Sideload apps on a NOOK Tablet with OS 1.4.1 (no root required)

Nook Tablet Sideload utility

Update: It’s also now possible to upgrade from OS 1.4.0 to B&N NOOK Tablet OS 1.4.1 while rooting the tablet

The Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet is designed to let you download and install third party apps from the B&N shop, but shortly after the tablet was released users noticed that they could also install apps from other sources and even install competing app stores such as the Amazon Appstore and Google Android Market.

Then B&N rolled out software version 1.4.1 and suddenly it got harder to sideload apps that didn’t come from the B&N shop. But it’s not impossible.

Xda-developers forum member Indirect noticed that while you can’t simply download and install an Android APK installer on your tablet anymore, you can still use the Android Debug Bridge (adb) utility to push apps from a computer to your tablet.

This will probably only work if you already added support for third party apps and/or rooted the tablet before your NOOK was upgraded to OS 1.4.1. While the software update removes root access and kills the simplest methods for sideloading, it doesn’t wipe all of your files and settings.

Using the NOOK Tablet Sideload tools

1. Download Indirect’s latest script from the xda-developers forum.

2. Unzip the files to a folder on your computer. For this tutorial I’m going to pretend you put the files in a directory called c:\sideload\

3. Put the APK installer file you want to load on your tablet in the same directory.

4. Open a command prompt and navigate to that directory.

  • On a Windows computer you can do this by opening the start menu and typing “cmd” (without quotes) into the run box.
  • Then type “cd /” to get to the root directory.
  • Next type “cd sideload” to enter the new directory with your files.

5. Connect your NOOK Tablet to your computer with a USB cable.

6. Type “adb install name_of_app.apk” and the utility should push the file to your tablet and install it. For instance, to install Titanium Backup, I typed adb install TitaniumBackup_latest.apk”

This method isn’t quite as easy as using the Android Market or Amazon Appstore on your tablet, but it does let you sideload apps on a tablet that’s running OS 1.4.1, even without root access.

If you’d like to downgrade to OS 1.4.0 so that you can root the tablet and install the Android Market, you can do that — but the process involve performing a factory reset so you’ll lose data and settings.

How to Restore to NOOK Tablet 1.4.0

1. Download the NOOK Tablet stock recovery file from AdamOutler’s xda-developers forum thread.

2. Place it on the root directory of a microSD card and plug it into your tablet.

3. Shut down your NOOK Tablet and restart it to restore to factory default condition with OS 1.4.0.

Once you’ve done that, you may want to check out our guides for rooting the tablet and blocking future software updates to make sure you don’t lose root access.

Latest NOOK Tablet news and tips:

  • Bernie

    The Nook Tablet is good but not worth all this hassle just to sideload a few apps. My NT goes back to B&N next week and I’m getting a Galaxy Tab 8.9.

  • Johnseeking

    Thank you for this.  I’m eager to try it out!  (Now, if only I could find some way of downloading apks from Amazon without using my NT…  Would an Android emulator let me do this, I wonder??

  • Nookuser

    I cannot believe B&N invest their effort on such a completely useless update.  All the while they should focus on improving the Nook, for starters the keyboard should have cut/copy/paste capability and arrow keys.

  • Adamoutler

    Every line of code which works around a bug is a line of code which does not go into development. This is all I have to say about this.

  • nooktab

    Does anybody know how to actually get the apps on your computer

  • Sock Monkey

    Ugh, my Nook just updated to the dreaded 1.4.1 version. I tried the script from XDA and ran it with the command prompt, but it says “error no decide found” , even though my Nook Tablet is plugged into my Windows XP Machine. Any ideas why this is happening? I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

    • Nook Tablet User

      Hey Sock Monkey, did you ever get a response to your question?  I’m getting the same error and would like to know the solution.

      • Sock Monkey

        Yes, I figured it out. When it says “no device found”, it’s corresponding to this command line : adb install whatevernameofapp.apk . I interpreted “no device found” to mean that it does not know what “adb” means in the command.

        For it to recognize all “adb” related commands, you have to have the USB drivers installed. Look for tgps_launcher.apk on this link: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1354487After you install the drivers (I saw this YouTube walkthrough because it is NOT intuitive and you want to be sure you’re doing it right , it’s not the way you would traditionally update drivers for a mouse or keyboard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtGveN7jbzs )Now, I followed the instructions on this article, made a folder in C:, called it sideload, and also pasted an .apk. Now, when I do the Commant Prompt, it says this: http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2914/cmdnookadb.jpgWhile the transfer was successful, I haven’t been able to see the app on my tablet. Does anyone know where I can find this (data/local wasn’t found when I connected the tablet to my PC either, and it wasn’t on my SD or so). Is it because I’m still on 1.4.0?

        I’m going bump this post so everyone can atleast get their sideloading to work.

  • rerde

    I added support for third party apps while using 14.1.0..Now that the os was upgraded to 14.1.1 I tried the above script but got a “device not found” error message.

  • Ethriell

    “No device found” and it’s plugged in.

  • Jwwj58

    Yeah, I’d like to know how to get the apps on the computer,too.

  • Johnseeking

    If you were fortunate enough to install Amazon Appstore and ES File Explorer before the update, any apks that Appstore downloads and attempts (and fails) to install can be found on your sd card in Android/data/com.amazon.venezia/cache.
    I’m going to roll back to 1.4.0, root, and block OTA updates later today. Seems an easier road to take, IMO.

    • Malchelle1

      but, it says this nook cannot read this file. unsupported format. So, what are these files good for exactly? help.

  • Mradlinski

    I believe usb debugging needs to be enabled for this style of sideloading to work.  Not sure how to go about doing that, though.

    • Froide

      1. Search (in Apps) for AppMenu application
      2. Select AppMenu
      3. Select Open Application Settings
      4. Select Development (the last item on the list)
      5. Select both instances of USB debugging (which will place a green checkmark next to those items)
      6. Deselect Auto Mount (which will remove the green checkmark from that item)

  • Khdkj

    This guy is a retard!

  • Jim

    Indirect mentions having the drivers set up…Where can I find info on that so that I may correctly install?

  • P Koppikar

    For anyone who is getting the “device not found” error or wants to go about installing the USB drivers (so the “install adb whatever.apk works), read on below:

    When it says “no device found”, it’s corresponding to this command line : adb install whatevernameofapp.apk . I interpreted “no device found” to mean that it does not know what “adb” means in the command.
    For it to recognize all “adb” related commands, you have to have the USB drivers installed. Look for tgps_launcher.apk on this link: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1354487After you install the drivers (I saw this YouTube walkthrough because it is NOT intuitive and you want to be sure you’re doing it right , it’s not the way you would traditionally update drivers for a mouse or keyboard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtGveN7jbzs )Now, I followed the instructions on this article, made a folder in C:, called it sideload, and also pasted an .apk. Now, when I do the Commant Prompt, it says this: http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2914/cmdnookadb.jpgWhile the transfer was successful, I haven’t been able to see the app on my tablet. Does anyone know where I can find this (data/local wasn’t found when I connected the tablet to my PC either, and it wasn’t on my SD or so). Is it because I’m still on 1.4.0?

    I’m going bump this post so everyone can atleast get their sideloading to work.

  • Nyan linn aung

    According to the following post……………[Full Mod + Root + OTA block] Snowball-mod: Full Modification Root [12/31/2011] We need to download the following 3 file. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15069134/usbdrivers.zip  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/54958574/snowball-mod.zip  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/54958574/snowball-update.zip  But our local network didn`t allow the dropbox.com….If you have http://www.mediafire.com  link ,please give me links.

  • Mawpakemadhatr

    i want to sideload without rooting it. i have the 1.4.1 and tried what was given above but each time it says either ‘nook does not support file’ for the zipped files, or it says cannot install because of security reasons. and when i factory reset it to get back the 1.4.0 wich im thinking i didnt originally have it does not work. is there any way i can downgrade to the 1.4.0 without rooting my tablet

    • Malchelle1

      when you set your NT back to 1.4.0 did you loss all the programs you previously downloaded? I don’t want to loose anything I have already. Appstore, Go Launcher, ebuddy, amazon kindle…nothing!! can you confirm that?

  • CaptainGerard

    Great tutorial. Now the NOOK is manageable.

  • Trica Brown

    cant you do that on mac ..if not i be returning the NT on monday to much hassle

  • Trica Brown

    how to on a mac

  • Bobbie

    Title of the article is “Sideload apps on a NOOK tablet with OS 1.4.1 (NO ROOT REQUIRED)”.  The reason Sock Monkey’s solution isn’t working (even for him) is because his YouTube video is a tutorial on HOW TO ROOT THE NOOK.  Froide is imagining that he’s reading a completely different article, because there is no such app, menu, setting, or any other thing he mentioned on a Nook tablet.  Can we please get Brad Linder to weigh in on why his advice is not working for anyone?  Is there any way around the “device not found” problem, or is the article just another underestimation of how far B&N went to dictate how people will be allowed to use their own fully-purchased hardware?

    • Froide

      Bobbie, my advice works, step by step, for those lucky enough to have downloaded AppMenu before the 1.4.1 firmware udpatebroke sideloading, or for those who reverted to the 1.4.0 version and and then downloaded this popular and highly recommended app. By the way, I have the AppMenu.apk instead of the TGPS_Launcher.apk file mentioned in the instructions above because the developer, Comptonsoft.com, replaced TGPS_Launcher.apk with another program now called AppMenu.APK. Just use the latter instead and the rest of the instructions remain the same.)

  • Anonymous

    OK, I’m very confused about how to fix the Nook Tablet.  Is there an actual way to side load other apps after the 1.4.1 update?  Is B&N trying to fix what they did to block the side loading?  I really want to use other apps on this device, but with this update I’m very upset that I can’t.  Can anyone help please?

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      1. Yes. Read the article and then download the NOOK Tablet Sideload Tools linked in the article. It’s not as easy to sideload apps this way as it was with OS 1.4.0, but it should work.

      2. No. They never meant to let users sideload. It was a bug, not a feature, as far as they were concerned. 

      • Anonymous

        Hi, thanks for a quick response.  Download the ones from Sock Monkey?  I had already, before the update, installed Go Launcher, which worked great.

      • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

        No… the link I mentioned in the article, not the one Sock Monkey mentioned in the comments.

        http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1407023 

      • Anonymous

        OK, thanks, I will give this a try and let you know.  Thanks very much for your help.

  • Hipark1

    I can say that this worked! But you have to have made sure that you downloaded the nook hidden settings app before the update occurred.  I had to revert back to 1.4.0 and downloaded it and used the youtube video mentioned to make sure my drivers were set properly. Make sure that you have your settings set properly as mentioned as well. In regards to finding apps that you installed, you can either search it or download GoLauncher. When you go into GoLauncher->apps then you can see all the apps on the Nook. That is the easiest method I found because memorizing all your apps can be quite tedious….

  • mr.fuckface

    Fuck me and fuck you and fuck everqyone, ain’t nobody got time for dat