What Is An APK (Android Package Kit) File?

What Is An APK File

You are not alone if you have taken advantage of an APK file at some point, once you faced issues while installing your favorite app from the Google Play Store.

We all have used APK files when the Google Play Store has not allowed us to install our preferred Android apps. Surprisingly, most of us still need to learn what an APK file is and what it does.

This blog post will describe what is an APK file and how you can install and open it on an Android device.

What is an APK File?

APK (Android Package Kit) is also called the Android Application Package. It is a famous file format that helps Android distribute and install its applications.

The APK file includes all the required elements that enable an app to function correctly on a user’s device.

How To Install an APK File on Android?

How to Install an APK File on Android

To install an APK file (.apk) on an Android device, here is what you should do:

  • From an Android device, go to Apps > Settings > Security > activate the ‘Unknown Sources’ option. You should tap OK to activate this setting.
  • Download the APK file to your computer.
  • At this point, you must connect your Android device to your computer using a USB cable. When asked to connect your Android device, choose the ‘ Media device ‘ option.
  • Navigate to the APK file from your computer or PC and copy it into a folder on your Android device. You can store the file in your Android device’s external or internal storage.
  • You must open the Android device’s file manager to find the APK. The file manager is known as File Browser or My Files. You can discover the file manager in the app drawer.
  • Download a free file manager app from the Google Play Store if you have not yet installed one.
  • Click the APK file you copied earlier. When asked to install the app, confirm and continue. Tap the ‘‘Done’’ button once the installation process is completed.

Congratulations! You can now use the newly installed app.

What are the Contents of an Android Package Kit (APK) File?

The APK files contain all the contents required to run the application without issues.

  • AndroidManifest.xml
  • Assets/.
  • Classes.dex
  • Lib/.
  • META-INF/.
  • Res/.
  • Resources.arsc


It is a crucial Android manifest file that helps explain access rights, library, version, name, and other contents related to the APK file.


Assets/. includes resource files and application assets available in the app.


Classes.dex include compiled Java classes in the DEX (Delvik Executable) file format. These compiled Java classes are run on Android devices.


Lib/. is a folder that consists of native libraries and platform-dependent compiled code helpful for device-specific architectures like x86 and x86_64.


META-INF is another key folder containing a manifest file, signature, application certificate, and a list of sources. 


It is a directory containing resources, such as images not compiled into resources.arsc.


It is a file that includes pre-compiled resources the app uses.

How To Open an Android Package Kit File on Android?

Fortunately, you can open APK files on Android devices hassle-free. When manually downloading an APK file into your Android device, activate the downloads from unknown sources option first.

You will need to go to the Android OS settings to enable this function correctly.

Note: Users should download APK files from trusted sources. By doing so, they can secure their devices from potential malware and viruses.

How To Open an Android Package Kit File on Windows and Mac?

Windows 11 users can utilize an excellent tool, Windows subsystem for Android, to install APK files manually. This amazing tool lets users download Android apps from the Amazon App Store.

Furthermore, they can benefit from BlueStacks, an Android emulator, when opening APK files on Windows devices.

If you are a Mac user, you can use BlueStacks again to open APK files on macOS.

How To Open an Android Package Kit file on iOS?

Unfortunately, you cannot access APK files on an iPad or iPhone. APK files work differently compared to iOS apps installed on these devices.

Moreover, the two platforms do not support each other. In reality, iOS apps are stored in a format that relies on the IPA file extension.

How To Create an Android Package Kit (APK) file?

When creating APK files, you can get help from Android Studio. Android Studio offers a comprehensive, integrated development (IDE) Environment.

The environment helps users create Android software. It supports various platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Android Studio compiles the app and puts it in an APK file once the app development is completed. You can name the APK file according to your choice, but it must end with .apk.

When uploading APK files to the Google Play Store, your files should be less than 100 megabytes. Luckily, you can upload two APK expansion files in case your app needs more content.

An APK file allows users to store extensive media files and high-fidelity graphics. As a result, users may avoid issues like file size exceeding limitations.    

How Many Android Apps Are Available Globally?

According to Statista, 3.55 million Android apps were available in the Google Play Store during the third quarter of 2022. Likewise, the Apple App Store had 1.6 million iOS apps in the same period.

What Do I Do If I Can’t Install APK Files On Android?

When installing APK files on Android from sources other than the Google Play Store, you may encounter the “App is not installed” error.

Therefore, you must try different workarounds to help you overcome the “App is not installed” error instantly. These workarounds include:

  • Your Android device must be compatible with the APK you want to download.
  • The APK file should not be incomplete or corrupted.
  • You must activate the “Installation from Unknown sources” option.
  • Your mobile must have sufficient storage space.

Wrapping Up

We hope you now have the answer to your query, “What is an APK file?”. An APK file is handy when installing Android apps on multiple devices from sources other than the Google Play Store.

Users rightly assume APK files are one of the most impactful attributes of Android app distribution. It does not matter if you are an experienced app developer who wants to distribute the app; you should not undermine the importance of APK files. As a user, you must know the significance of APK files when installing your desired app beyond the boundaries of the Play Store.

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