normal route, you can always use this trick to access apps—Twitter, Facebook, and so on—that you don’t necessarily want on your phone. If you’re struggling to find something in the Google Play Store, see if there’s an online version you can get at through your Android web browser.
How to Sideload Apps on iOS
Apple’s iOS and iPadOS are much more tightly locked down than Android—Apple simply doesn’t make it possible to sideload apps on its mobile operating systems in the same way that you can with Android. There’s no safety security switch that you can override, but you still have several options for getting unauthorized apps on your iPhone.
The first is to jailbreak your phone: Here you’re essentially smashing the lock that Apple puts on iOS and unlocking your phone yourself, using software distributed on the web (the equivalent of rooting on Android). Once you’ve applied the jailbreak, you can install just about any app you like—apps to change the look of the interface, access the file system more easily, have apps overlaid on top of each other, and much more.
Jailbreaking gives you a lot more freedom in terms of what you can do with your iPhone. The disadvantages are that it’s difficult to do, it voids your warranty, it leaves you open to all kinds of new security threats, and it stops you from updating your iPhone as normal. (You’ll need to wait for the next iOS version to be hacked before upgrading, which can leave you without security updates, new app features, and in some cases new versions of your favorite apps.) What’s more, Apple is constantly and aggressively trying to stop the practice. As with rooting on Android, it used to be more popular, but in recent versions the balance between the effort required and benefit gained has tipped toward effort, so for most people it’s just not worth it.
Information is widely available on the web about how to jailbreak your iPhone (although unlike Android, the model of iPhone you have doesn’t matter as much), and the free apps you need to do it—typically you’ll need to connect your device to macOS or Windows and run the jailbreaking tool from there. Make sure you fully understand the privacy and security implications, and be aware that jailbreaking information can very quickly become out of date. In general, it’s not something we recommend.