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How to sideload UWP applications

What is sideloading? It's a term you see a lot thrown around while talking about Windows applications, and it's simple to explain. It means installing applications without using the official Windows Store Market.

In this section we will describe how to sideload a Windows 10 UWP (Universal Windows Platform) application with the help of HockeyApp.

The side load process involves three main steps (build-upload-sideload), which we will cover in this document:

  1. Build application
  2. Upload application
  3. Sideload application
    1. Configure the device
    2. Sideload application on mobile device
    3. Sideload application on desktop device
  4. Troubleshooting

1. Build application

  1. In Visual Studio Right Click on the project and select Store -> Create App Packages

  2. In the "Create Your Packages" window select "No" for the question "Do you want to build packages to upload to the Windows Store?"

  3. In the "Select and Configure Packages" window select "Always" in Generate app bundle combobox.

  4. In the "Select and Configure Packages" window select Release in all Select Configuration rows.
    This is extremely important step, as you can't distributer Debug builds in an easy way, because end user devices do not have .NET Framework debug dependencies installed.

2. Upload application

For UWP application, you can easily upload your build directly from Visual Studio 2015 with Update 2 or later, as described below. For all other application types please follow our instructions in Manual Upload section.

2.1. Upload from Visual Studio (UWP only)

  1. Right click your UWP project in Visual Studio.
  2. Select Upload build to HockeyApp...
  3. Follow the wizard.



2.2. Manual Upload

Before you proceed to these steps you need to have a UWP application in HockeyApp. If you don't have it yet, please, follow the steps described at How to create an app for UWP.

  1. Open portal
  2. Navigate to your application
  3. Click "Add Version" button
  4. Specify all required fields
  5. Click button "Upload build or sym"
  6. Specify the path to your generated .appxbundle file.
  7. To upload application to desktop device:
    Zip the whole folder which contains your *.appxbundle. An example of the folder is shown below.
  8. To upload application to mobile device:
    Select your *.appxbundle file.
  9. Click button "Upload build or sym" and provide path to file created on step 8 or 9 on previous step.

3. Install application

These instructions need to be done by the users of the application who wants to install the application on their device. In order to do that, they need to first configure the device and than install the application.

1. Configure the device

  1. Open Settings -> Update & security -> For Developers
  2. Select radio box "Developer mode"
    We suggest to select "Developer mode" instead of "Sideload apps", because in developer mode for phone devices end user will not have to install certificate certificate. uwp-sideload-developer-mode.png

2. Sideload application on mobile device

If your users are using Windows 10 phone device, like Nokia Lumia 950, provide these instructions.

  1. When you receive a notification email from HockeyApp, just click the Download & Install link
  2. Click Download button
  3. Click on *.appxbundle file and it will automatically install the application on the device.

3. Sideload application on desktop device

Sideload experience for desktop device is more complicated than for mobile devices. Your users need to
1. Download the zip file you uploaded in upload step 2.8
2. Unzip the file
3. Run PowerShell script Add-AppDevPackage.

4. Troubleshooting

If your application did not install on Windows Phone 10, there will be no error message shown, in order to collect the trace, do the following:

  1. Install the Field Medic application on the phone
  2. Collect the traces as described here
  3. Provide traces to hockey app team in our support forum