If you are like most folks, you probably have lots of mobile apps in your Android device. And you are not overly concerned with how these apps run, or the magic that goes on behind the scenes.
Well, that’s not too bad, but if you desire to understand your mobile device and get to know its inner workings, then you need to have a good grasp of the Android Package Kit (APK).
Whether you’re a mobile app developer or just a regular dude across the street, an excellent knowledge of APK would come in handy someday.
If you want to customize your experience and download third-party apps in your Android device, keep reading…
Here comes the big question — what is an APK file, how do you download it, and how can you open it?
What is an APK File?
The APK file extension is used to distribute applications on Google’s Android OS. It is synonymous with the .exe files (which is used for installing software) in Windows.
For Android devices, APK files are stored in ZIP format and downloaded into the Android device. Ideally, you can find APK files in Google’s Play Store and other third-party websites.
A regular APK file has folders like res and META-INF, and files like resources.arsc, AndroidManifest.xml, and classes.dex.
Here’s the thing; it’s quite difficult to notice the word APK when downloading apps from Play Store. This is primarily due to the app installation process — apps from Google’s Play Store are installed in the background.
You can also download APK files from third-party websites. The issue is, apps installed manually from other websites may have malware distributed in it so make sure the site you download apk from is genuine and trusted.
Open APK File on Android
Opening an APK file on Android devices is relatively straightforward. Just download the file and try installing it like a regular app.
Sometimes, a security block would prevent the APK files from installing in your device. To bypass the block, you’ve got to navigate to your setting and allow APK file installation from unknown sources.
Here’s how to do it…
For most Android versions, all you have to do is navigate to Settings and click on the Security icon. There will be an option to Enable Unknown Sources.
There are some Android versions where the path is quite different. In that case, try the below path…
First, you click on settings, navigate to the Apps & notifications icons, on the next screen, click on the Advanced icon, on the next screen that pops up, click on the Special app access icon. Finally, click on the Install unknown apps icon.
Once you have allowed the installation from unknown sources, just double-tap on the APK file and it will launch the setup wizard. Click on “Install“, wait for it to install, and then tap “Done or Open” to finish the installation or directly open the app.
You can also navigate to apps, find installed apps, and open it. Since this is an easy and straightforward process, you shouldn’t get any problem following it.
Open APK File on PC Windows & Mac
Opening an APK file on Windows can be done by using cross-platform tools like Android Studio and Bluestacks.
When you open these tools, you would easily find the tabs for installing APK on Windows.
- First off, Download Bluestacks from here.
- Once it is downloaded, Double click on it to launch the installation process.
- Click on Install
- Launch the Bluestacks once it is installed
- Drag and drop apk file to Bluestacks homepage and it will start installing.
- Once the process is finished, you will see the app icon listed on the Bluestacks homepage.
- Click on it to run and start using it.
Working with APK files is cool. And opening these files is not rocket science. With APK files, you get to have those fun apps that are not available in your location. Also, you can get leaked apps before their launch dates
All in all, APK files offer much flexibility. And you get to use it on your Android devices, Windows laptop, and even Mac.