www.bizbangboom.com - BizBangBoom

What is an APK file and how to install it on Android?

What is an APK file and how to install it on Android?

If you own an Android device, you've probably heard of "APK files" and wondered what they actually are. Understanding this is essential if you want to start downloading pre-loaded apps or customize your Android experience further than would be possible with the Play Store itself. In our guide you will learn what APK files are, how to download them and finally how to install them.

What is an APK file?

Why would I want to install an APK file?

How to Install APK on Android Device

How to install APK files from PC

Best APK Download Sites

Affiliate offer

Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a

To the device database

Check the menu


What is an APK file?

Android Package Kit (APK for short) is a package file format used by the Android operating system to distribute and install mobile applications. Just as Windows (PC) systems use an .exe file to install software, APK does the same for Android.

When you download an APK online, you basically get an app. Most users get apps from the Google Play Store without ever seeing the word APK. But there are situations where you would want to do it differently.

Principal Systems Engineer/Architect - Top Secret (Satellite/Space Systems)

Northrop Grumman - Dulles

In 2021, Google began phasing out APK files from the Play Store and replacing them with the more flexible AAB format. But since AAB files are custom made for each device, they require different steps to install.

How to install APK files on Android smartphone?

Why would I want to install an APK file?

APK files of new Android builds are often leaked in advance, giving you early access to all the awesome new features you wouldn't otherwise have. Some apps are also restricted to regions outside of your own. App updates can take an annoyingly long time to automatically go over the air. Getting the latest APK file for your favorite apps lets you skip the queue. Or you might not like a particular app after an update and want to install an older version instead.

And if your Android device doesn't have access to the Google Play Store, APK files may be your only option for installing apps on your device.

Have you accidentally deleted the Google Play Store?, Here's how to get the APK file and restore it

Be careful though, you don't want to download stolen apps. Some APK services allow you to download pirated apps. This is illegal and should be avoided. Even worse, the sketchy APK files can contain malware, as many who thought they were getting early versions of Fortnite for Android have discovered to their dismay. Do your research before downloading so you don't break the law or mess up your device.

How to Install APK on Android Device

You can install APK files on your Android smartphone or tablet directly from your browser.

Just open your browser, find the APK file you want to download and tap on it - then you should see the download on the top bar of your device.

Once downloaded, open the Downloads folder, tap the APK file, and tap Yes when prompted.

The app will start installing on your device. Simple.

How to install APK files from PC

You don't need a smartphone to download and install APK files. You can also do this on a desktop computer. Here's how it works.

Best Alternative App Stores for Android

First, you need to find the APK file you want. Find the APK file online and download it to an easily accessible location on your computer (such as your desktop).


Apple AirPods keep disconnecting? Here are some possible solutions!

Apple AirPods keep disconnecting? Here are some possible solutions!

Unknown Android apps installation screen

The first time you install from a non-Google source on newer versions of Android, you'll see a prompt similar to this. / © NextPit

If you want, you can also download a file manager app to easily find files on your Android device. We recommend our favorite file managers in our list of the best file explorers for Android.

Once you have downloaded the APK file on your computer, connect your Android device to it.

At this point you may be asked if you want to charge your phone or connect it as a "media device" Select a media device (File Transfer on some phones).

Then find the phone folder on your computer. It will be in 'My Computer' or 'Computer' in Windows (PC).

Copy the APK file to a folder of your choice on your Android smartphone.

You will now be able to locate the file in the My Files folder of your device.

Open the file manager, find the APK file, tap it, and then tap Install.

Note: If you're using a file manager to install an APK file for the first time, Android will prompt you to authorize the app to install unknown apps (or apps from unknown sources)—ie. those not downloaded from the Play Store. To enable the app, follow the on-screen instructions, similar to the screenshot above.

And now you are done, congratulations, you have your app. Just open it from your smartphone and make sure it works properly. If not, repeat the process with another APK file. You may have to try another APK website.

How to install apps outside the Google Play Store

If your smartphone's operating system uses a version older than Android 8.0, you need to change the system settings in order to install applications that are not downloaded from the Play Store:

Open the Settings app.

Click Security.

Enable Unknown sources to allow your phone to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store.

Downloading APK files? Which do you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

Best APK Download Sites

There are many sources of APK files on the web, but be sure to choose a site you trust. Some APK files may contain malicious software (malware) that could compromise the security of your phone. It is best to exercise caution before downloading or installing any app outside of the Play Store.

Generally speaking, APK files found on reputable sites like the ones listed here should be safer to download than elsewhere, but read some user reviews and comments before downloading or installing an APK file.

Screenshot of APK Mirror website

You can use APK files to get versions of apps that are not yet available on Google Play. / © NextPit (screenshot)

APKMirror is generally considered to be the most secure option. Now owned and operated by the Android Police, these guys know what they're talking about. APKPure is another good option. Security is a priority on this site and you can download APK files without worrying about spyware and viruses. Finally, Aptoide goes

Contact Member
Our Family of FREE Listing Sites: