Windows Phone 8.1 tip: How to side load and install .xap apps and games from SD Card


Windows Phone 8.1 just like Windows Phone 8 and other mobile platforms lets you side load apps without downloading from Store. Side loading is very useful while installing the apps which haven’t been published to Windows Store yet.


Side loading lets you install apps or games in .xap file format directly from your SD Card and it takes just seconds. So, if you are looking for a way to download and install .xap files directly to your phone then, you are at right place.

Follow the instructions below to download and then, install apps/games in .xap format to your Windows Phone device.

Before proceeding to the instructions, you will need to fulfill few requirements:

  • You will need to download the .xap file which can be downloaded from Windows Store by pressing the manual install button at the end of the app page (refer the screenshot below).


  • You will need to move the downloaded .xap file to your SD Card on the Windows Phone. If your phone don’t have a SD Card then, move it to the root of your phone memory.
  • A working internet connection because we will be installing the app using Store even when side loading but, you won’t actually download it from Store.

Now, le’s proceed to the step-by-step instructions.


  • Hoping you have moved the .xap file to your SD Card or root of phone memory, open up ‘Store’.
  • Once opened, expand the app bar by pressing the ‘’ on bottom right corner of screen.
  • Here you will see the option of ‘install local apps’. Press it.

Note: If you don’t see the option of ‘install lock apps’ then restart your phone since, your phone can’t recognize the .xap file.

  • Once you press ‘install local apps’, you will be taken to the install local apps section where your phone will scan and show compatible apps.
  • You will see all your .xap files here. Select your desired ones and press ‘install’.
  • Your app will start installing. It usually takes few seconds to install apps but, it might take longer for large sized apps.
  • Once installed, you will see the ‘installed’ notification.
  • That’s all! Your app has been installed and it would be there in app list.

Here is a quick video showing the same process.


You may visit our Tips & Tweaks section for more tips, tricks and tweaks about Windows Phone 8.1


Ahmad Wahid

Being a University student of computer, has developed keen interest in technology and like to test out the new gadgets. His interests include Social Networking as well.