Sideload And Launch Apps Via Adb

“Sideloading” just means to install an app using adb, rather than in the traditional method (by opening Google Play, and downloading).

(Following these instructions is optional. Instructions to get Google Play show you more apps are here, and that is an easier method for most app installs.)

You can install apps by typing

adb install <path-to-app>/appname.apk

You can launch apps by typing
adb shell
am start package.name/.Activity name

For example, opening Settings, Netflix, or Angry Birds is done with
am start com.android.settings/.Settings
am start com.netflix.mediaclient/.UIWebViewActivity
am start com.rovio.angrybirds/com.rovio.ka3d.App

The “com.something.something….” bit is the package name. The bit after the slash is the activity name. You can find out the package and activity names by plugging a different Android device into the computer while running adb, physically opening the app on that Android device, and watching adb’s logcat function. I could give more details but experts would already understand this and noobs could just use Google Play (see How to make Google Play show you more apps) for most applications.
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