Install Apps on HoloLens 2 via App Installer

Note

This feature was made available in Windows Holographic, version 20H2 – December 2020 Update. Ensure your device is updated to use this feature.

We have added a new capability (App Installer) to allow you to install applications more seamlessly on your HoloLens 2 devices. The feature will be on by default for unmanaged devices. To prevent disruption to enterprises, app installer will be not be available for managed devices at this time.

A device is considered “managed” if any of the following are true:

You are now able to install Apps without needing to enable Developer Mode or using Device Portal. Download (over USB or through Microsoft Edge) the Appx Bundle to your device and navigate to the Appx Bundle in the File Explorer to be prompted to kick off the installation. Alternatively, initiate an install from a web page. Just like apps you install from the Microsoft Store or sideload using MDM’s LOB App deployment capability, apps need to be digitally signed with the Sign Tool and the certificate used to sign must be trusted by the HoloLens device before the app can be deployed.

Requirements

For your devices:

This feature is currently available in Windows Holographic 20H2 builds for HoloLens 2 devices. Ensure any devices using this method are updated.

For your apps:

Your app’s Solution Configuration must be either Master or Release as the App Installer will use dependencies from the store. See more about creating app packages.

Apps that are installed via this method must be digitally signed. You'll need to use a certificate to sign the app. You can either get a certificate from the MS Trusted CA List, in which case you won't need to take any extra action. Or you can sign your own certificate however that certificate will need to be pushed onto the device.

Certificate options:

Pick a certificate deployment method.

Installation method

  1. Check that your device is not considered managed.
  2. Check that your HoloLens 2 device is powered on and you are signed in.
  3. On your PC navigate to your custom app, and copy yourapp.appxbundle to yourdevicename\Internal Storage\Downloads. After you finish copying your file, you may disconnect your device and finish the install later.
  4. From your HoloLens 2 device Open the Start Menu, select All apps and launch the File Explorer app.
  5. Navigate to the Downloads folder. You may need to on the left panel of the app select This device first, then navigate to Downloads.
  6. Select the yourapp.appxbundle file.
  7. The App Installer will launch. Select the Install button to install your app.

The installed app will automatically launch upon the completion of installing.

Installing MRTK Examples via App Installer

Troubleshooting Installs

If your app failed to install, check the following to troubleshoot:

Web Installer

Users can install an app directly from a web server. This flow takes use of the App Installer combined with an easy download and install distribution method.

How to set up web install:

  1. Ensure your app is correctly configured to install.
  2. Follow these steps to enable install from a web page.

End user experience:

  1. User receives and installs certificate to the device using a method previously chosen above.
  2. User visits the URL created from the step above.

The app will now install to the device. To find the app, open the Start menu and select the All apps button to find your app.

Note

UI during the update process is not supported. So the ShowPrompt option on this page and related options are not supported.

Sample Apps

Try out the App Installer with one of our available sample apps.