How to Allow Unknown Sources on Samsung TV: The Ultimate Guide

Published On:
Last Updated On:
Author: Kajal Singh

Are you ready to break free from the constraints of the official Samsung TV app store and unlock a world of endless possibilities for your smart TV? Welcome to the definitive guide on enabling unknown sources on your Samsung TV.

This comprehensive tutorial will not only walk you through the process step-by-step but also provide you with expert insights, advanced techniques, and crucial safety measures to ensure you make the most of your newly empowered entertainment hub.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Samsung TV

What are Unknown Sources?

Unknown sources refer to apps or software that aren’t officially sanctioned or distributed through the Samsung TV App Store. By default, Samsung TVs are configured to only allow installation of apps from the official store – a security measure designed to protect users from potentially harmful software.

Why Enable Unknown Sources on Your Samsung TV?

Enabling unknown sources on your Samsung TV can revolutionize your viewing experience:

  1. Vast app selection: Gain access to a treasure trove of apps unavailable in the official store due to regional restrictions or developer preferences.
  2. Unparalleled customization: Harness unique features and functionalities that can transform your TV into a personalized entertainment powerhouse.
  3. Cutting-edge access: Be among the first to experience new apps and beta versions before they hit the mainstream.
  4. Freedom to experiment: Dive into niche applications that cater to your specific interests and needs.

The Evolution of Smart TV Customization

The concept of customizing smart TVs has come a long way since the introduction of these internet-connected marvels. Initially, users were limited to pre-installed apps and a handful of official add-ons. However, as technology advanced and consumer demand for more flexibility grew, manufacturers like Samsung began to offer ways for users to expand their TV’s capabilities.

The ability to enable unknown sources represents a significant milestone in this evolution, empowering users to take control of their viewing experience like never before. As we delve deeper into this guide, you’ll discover how this feature has transformed the smart TV landscape and why it’s become an essential tool for tech-savvy enthusiasts.

Understanding the Risks and Benefits

Advantages of Allowing Unknown Sources

  1. Unrestricted app access: Install apps that aren’t available in your region or have been excluded from the official store.
  2. Enhanced functionality: Unlock advanced features and capabilities that go beyond stock apps.
  3. Cost savings: Access free alternatives to paid apps or find better deals on premium content.
  4. Personalization: Tailor your TV’s interface and functionality to your exact preferences.
  5. Development and testing: Perfect for app developers looking to test their creations on real Samsung TV hardware.

Potential Security Concerns and How to Mitigate Them

While the benefits are enticing, it’s crucial to understand and address the potential risks:

  1. Malware and viruses: Third-party apps may contain malicious code that can harm your TV or compromise your personal data.
    • Mitigation: Use reputable antivirus software to scan APK files before installation.
  2. Privacy concerns: Some unofficial apps may collect and share your information without your knowledge or consent.
    • Mitigation: Carefully review app permissions and only install from trusted sources.
  3. System instability: Poorly developed or incompatible apps can cause your TV to crash or malfunction.
    • Mitigation: Research app compatibility with your specific TV model before installation.
  4. Voided warranty: Installing unauthorized software may affect your TV’s warranty coverage.
    • Mitigation: Familiarize yourself with your warranty terms and consider the risks before proceeding.

It’s important to note that while enabling unknown sources itself is generally not illegal, using this feature to access copyrighted content without permission may violate copyright laws. Additionally, some streaming apps may breach terms of service agreements with content providers.

Regarding warranties, Samsung’s policy on enabling unknown sources can be somewhat ambiguous. While the act of enabling this feature alone typically doesn’t void the warranty, any damage resulting from installed third-party apps may not be covered. We recommend reviewing your specific warranty terms or contacting Samsung support for clarification.

Compatibility Check: Is Your Samsung TV Model Supported?

List of Compatible Samsung TV Models

Generally, Samsung Smart TVs released after 2015 support the installation of third-party apps. Here’s a comprehensive list of compatible TV series:

  • Samsung QLED TV series (2017 and newer)
  • Samsung UHD TV series (2015 and newer)
  • Samsung The Frame TV series
  • Samsung Lifestyle TV series (including The Serif, The Sero, and The Terrace)
  • Samsung Crystal UHD TV series (2020 and newer)
  • Select Samsung Full HD Smart TV models (2014 and newer)

How to Identify Your TV’s Model Number

To identify your TV’s model number, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Home button on your Samsung TV remote.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Support > About This TV.
  3. Look for the model number in the information displayed on the screen.

Alternatively, you can check the label on the back of your TV or refer to your user manual.

Tizen OS Versions and Their Impact on Unknown Sources

Samsung TVs run on the Tizen operating system, and the version of Tizen installed on your TV can affect the process of enabling unknown sources:

  • Tizen 2.3 and earlier: These versions may require enabling developer mode to access unknown sources.
  • Tizen 3.0 to 4.0: Unknown sources can typically be enabled directly in the security settings.
  • Tizen 5.0 and later: These versions often have more streamlined processes for enabling unknown sources and may include additional security features.

To check your Tizen OS version:

  1. Go to Settings > Support > About This TV
  2. Look for the “Software Version” or “Tizen Version” information

Understanding your TV’s Tizen version will help you follow the most appropriate method for enabling unknown sources, which we’ll cover in detail later in this guide.

Preparing Your Samsung TV for Unknown Sources

Updating Your TV’s Firmware

Updating your TV’s firmware is a critical step in ensuring compatibility and security when enabling unknown sources. Here’s a detailed guide on how to check for and install updates:

  1. Press the Home button on your remote.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Support > Software Update.
  3. Select “Update Now” to check for available updates.
  4. If an update is available, select “Download and Install.”
  5. Your TV will download the update, install it, and restart automatically.
  6. After the restart, verify that the update was successful by checking the software version again.

Pro Tip: Enable “Auto Update” in the Software Update menu to ensure your TV always has the latest firmware.

If you’re having trouble updating your TV’s firmware, you may want to check our guide on Samsung TV Software Update Greyed Out for troubleshooting tips.

Backing Up Your Current Settings

While enabling unknown sources shouldn’t affect your TV’s settings, it’s always wise to back up your current configuration:

  1. Go to Settings > General > System Manager.
  2. Select “Backup and Restore.”
  3. Choose “Backup to USB.”
  4. Insert a USB drive with at least 1GB of free space.
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts to save your settings.
  6. Once complete, safely remove the USB drive and store it in a secure location.

Creating a Samsung Developer Account (If Necessary)

For some older Samsung TV models or specific development purposes, you may need to create a Samsung developer account:

  1. Visit the Samsung Developers website (
  2. Click on “Sign Up” and follow the registration process.
  3. Verify your email address to activate the account.
  4. Once registered, you may need to link your TV to your developer account (this process varies by model and will be covered in the next section if required).

With these preparatory steps complete, you’re now ready to enable unknown sources on your Samsung TV.

Step-by-Step Guide: Enabling Unknown Sources on Samsung TV

Now, let’s walk through the process of enabling unknown sources on your Samsung TV. We’ll cover methods for different Tizen OS versions to ensure you can follow along regardless of your TV model.

For Tizen 3.0 and Later (Most Common Method)

  1. Access the TV’s settings menu:
    • Press the Home button on your Samsung TV remote.
    • Navigate to and select Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Navigate to the security options:
    • Scroll down and select General.
    • Look for an option called Security or External Device Manager.
  3. Toggle the unknown sources option:
    • Find the “Install unknown apps” or “Unknown sources” option.
    • Select it to toggle the switch to On or check the box next to it.
    • A warning message will appear. Read it carefully and select OK if you wish to proceed.
  4. Confirm your choice:
    • You may be prompted to enter your TV’s PIN. The default is usually 0000 if you haven’t changed it.
    • Select Allow or OK to confirm your decision.

For Tizen 2.3 and Earlier (Developer Mode Method)

  1. Enable Developer Mode:
    • Go to the Smart Hub.
    • Select Apps.
    • Press the following sequence on your remote: Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Up, Up.
    • A popup will appear asking if you want to enable developer mode. Select OK.
  2. Configure Developer Mode settings:
    • In the Developer Mode menu, set “Developer Mode” to On.
    • Set “Security Level” to Low if available.
  3. Enable unknown sources:
    • Look for an option called “Allow installation from unknown sources” or similar.
    • Toggle this option to On.
  4. Confirm and restart:
    • Confirm any warning messages that appear.
    • Restart your TV to apply the changes.

Congratulations! You have now enabled unknown sources on your Samsung TV. This opens up the possibility of installing apps from third-party sources.

Alternative Methods for Enabling Unknown Sources

Using the Web Browser Method

For some Samsung TV models, you can enable unknown sources through the built-in web browser:

  1. Open the Samsung Internet app on your TV.
  2. Navigate to a trusted APK hosting site (e.g., APKMirror).
  3. Download the desired APK file.
  4. When prompted, allow the browser to install apps from unknown sources.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the app.

Utilizing the Secret Service Menu

Some Samsung TVs have a hidden service menu that can be accessed to enable additional features:

  1. Turn off your TV.
  2. Press the following sequence on your remote: Info, Menu, Mute, Power.
  3. The service menu should appear.
  4. Navigate to “Options” or “System Manager.”
  5. Look for “Developer Options” or “Install Unknown Apps” and enable it.

Note: Use this method with caution, as the service menu contains sensitive settings that could affect your TV’s performance if changed incorrectly.

Sideloading Apps via USB

If you’re unable to enable unknown sources through the TV’s settings, you can try sideloading apps using a USB drive:

  1. Download the desired APK file on your computer.
  2. Copy the APK to a USB drive.
  3. Insert the USB drive into your Samsung TV.
  4. Use the TV’s file manager to locate and install the APK.

This method may require you to enable installation from external storage in your TV’s settings.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Unknown Sources Option Grayed Out

If the unknown sources option is grayed out or inaccessible, try the following:

  1. Ensure your TV’s firmware is up to date.
  2. Restart your TV and try again.
  3. Check if your Samsung account has parental controls enabled.
  4. Perform a factory reset as a last resort (be sure to back up your settings first).

Error Messages During the Process

Common error messages and their solutions:

  • “This app is not compatible with your TV”: Check if the app is designed for your TV’s Tizen OS version.
  • “Not enough storage space”: Free up space by uninstalling unused apps or clearing cache.
  • “Installation blocked”: Ensure you’ve properly enabled unknown sources and disabled any security software that might be interfering.

TV Not Recognizing Sideloaded Apps

If your TV doesn’t recognize apps installed from unknown sources:

  1. Make sure the app is compatible with your TV’s operating system.
  2. Try restarting your TV after installing the app.
  3. Check if the app requires additional permissions to run.
  4. Ensure the APK file isn’t corrupted by re-downloading it from a trusted source.

Dealing with App Compatibility Issues

  1. Research the app’s compatibility with your specific TV model before installation.
  2. Look for TV-specific versions of apps, as some may have separate builds for mobile and TV platforms.
  3. Consider using an Android emulator on your TV to run apps designed for mobile devices.

For more general troubleshooting tips, you can refer to our comprehensive guide on Samsung TV Troubleshooting.

Best Practices for Installing Third-Party Apps

Researching App Sources and Developers

  1. Stick to reputable APK hosting sites like APKMirror, APKPure, or F-Droid.
  2. Research the app developer’s reputation and track record.
  3. Look for user reviews and ratings from multiple sources.
  4. Check the app’s update frequency and developer responsiveness to issues.

Scanning Apps for Malware Before Installation

  1. Use a reliable antivirus program on your computer to scan APK files before transferring them to your TV.
  2. Consider using online virus scanning tools like VirusTotal for additional security.
  3. Be wary of apps that request unnecessary permissions or have suspicious file sizes.

Monitoring App Permissions and Behavior

  1. Review the permissions requested by each app during installation.
  2. Use built-in Samsung security features to monitor app behavior.
  3. Regularly check your TV’s performance and any unusual behavior after installing new apps.
  4. Keep an eye on network activity to detect any unauthorized data transfers.

Using Package Disablers for Bloatware Removal

  1. Research package disabler apps compatible with your Samsung TV model.
  2. Identify pre-installed apps (bloatware) that you want to disable.
  3. Use the package disabler to safely turn off unwanted apps without rooting your TV.
  4. Monitor TV performance after disabling packages to ensure system stability.

Exploring Alternative App Stores for Samsung TV

  1. Aptoide TV: A large collection of free and paid apps optimized for smart TVs.
  2. Amazon Appstore: While not officially supported, some users have successfully sideloaded it.
  3. F-Droid: An open-source app store focused on privacy and security.
  4. Aurora Store: An open-source client for the Google Play Store.

Pros and Cons of Using Alternative App Sources


  • Access to a wider variety of apps
  • Potential for finding unique or niche applications
  • Some apps may be available for free that are paid in the official store
  • Often faster approval process for new apps


  • Increased security risks
  • Potential compatibility issues with your TV model
  • Lack of official support from Samsung
  • May require more frequent manual updates

How to Install and Use Alternative App Stores

  1. Download the APK file for your chosen app store from a trusted source.
  2. Transfer the APK to your Samsung TV via USB or network sharing.
  3. Use your TV’s file manager to locate and install the APK.
  4. Once installed, open the app store and create an account if required.
  5. Browse and install apps from the alternative store, following the same safety precautions as with individual APKs.

Customizing Your Samsung TV Experience

  1. Kodi: A versatile media center for streaming content from various sources.
  2. Plex: Organize and stream your personal media collection.
  3. SmartTubeNext: An ad-free YouTube client designed for smart TVs.
  4. ExpressVPN: Enhance your privacy and access geo-restricted content.
  5. AirScreen: Mirror your iOS or macOS devices to your TV without Apple TV.
  6. Downloader: Easily download and install APKs directly on your TV.
  7. Perfect Player: A customizable IPTV player with support for various playlist formats.
  8. RetroArch: Multi-system emulator for playing classic games on your TV.

Tips for Organizing and Managing Sideloaded Apps

  1. Create folders to group similar apps together for easy access.
  2. Use a custom launcher app to personalize your TV’s home screen layout.
  3. Regularly uninstall unused apps to free up storage space and improve performance.
  4. Keep track of which apps you’ve sideloaded in a separate list for easy management.

Customizing the Home Screen and App Layout

  1. Long-press on app icons to move them to desired positions.
  2. Create custom folders by dragging one app icon onto another.
  3. Pin your most-used apps to the home screen for quick access.
  4. Use a third-party launcher app for more advanced customization options.

Advanced Tweaks for Power Users

  1. Enable Developer Options for access to additional settings and features.
  2. Use ADB (Android Debug Bridge) commands to make system-level changes.
  3. Explore custom firmware options for older TV models (proceed with caution).
  4. Experiment with tasker-like automation apps to create custom TV behaviors.

Maintaining Security After Enabling Unknown Sources

Regular Security Checks and Updates

  1. Keep your TV’s firmware up to date by enabling automatic updates.
  2. Regularly scan installed apps for potential security issues using built-in tools.
  3. Monitor Samsung’s security bulletins for any reported vulnerabilities.
  4. Consider periodically factory resetting your TV to clear any potential security issues.

Revoking Permissions for Unused or Suspicious Apps

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and review the permissions granted to each app.
  2. Revoke unnecessary permissions, especially for apps you no longer use.
  3. Uninstall any apps that you don’t recognize or no longer need.
  4. Use Samsung’s built-in Device Care feature to monitor app behavior and performance.

Using a VPN for Added Protection

  1. Choose a reputable VPN service with a dedicated app for Samsung TVs.
  2. Install the VPN app and set it up with your account credentials.
  3. Enable the VPN whenever you’re using apps from unknown sources or streaming content.
  4. Regularly update your VPN app to ensure you have the latest security features.

Implementing Network-Level Security Measures

  1. Secure your home network with a strong Wi-Fi password and WPA3 encryption if available.
  2. Consider setting up a separate VLAN for your smart TV to isolate it from other devices.
  3. Use a router with built-in security features or add a network security appliance.
  4. Implement DNS-level filtering to block known malicious domains.

Optimizing Performance with Unknown Sources Enabled

Managing Storage Space Effectively

  1. Regularly check your TV’s available storage in Settings > Device Care > Storage.
  2. Uninstall apps you no longer use to free up space.
  3. Move large media files to external storage devices.
  4. Use cloud storage services for content you don’t need to keep locally.

Clearing Cache and Data for Improved Performance

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and select an app you want to optimize.
  2. Choose “Clear cache” to remove temporary files.
  3. Use “Clear data” for a fresh start if an app is misbehaving (note: this will reset the app to its default state).
  4. Perform this process periodically for all installed apps.

Using Task Killers and Memory Optimizers

  1. Install a reputable task killer app designed for Samsung TVs.
  2. Use the task killer to close background apps that may be slowing down your TV.
  3. Be cautious not to kill essential system processes.
  4. Consider using Samsung’s built-in Device Care feature for memory optimization.

Overclocking Your Samsung TV (Risks and Benefits)

Note: Overclocking should only be attempted by advanced users and carries significant risks.

  1. Research if your TV model supports overclocking through custom firmware.
  2. Understand the potential consequences, including voided warranty and hardware damage.
  3. If proceeding, start with small increments and thoroughly test stability.
  4. Monitor temperature closely to prevent overheating.

Integrating Sideloaded Apps with Samsung TV Features

Using Third-Party Apps with Samsung SmartThings

  1. Install the SmartThings app on your mobile device.
  2. Add your Samsung TV to the SmartThings ecosystem.
  3. Explore compatible third-party apps that can integrate with SmartThings.
  4. Use SmartThings scenes and automations to control your TV and sideloaded apps.

Enhancing Bixby Functionality with Custom Skills

  1. Enable Bixby on your Samsung TV if not already active.
  2. Explore third-party Bixby capsules (skills) that can be sideloaded.
  3. Use Bixby Developer Studio to create custom commands for your sideloaded apps.
  4. Integrate Bixby commands with your smart home setup for enhanced control.

Improving Gaming Experience with Emulators and Mods

  1. Install popular emulators like RetroArch or individual system emulators.
  2. Sideload game ROMs (ensure you have the legal right to use them).
  3. Use game enhancing mods or texture packs for improved visuals.
  4. Consider using a Bluetooth gamepad for a better gaming experience.

Comparing Unknown Sources on Samsung TV vs. Other Platforms

Android TV vs. Samsung TV Sideloading

  1. Android TV generally offers easier sideloading due to its open nature.
  2. Samsung TVs may have more restrictions but often provide better stability.
  3. Android TV has a larger selection of apps designed for TV interfaces.
  4. Samsung’s Tizen OS can be more efficient, leading to smoother performance.

Fire TV Stick as an Alternative to Sideloading

  1. Fire TV Stick allows easy sideloading of apps not available in the Amazon Appstore.
  2. It can be a good option if your Samsung TV doesn’t support unknown sources.
  3. Fire TV Stick offers a dedicated interface optimized for streaming.
  4. Consider the additional cost and HDMI port usage when choosing this option.

Pros and Cons of Using External Streaming Devices


  • Often receive more frequent updates and support
  • Can be easily moved between different TVs
  • Provide a consistent interface across different TV brands


  • Additional cost and setup required
  • May not integrate as seamlessly with TV features
  • Can complicate universal remote setups

Future of Unknown Sources and App Installation on Samsung TVs

Upcoming Tizen OS Updates and Their Impact

  1. Tizen 7.0 is expected to bring improved security features for unknown sources.
  2. Future updates may include more streamlined processes for sideloading apps.
  3. Samsung is likely to continue balancing user freedom with security concerns.

Predictions for Samsung’s App Ecosystem

  1. The official Samsung App Store may expand to include more third-party apps.
  2. Samsung might introduce a vetting process for unofficial apps to improve security.
  3. Integration with other Samsung devices and services is likely to increase.

Emerging Technologies in Smart TV Customization

  1. AI-driven app recommendations and content curation
  2. Advanced voice control and natural language processing
  3. Improved cross-device syncing and continuity features
  4. Potential for AR and VR integration in future TV models

Reverting Changes: Disabling Unknown Sources

Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Off Unknown Sources

  1. Go to Settings > General > Security (or Developer Mode).
  2. Find the “Install unknown apps” or “Unknown sources” option.
  3. Toggle the switch to Off or uncheck the box.
  4. Confirm your choice if prompted.

Removing Sideloaded Apps and Restoring Default Settings

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Select the sideloaded app you want to remove.
  3. Choose Uninstall and confirm.
  4. Repeat for all sideloaded apps.
  5. Consider performing a factory reset for a complete restoration:
    • Go to Settings > General > Reset
    • Select “Reset” and confirm your choice
    • Note that this will erase all data and settings

Factory Reset Options and Considerations

  1. Backup important data before performing a factory reset.
  2. Decide between a partial reset (keeping some settings) or a full reset.
  3. Be prepared to re-enter Wi-Fi passwords and account information.
  4. After the reset, check for and install any available system updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will enabling unknown sources void my warranty?

While enabling unknown sources itself doesn’t typically void the warranty, damage caused by installed third-party apps may not be covered. Check your specific warranty terms for details.

Can I still use official Samsung apps after allowing unknown sources?

Yes, enabling unknown sources doesn’t affect your ability to use official Samsung apps from the Samsung TV App Store.

How do I update sideloaded apps?

Most sideloaded apps don’t update automatically. You’ll need to manually download and install new versions as they become available from the app developer or trusted APK sites.

Is it possible to enable unknown sources on older Samsung TV models?

Many older models support unknown sources, but the process may differ. You might need to use the developer mode method or explore custom firmware options for very old models.

What should I do if my TV becomes unresponsive after installing a third-party app?

Try force closing the app, restarting your TV, or uninstalling the problematic app. If issues persist, consider performing a factory reset as a last resort.

Conclusion: Balancing Customization and Security on Your Samsung TV

Enabling unknown sources on your Samsung TV opens up a world of possibilities for customization and enhanced functionality. By following the steps and best practices outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can safely explore third-party apps and make the most of your smart TV experience.

Remember to always prioritize security by:

  • Researching apps thoroughly before installation
  • Keeping your TV’s firmware updated
  • Monitoring app behavior and permissions
  • Using VPNs and other security measures when appropriate

With the right precautions, you can enjoy a personalized and feature-rich Samsung TV experience that goes beyond the limitations of the official app store. The key is to strike a balance between customization and security, ensuring that your explorations into the world of unknown sources enhance rather than compromise your TV experience.

As the smart TV landscape continues to evolve, stay informed about the latest developments in Samsung’s Tizen OS and the broader app ecosystem. By staying up-to-date and following best practices, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your Samsung TV’s capabilities while keeping your viewing experience safe and enjoyable.

Have you enabled unknown sources on your Samsung TV? What third-party apps have you found most useful? Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments below, and let’s build a community of savvy Samsung TV users who can help each other navigate the exciting world of TV customization!

Leave a Comment