APK: what Are Apk Files And How To Install Them On Android

Apk Files

We got used to Windows Exe files, jpg files for images, pdf files for documents, and many more; now it’s time to understand and learn more about what apk files are, how to install them, and what issues they raise (why there are any) about security.

To summarize, we can say that these are the application files we have on our Android smartphones, but with which we often don’t even come into direct contact as we manage all the apps from the Google Play Store. In reality, that is not the only channel, even if the only official one, with which to install apps on our phone with the Android operating system. So let’s try to shed some light.

What Is The Apk File?

As reported by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the apk file is ” used for the distribution and installation of components supplied on the platform for Android mobile devices “. If to install a program on Windows you need to start a file with the .exe extension, to do the same thing on Android (which is an operating system other than Windows) you have to start the files with the apk extension.

How They Install On Android Smartphones

To install an Apk file for an application, simply open that file, follow the settings on the screen and finish the procedure in a few clicks. The difficulties arise in finding the Apk files, sending them to the smartphone, finding them in the memory of our phone, and overcoming the security limits that Android sets because we will see it shortly, in the installation of these files.

To find the Apk files, you can access sites and online search engines dedicated exclusively to these files, while to send them to your smartphone, simply use the Bluetooth connection (to transfer them from one device to another), or send them by email from your own. pc or, again, transfer them via cable always from the pc. In all cases, it is important to know where they are saved (the downloaded ones are automatically destined to a folder called Downloads) to be able to take them and start them. 

The easiest way to do this is to use File Managers that allow you to move within the memory of the smartphone as if we were among the folders of our PC. Alternatively, you can search for the file directly from your smartphone, this facilitates the download and makes the file immediately available for installation.

Very often, once it is time to install the apk files, our Android smartphone blocks the operation remembering the security risk of installing applications downloaded from external sources. To disable the block, even if only temporarily (the time to install the apk and then reactivate it) you need to follow a simple procedure. 

A procedure that varies according to the version of Android on the smartphone. There is a procedure valid for all versions of Android up to 7 and one for the following ones (therefore from Android 8 Oreo, Android 9 Pie, and Android 10 onwards). Let’s see them both:

Install Apk From Unknown Sources For Smartphones And Tablets Up To Android 7

This is the simplest procedure and involves:

  • Access the phone Settings ;
  • Press on the Security item ;
  • Locate the entry Unknown sources ;
  • Activate the flag.

From now on, when you open an APK file, the procedure continues normally and you are able to complete the installation process. Once the installation is finished, simply disable the flag on the Unknown sources item to restore the security lock. The procedure may vary slightly depending on the brand of your smartphone.

Why APK And Not Google Play Store


Before addressing the thorny issue of security of files with Apk extension, it is appropriate to ask why a user should prefer this path, obviously more complex and articulated, than that of starting the Google Play Store, searching for the desired term, selecting the app and install it. The reasons, of course, are there and can also be very interesting.

Basically, you need to know that the world of smartphone apps is much broader and more varied than we think. The apps are not only those present on the Google Play Store (as far as they seem, and are, to be many). Google requires certain standards to insert an application into a store but nothing prevents a developer from creating an app and distributing it outside the official Google store. And so it happens with hundreds of apps that are either revisited or expanded versions of already known apps (as in the case of WhatsApp Plus), programs not available in your country, or applications that offer services (such as downloading videos from YouTube or Facebook in a few clicks) for which there is no application on the Play Store that performs the same operations.

Although the Google Play Store certainly offers considerable visibility, it is equally true that for developers having to submit to certain limits or having to pay the cost of distributing their work (a subscription costs about € 25 although there are no limits to the number of apps that can be presented to be included in the store) can be a problem; so here is the choice to spread your Apk file in other ways, also running some risks. Let’s see why.

Also Read: What Is PayPal? How Does It Work?

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