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Downloading a 3rd-party app? STOP! First, know how to open APK files on Android – HT Tech

Do not attempt to download a 3rd-party app on Android smartphones before you know how to open APK files the right way.

One of the many cool things that even a mid-range Android smartphone can do and the latest iPhone 14 cannot do is downloading and installing apps from third-party marketplaces. Also known as sideloading, the process involves installing an application package in APK format. And this can be very useful. There are many apps which are not really available on Google Play Store for various reasons but you may find a need for it. Instead of finding a subpar alternative from the official marketplace, you can simply download an APK of the best app and install it. But the process is not as simple as installing an application from Google. The process is a little tricky but very easy to master. And once you do, you will be able to get much better use out of your smartphone. So read on to know how to open APK files on Android devices.

What are APK files

APK stands for Android Application Package or simple Android Package. In simple terms, it is a dis-assembled application built for Android that once installed properly can work and function like any other app. These files are compiled with Android Studio (the official integrated development environment or IDE for building Android software). Usually they are downloaded as a single file which needs to be extracted and installed manually, or they can be available in a main file and an OBB format file which contains additional data necessary to run the application.

If you are looking to install an APK file, then you must know the right way to go about it. Check below to know the steps and to install a third-party app with ease.

How to open APK files

Step 1:

First locate a genuine third-party marketplace. You have to be aware because many such websites also contain malwares and they can seriously damage your smartphone and even steal your data.

Step 2:

After you have located the APK file you want to open and install, go back to the home screen.

Step 3:

Go to settings and find Apps in it. 

Step 4:

Go to the browser or any other app you normally use to download APK files. There, click on ‘App Info’.

Step 5:

In advanced options, you should find an option for ‘Install Unknown Apps’. Tick this box and select ‘Allow’.

Step 6:

Go back to the page where you have the APK file and download. Once downloaded, click on the file and you will get a prompt to install it. Click on install, and done!

However, we will very strongly recommend that if you have never used APK files before or are not very tech savvy, stick with Google Play Store applications. This is because APK files are not verified or protected and can be filled with dangerous malware, spyware and viruses that can corrupt your device, steal your personal data and financial information. Make sure you know what you’re doing before downloading an APK file.