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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

What’s an APK file?

Installing Google Play Store APK

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Should you’ve been within the Android sphere lengthy sufficient, and also you’re greater than only a informal person — which might be true, in case you’re at Android Authority — you’ve in all probability heard folks speaking about APK information. You may actually have a obscure sense of what they’re. On this information  although we’ll provide a extra in-depth rationalization, together with whether or not or not you must really feel protected putting in them.


An APK is the file format Android depends on for putting in apps. It incorporates all the pieces wanted for set up, so apps could be loaded in your machine with or with out the Google Play Retailer.


What’s an APK file?

Google Play Store apk download

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

APK is brief for Android Bundle, and that’s a great clue by itself. To truly clarify nonetheless, an APK file is an archive of all the property an Android app wants to put in and run, together with not simply its primary code however issues like certificates, assets, and a manifest file. An APK could be loaded on most units that assist Android apps, which means not simply telephones and tablets however issues like Home windows 11 PCs.

Except you’re a developer, there’s (usually) no want to consider APKs. Everytime you obtain or replace an app by way of the Google Play Retailer, APK unpacking is dealt with quietly behind the scenes. The identical is true with the Amazon Appstore on Hearth units, or the Galaxy Retailer on Samsung merchandise. The truth is, if you need, you possibly can set up the Amazon Appstore on non-Hearth platforms, however there’s not a lot level except you’re utilizing Home windows (extra on that later).

We are saying “usually” as a result of if you could find different sources of APK information, handbook set up is feasible, and there are just a few causes you is perhaps outdoors of software program improvement. The primary is that some apps may technically violate Play Retailer guidelines, like Fortnite, however in any other case be completely protected and purposeful. In some instances an APK could also be accessible earlier than an replace is pushed to your machine, so handbook set up can velocity up the replace course of. Lastly, there’s piracy — however that leads us to the subsequent part.

Are APK information protected to put in?

Fortnite Chapter 4 in action

Sure, so long as they arrive from a trusted supply. After the most important app shops, the subsequent most dependable sources are well-known app builders, reminiscent of Fortnite’s Epic Video games. Beneath that tier are smaller indie builders, for whom much more skepticism is required — even a well-meaning creator may need a buggy or outdated app that might play havoc along with your machine.

Not all Android builders have good intentions, which is the place piracy comes into play. At finest a pirated app goes to be purposeful, however deprive its creator(s) of earnings and deter them from supporting Android sooner or later. At worst it’s actually a trick — you’ll be unintentionally putting in malware since you had been making an attempt to avoid wasting just a few {dollars} or perhaps even just a few cents.

Whereas it’s unlikely, one other factor to conscious of is that an APK might appear on the up-and-up however actually function a type of adware for an unethical firm or authorities. For causes like this you must at all times favor downloading from an app retailer except the factor you need is solely unattainable there.

How you can open an APK file

We’ve acquired devoted guides for putting in APK information, together with loading third-party app shops or putting in on previous variations of Android, however right here’s what you sometimes have to do relying on the platform.

On Android

  • Discover the APK you need and obtain it to your machine.
  • Open the APK to start set up. Any file explorer app will do, however the remainder of our directions assume you’re utilizing Recordsdata by Google.
  • A pop-up ought to warn that permissions are wanted. In Recordsdata, faucet the Settings button to proceed.
  • On the subsequent web page, you’ll be requested to permit unknown apps from this supply. Flip the Permit from this supply toggle to proceed.
  • When an set up immediate seems, faucet the Set up button.

On a Home windows PC

  • Replace to the newest model of Home windows 11. Additionally, open the Microsoft Retailer app, click on the Library tab, then click on Get updates. As soon as downloads are completed, click on the profile button within the title bar to examine the Microsoft Retailer model quantity. You want a minimum of 22110.1402.6.0 or later.
  • Make sure that Home windows 11 has virtualization enabled. Head to Management Panel > Applications and Options, choose Flip Home windows options on or off, then tick Digital Machine Platform and Home windows Hypervisor Platform earlier than clicking OK. You could have to restart your PC.
  • Set up the Amazon Appstore by way of the Microsoft Retailer. This can set up important elements in tandem, so don’t skip this.
  • Since we’re assuming you don’t need to be restricted to Appstore titles, obtain and set up ADB Installer.
  • Grant administrator permissions if vital.
  • Hit Y and press Enter when requested to put in ADB and Fastboot, set up ADB system-wide, after which set up Drivers.
  • Full the driving force set up wizard when it pops up.
  • Obtain the APK you need in case you haven’t already.
  • Utilizing the Home windows 11 search bar, discover and launch Home windows Subsystem for Android.
  • Within the Subsystem’s settings, toggle on Developer mode, then click on the field subsequent to Recordsdata.
  • Individually, run PowerShell as an administrator, then sort adb join [IP address] into the command line, the place the IP handle is what you see in Subsystem settings. For instance, one thing like “adb join”. Hit Enter.
  • Find your APK file, right-click it, and select Copy as path.
  • Change again to PowerShell, then enter adb set up [APK path], pasting the trail you simply copied. Press Enter.
  • Your app ought to be put in, able to launch within the Begin menu.

On a Chromebook

  • Enter Developer Mode. As a result of this performs a manufacturing facility reset, ensure you’ve backed up any important information to the cloud first.
  • Discover and obtain the APK you need.
  • Use the file’s context menu to put in the APK.


No, a minimum of to not set up them. Some apps may allow you to peek inside their contents, however iPhones are incapable of working Android software program, or vice versa.

It might be if the APK is predicated on a business app like Netflix or PUBG Cell. You’re in all probability solely going to get in hassle in case you’re caught distributing the mod, although, not utilizing it.

No, they’re simply the information used to put in Android apps. APKs can probably include viruses, nonetheless, so it’s finest to obtain them by way of app shops (just like the Google Play Retailer) or well-known builders reminiscent of Epic Video games.

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