If you have updated to Windows Phone 8.1, you can now sideload apps to your phone with much lesser effort. You can now install downloaded apps (XAP and APPX files) on your Windows Phone even if your device does not have an SD card slot. This is a moment of rejoice for the owners of devices having no expansion slots (like Lumia 1020, 925, 920; etc) as now even they can enjoy downloading apps to PC and then install over to the phone. This is also helpful if you have multiple WP devices at your home and want to install the same app to all or them, or share the apps with a friend who has no data connection. There are numerous possibilities.
With Windows Phone 8.1, there is no limitation about where you place the downloaded XAP/APPX file. Be it in the root directory of SD card, a sub-folder or even the Phone Storage. Just drop your files anywhere inside your phone and they will be scanned by the Store App and then installed.
Transferring and Installing APPX/XAP files on Windows Phone
- Download apps or games from Windows Phone Store to your PC. You can follow this tutorial.
- Connect your Windows Phone to your PC via a Data Cable.
- Explore either the Phone Storage or SD card of your Windows Phone in the PC and copy over the downloaded APPX/XAP file anywhere (but I do suggest to make a separate folder called APPS so as to keep it organized)
- Disconnect the phone from PC and open Store app in your Phone
- Tap on the 3 dots at the bottom left to open up the menu. Then tap on Install Local Apps
- Select the apps that you want to install and finally tap on the install button at the bottom.
- You can also install outdated apps. Windows Phone will only update the changed portion of the app and not download the whole app again.
- You need to have internet connectivity on your phone even if you want to install local apps. The apps are verified to be authentic before installing. This does not consume a lot of data.