The Downloader app has become an essential utility for Android TV users to install non-Play Store apps and customize their experience. But Google‘s recent removal of Downloader from the Play Store on Android TVs has created confusion and frustration.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll provide you with expert techniques to get Downloader running on your Android TV box, even without access to Google Play.
Why Google Removed Downloader App for Android TV
Before we get into the installation methods, let‘s discuss why Downloader suddenly disappeared from the Play Store in the first place. Understanding the background here will help make sense of why we need to use workarounds.
In May 2023, Android TV owners discovered Downloader was inexplicably gone from the Play Store. Many relayed their surprise on social media and forums.
Downloader‘s developer, Elias Saba of AFTVNews, quickly investigated and revealed that Google took Downloader down due to a questionable DMCA takedown request from an Israeli TV network called Yes TV.
Yes TV claimed that because Downloader‘s built-in browser could potentially allow access to infringing content, this meant the app itself was violating their copyrights.
This absurd accusation makes no sense – by that logic, any web browser like Chrome, Edge or Firefox would be considered illegal too. But Google accepted Yes TV‘s request and removed Downloader anyway.
Elias appealed the decision, but Google rejected the appeal within minutes, providing no due process. He has called out Google on Twitter, asking supporters to contact them about this unfair removal.
But so far Google has yet to reinstate Downloader, leaving Android TV owners high and dry. Fortunately, sideloading the Downloader APK provides a simple workaround as we‘ll cover next.
Sideloading Downloader APK on Android TV Using JioPages Browser
One straightforward way to install Downloader without the Play Store is by using a third party browser app that supports APK downloads. The JioPages browser includes this capability.
Here is a step-by-step guide to getting Downloader via JioPages:
On your Android TV device, open the Google Play Store app. Search for "JioPages" and install the JioPages browser.
Launch the JioPages app from your app drawer. In the URL bar at the top, type in
hobsoft.com/tband hit enter.
On the hobsoft.com page, scroll down until you see the Downloader APK download link. Click the "Download" button.
You‘ll get a scary warning from Android that the file can damage your device. Don‘t worry, this is normal for sideloaded apps. Click "Download Anyway" to confirm.
The Downloader APK will download to your Android TV device storage. Once finished, click "Open" at the top of the screen.
You‘ll be blocked from installing since Android TV restricts external "Unknown Sources" by default. Go into JioPages settings and enable "Allow from this source".
Return back and click the "Install" button on the Downloader APK installation screen. Grant any permission popups too.
Once installed, you‘ll find Downloader available in your Android TV app drawer, ready to use!
The key to this method is using JioPages‘ built-in installer to grab and install the Downloader APK in just a few simple steps. As long as you have another suitable browser, you can follow the same process.
Transferring Downloader APK File to Android TV
Alternatively, you can also install Downloader by transferring the APK file directly to your Android TV device storage using a USB drive, cloud storage, WiFi file transfer or similar method.
Here are the instructions if you want to manually transfer instead of using a browser:
On a PC or mobile device, visit
hobsoft.com/tband download the Downloader APK file.
Transfer the downloaded APK file onto a USB flash drive or upload it to cloud storage like Google Drive.
Plug the USB into your Android TV if using that method. Or if transferred to the cloud, install a file manager app like X-plore on your Android TV to access cloud storage.
Using the file manager, navigate to where you transferred the Downloader APK and tap on the file to launch the installer.
You‘ll be prompted to enable "Unknown sources" in your Android TV settings to allow sideloading. Enable this option.
Finally, select Install on the Downloader prompt and launch it from your apps list when finished!
While a bit more hands-on, this gives you full control over installing the APK directly versus relying on another app. As long as you can move the file to Android TV storage, you‘re good to go.
Are Sideloaded Apps Like Downloader Safe to Install?
You might be wondering – is it safe to install apps like Downloader from outside the Play Store? It‘s a fair question. After all, Google removed it for a reason, right?
Rest assured there are no real security risks to using Downloader or other well-known sideloaded apps. Since apps from outside the Play Store don‘t go through Google‘s validation process, Android will warn you more strongly about possible dangers.
But the Downloader app itself, developed by the respected Elias Saba of AFTVNews, contains no malware or other problems. Millions have used it safely for years on Fire TV, Android TV and other devices.
As long as you download Downloader from an official trustworthy source like
hobsoft.com, you can use it with full confidence. The "Unknown Sources" warnings are merely Android‘s way of deterring piracy – not a judgment of the app‘s integrity.
The same applies for other popular sideloaded apps like Kodi, Cinema HD, Mobdro, Puffin Browser, etc. While Google makes them harder to install, these apps are safe and virus-free when obtained from reputable sources.
Key Features and Uses of the Downloader App
Now that you understand how to get Downloader onto your Android TV box, let‘s explore what you can actually do with it. What makes this app so indispensable for Android TV power users?
Here are some of the top features and uses:
Install APKs: Easily import and install app APK files from outside the Play Store. Expand your app selection beyond what Google allows.
Customize Home Screen: Download third party launcher apps to customize your Android TV‘s home screen with new layouts, themes, widgets and personalization options.
Remap Remote Buttons: Download apps like Button Mapper to reprogram what your remote buttons do. For example, single press for Netflix rather than double press.
Root Access: Install apps that require root access to take full control over your Android TV‘s interface and functions.
Region Unblocking: Access geo-restricted apps like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Hotstar and more by installing VPNs or Smart DNS proxies.
Streaming Apps: Get premium streaming apps like Cinema APK, Cat Mouse, Kodi, Plex and many others to enjoy free movies/TV.
ROMS: Download emulators and ROMS to turn your Android TV into a retro gaming console. Relive your childhood!
Web Browser: The Downloader browser itself lets you access files and APK downloads from websites. Useful if restrictions applied to your main browser.
As you can see, Downloader opens up a whole world of customization, personalization, entertainment, and convenience for your Android TV. It‘s an essential tool for any power user.
Google‘s Unjustified Removal of Downloader Sets a Dangerous Precedent
While we‘ve covered workarounds to get Downloader installed, Google‘s knee-jerk removal of this beneficial app from the Play Store raises deeper concerns that deserve discussion.
Based on the dubious copyright claim made against it, Google has set a dangerous precedent that could justify removing any app with a browser capability. Taken further, even core apps like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and more could potentially disappear from Android under this same logic.
According to TorrentFreak, this removal also underscores a double standard Google has between apps available for Android TV vs Fire TV. Downloader remains on the Amazon App Store despite the same unsubstantiated accusations.
Public backlash against Google has been swift, with many calling the removal an unfair monopolistic practice. But so far it has fallen on deaf ears.
Hopefully developer Elias can continue rallying public pressure on Google to reinstate Downloader. In the meantime, Android TV fans need to make their voices heard and call out this anti-consumer behavior by Google.
The ability to sideload apps brings flexibility and freedom that benefits customers. Let‘s not lose that.
Although Google‘s removal of Downloader from the Play Store has made app sideloading more difficult on Android TV, the app‘s importance and utility are undiminished.
With the techniques outlined in this guide, you can continue enjoying unrestricted Downloader access even without the Play Store. Keep your eyes open for any updates on a return to Google Play.
But in the meantime, feel empowered knowing you still have options to customize your Android TV, install unique apps, and tap into Downloader‘s full capabilities. Sideloading is here to stay regardless of Google‘s closed stance.
Hopefully you now have all the information needed to keep Downloader as an integral tool in your Android TV toolkit. Never settle for a restricted one-size-fits all experience – take control and unlock the true potential of your streaming device!