APK file: what is it, how to open APK files on Android, iPhone, Windows, etc.

Android package, also known as APK, is a popular format used to package and distribute Android application files. These APK files are available on Google Play Store but in their extracted form. But when you download them from third party website then you need to install them properly. These APK files are packed in .zip format as extracting them becomes a tedious process. In this article, we’ll explain what an APK file is and how you can open, extract, and install it. Let’s see how we do it.

What is an APK file?

APK stands for Android Packaging Kit is a file format used to package Android apps. It contains all the content necessary for the proper functioning of an application. Some of the content includes an AndroidManifest.xml file, classes.dex and resources.arsc. APK files have an .apk format and are saved in .ZIP format. These files can be downloaded from Google Play Store or any other website. Although apk files can be downloaded on any device, they are mostly used on Android phones.

Software tools to open APK files

Generally, APK files are compressed in .zip format and to open them you need a tool that can extract and install them. Here are some lists of software you can use for APK files.

For Windows and Mac

  • Google Android Studio
  • BlueStacks
  • WinRAR (only on Windows)
  • NoxNox Player
  • Genymotion

For Android

  • Split APK Installer
  • ES File Explorer
  • Google files

How to open the APK file?

On Android:

Downloading an APK file on an Android device is easy, but installing it is not. To do this, you need to disable some restrictions. Here’s how.

  1. Go to Settings and then to Applications.
  2. Tap App info and select the app you regularly use to download APK files. For example, we use Google Chrome to download applications and therefore choose them.
  3. Now go to Advanced and select Install unknown apps.
  4. Enable the Allow from this source option.

That’s all, now to open any APK file downloaded from that particular app, just tap on the file and it will open.

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On Windows:

APK files are not intended for Windows PCs as they use .EXE packages. However, there is an indirect way to open APK files on a Windows laptop. For this, you will need to install BlueStacks or any other Android emulator. Now download an APK file from a credible website and navigate to the folder where it is located. Now right-click and select Open with BlueStacks APK Installer. The file will be installed on PC via Bluestacks in My Game section.

On Mac:

To open an APK file on a Macbook or any other PC running macOS, you need to download BlueStack and follow the same instructions we mentioned above for the Windows PC. You need to download BlueStack and open it with the app installer. The file will be installed in BlueStack.

On an iPhone:

APK files are intended specifically for Android phones and not iOS devices and therefore you cannot open them on an iPhone. iOS is not compatible with APK files and stores files in a different format called .ipa.

How to install APK files?

If you are on an Android smartphone, you can install an APK file by following the steps below.

  1. Open Google Files or a File Manager app on your phone.
  2. Now go to the App section and then to the APK section.
  3. Find the file you downloaded and tap on it.
  4. A prompt will appear, tap Install and it will be installed.

How to extract an APK file?

Any file extraction tool can extract an APK on Windows or Android operating system. Additionally, there are a few online tools you can use to extract APK files such as Ezyzip Where Archive Extractor. To do this, just tap on the APK file and click Extract, then choose a folder. The file will be extracted and the contents can be seen.

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1) Why don’t APK files open?

The APK files you downloaded might be corrupted or the app you downloaded from is not authorized to install apps.

2) Which programs can open APK?

APK can be opened with any Zip file decompression tool only on smartphones.

3) Can APK files harm my device?

Most APK files are not harmful, however, if you downloaded your file from an unauthentic source, it may contain any type of virus.

4) Are APK files legal?

APK files are legal and you don’t have to worry about them. It is the basic file format and every developer uses it.

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