How to install APKs on Mi Box international edition (mdz-16-ab) and Mi Box S (mdz-22-ab)
We just got our hands on a brand new Xiaomi’s Mi Box and Mi Box S international edition. It’s available for purchase on Amazon or Walmart now at a very low price of $59. It’s a powerful Android TV box with 4k and HDR supports, and it’s very cheap! After we unwrap it and connect to TV using HDMI 2.0@4K, we found that it’s very easy to install applications from Google Play Store. However, there is a problem. What if we want to install an APK we downloaded from elsewhere?
MI Box S Review (mdz-22-ab)
Xiaomi has just released 2018 version of the new MI Box S, it’s an upgraded version over MI box mdz-16-ab, it comes with latest Android 9 and chromecast, Google Assistant, and a brand new remote control. It also supports 4k HDR 60fps video playback.
Install APK to MiBox with USB thumb drive
The first idea that comes to my mind is to download the APK to an USB thumb drive and insert it into the USB port on Mi Box. After we did that, the Android TV OS prompts us if we want to explorer this drive. We answered YES. But, after you do that, there is nothing in there. The experiment tells us you can’t install an APK from USB directly.
Sideload APP to Mi Box or Android TV
Installing APKs from USB drive to Mi Box and Android TV had been made possible by this Android TV app “Mibox Apk Installer for Android TV“
Simply use your Google Play Store on Android TV system and search for this App: Mibox Apk Installer for Android TV and you can sideload App to your TV or box.
Tutorial Video: Sideload install APP to Mi Box and Android TV
Extended reading: Sideload Folder, a sideload launcher for Android TV
Install APKs to Xiaomi box using ES File Explorer Here comes a solution. You don’t have to jailbreak it. You just have to open up Google Play Store first and install an APP called ES File Explorer. After installation, insert the USB flash drive again. This time, choose ES File Explorer to view the files and you will be able to browse content on the drive and install the APK. There used be a way to use Puffin TV browser on TV to download and install 3rd party APKs, however this method had also been blocked and made impossible.
Where to download APK for Android TV systems
If you are going to install APK into your Xiaomi box system, you are probably going to download APKs from out side of Google Play Store, the following sources are popular APK sources, you can find many APKs for Android TV boxes.