APK Files, what are they for? 

A file with extension .apk (Android Application Package) is a package for the Android operating system. This format is a variant of Java JAR format and is used to distribute and install components packaged for the Android platform for smartphones and tablets.

An .apk file usually contains the following:

  • AndroidManifest.xml
  • classes.dex
  • resources.arsc
  • res (folder)
  • META-INF (folder)
  • lib (folder)

APK format is basically a compressed ZIP file with a different extension which can be opened and inspected using a software file archiver like 7-Zip, Winzip, WinRAR or Ark.

To open it as application  for different platforms, an android emulator should be used.

Depending on the type of smartphone you have, the .APK files can be downloaded directly from websites on your phone or, first to your computer and then install them by using a USB cable or SD card. Of course, the Play Store simplifies this process and makes it more friendly, since in one place makes available to all applications that can be downloaded to the device with a friendly interface. However, for the release of apps, you first need to go through the approval of Google, which sometimes causes new versions of them take time to get to the store. This is where the .APK  files into action, and thanks to them is possible to obtain the most recent editions of our favorite applications because some developers uploads  in parallel and sometimes even anonymous in unofficial portals.

Play Store


Running an .APK file

To run an .apk file, you must first authorize the installation of applications that do not come from the Play Store. To do this, you need to go to the Settings of your smartphone and then the sub-menu Security or Applications to activate the feature from unknown sources.

Authorizing Unknown Sources


Once you've allowed unknown sources can proceed to run the APK just pressing its icon, it will start installing the program contained in this APK.

Note: you must be careful with the source of an APK file because they could be harmful for your device