If you own an Android device you will likely have heard of an APK file at some point, and possibly wondered what an APK is. Understanding this is essential if you want to start downloading leaked apps or customizing your Android experience further than would be possible using the Play Store alone. In our guide you'll learn what APK files are, how to download them, and finally, how to install them.
What is an APK File?
Just like Windows (PC) systems use an .exe file for installing software, Android does the same. An APK file is the file format used for installing software on the Android operating system.
Why would I want to install an APK File?
APK files of new Android builds are often leaked ahead of time, giving you early access to all the exciting new features that otherwise wouldn't be available to you. Also, some apps are restricted to regions and outside of yours.
APK files also allow you to bypass carriers to get the latest Google updates, which can take a a frustrating amount of time to arrive via an over-the-air update from your network. And if your Android device lacks access to the Google Play Store, APK files may be your only option for installing apps on your device.
Be careful though, you don't want to download stolen apps. Some APK services let you download pirated apps. This is illegal and should be avoided. Do some research before you download so you don't do anything against the law.
How to install APK Files from your computer
There are many sources of APK files across the web, but be sure to choose a site you trust. Some APK files may contain malicious software (malware) which could compromise your phone's security. It is best to be cautious before downloading or installing any app from outside of the Play Store. Generally speaking, APK files found on sites like APK Mirror should be safer to download than from elsewhere, but read some reviews and user comments before downloading or installing an APK.
Firstly, you must find an APK file you want. Search online for an APK file and download it to an easy-to-find location on your computer (like your desktop). Before you can install it on your phone you will need to make sure that third-party apps are allowed on your device. Go to Menu > Settings > Security > and check Unknown Sources to allow your phone to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store. If you like, you can also download an app like ES File Explorer (click the link below) so you can easily find files on your Android device.ES File Explorer File Manager
Once you've downloaded the APK file on your computer, connect your device to it. At this point, you may be asked if you want to charge your phone or connect it as a 'media device.' Choose Media device. Then, find your phone's folder on your computer. It will be in 'My Computer' or 'Computer' on Windows (PC). Then, copy the APK file into a folder of your choice in your Android smartphone.
You will now be able to search for the file location in the My files folder of your device. Find the APK file, tap it, then hit Install. And now you're done, congratulations, you have your app. Just open it up from your smartphone and make sure it works properly. If it doesn't, repeat the process with a different APK file. You may have to try a different APK site.
How to install an APK from your Android device
You can also install APK files from the browser on your Android smartphone or tablet. Just open your browser, find the APK file you want to download, and tap it – you should then be able to see it downloading on the top bar of your device. Once it's downloaded, open Downloads, tap on the APK file, and tap Yes when prompted. The app will begin installing on your device. Simple.
Give it a try and let us know how it went in the comments.