Android application package file commonly known as an APK (.apk) file is the format of installable files on Android platform. Every application you have installed or want to install on your Android device has the .apk extension or file format.
You can install applications from the Google Play Store or even the Amazon AppStore but there are also methods that let you install applications directly on your Android device without having to install any application Market. Even installing Amazon AppStore on a non-Kindle device requires you to install the APK file for the AppStore directly. In the Android world, directly installing an APK is also called “sideloading”. There are numerous reasons why you should know about installing apk files. Not all manufacturers support Google Play Store on their Android devices, in that case you have to install apps via sideloading.
There are also times when Google Play will not let you install an app due to region restrictions or it won’t even display the app in your region, which again makes sideloading a necessity. In order to successfully sideload an app or install an apk file, you must follow some really simple steps.
- Android device
- APK file
- Enable “Unknown Sources ” on Android.
- Get the APK file.
- Install the APK file.
1/ Enable “Unknown Sources ” on Android.
This is the most important step for installing APK files on your Android. Without enabling this option you won’t be able to install the APK directly. To enable Unknown Sources go to Settings > Security and check the box next to” Unknown Sources “. A dialogue box may pop-up asking you to confirm the action, just tap OK to confirm.
2/ Get the APK file.
If you already have an APK file downloaded on your Android device then skip to Step 3. In order to install the APK file you must first download the APK file.
In this tutorial we’re using Official Amazon AppStore APK, which will let any Android users install access their store, even on non-Amazon devices. You can install any APK you want by following the same method.
Click here to download the Amazon AppStore APK. If you already have the APK file downloaded on your laptop or PC then connect your Android device to the computer and copy the APK to the external/internal storage on your device.
3/ Install the APK file.
Now navigate to the directory where you have copied or downloaded your APK file. Mostly, it’s stored in the “Downloads” folder on your Android device. Once in the directory, tap the APK icon and an installation dialogue box will pop-up. Hit the install button to install the APK on your Android.
Just like any other platform, Android is prone to malware and virus. According to a published report nearly 99% of malware is targeted at Android. So, always double check the credibility of the source website from where you download your APK files.
It’s better to use official App stores like Google Play and Amazon for application installation but if you want to install apps directly then make sure you’re downloading the APK files from a trusted site. Always read the permissions that each app requires before hitting the install button.
Sometimes hackers will disguise a virus or a malware as your favorite app. Once installed, it will mess up your Android device and worst of all, it will steal all your personal details from your Facebook email/password to your credit card details. So, always be extra careful about what you install on your Android.
It’s better to leave your device as is and use the built-in Android market. Also, downloading paid apps for free and installing them directly is illegal and unethical. You may be breaking some serious laws depending on your country of residence by installing pirated apps.
Sources of APK files
Where you download your APKs from is very important. If you download your APK file from shady website or torrents then there’s a higher chance of infecting your device with mallards. It all depends on each repository/store’s ability to detect malwares.
Amazon AppStore, Google Play, etc are the most trusted and authoritative sites for apps downloads. However, Googling “required app name + apk” will give you a wide range of choices for downloading. Choose the source very carefully and never fall for scams, use your common sense.
Main reasons to sideload APK
After reading about so many threats and warnings, you must be thinking to yourself “Why should I install an APK at all?” Sadly, there are times when you will have no choice but to sideload an apk on your Android.
Some manufacturers don’t offer Google Play on their Android devices like the Nokia X, Nokia XL, etc and the Android market on Nokia devices doesn’t offer a large selection of apps. So, in order to enjoy different apps and games on your device you need to install an apk, either directly or by installing another better app store.
Another reason is when your regional Google Play doesn’t offer the app you want. Google Play restricts applications depending on your region. There are apps exclusive to the U.S. Market which can not be installed via Google Play. In this case you will have to sideload the apk on your device.
Installing an APK file on your Android device is a very simple and straightforward process. It doesn’t require any extra software or hacks. Simple enabling the “Unknown Sources” option makes your device sideload-ready.
Once again, don’t install APK files that ask for extra permissions. Many malware apps will steal your personal information which can be used for malicious purposes. Always keep your antivirus updated to counter any potential threats.
Whenever in doubt, refrain from installing the APK. It’s not worth risking all your personal details and device’s security for an app or game.