How to install applications or APK files on Android - The Happy Android

Have you ever considered life on Android beyond Google Play? Most of us, when we want to install a new app, we simply search for it in the Google Play Store and the system itself takes care of installing it on our phone or tablet. But outside of the official Android store too there are other ways to install an app or game concrete.

Yes, we can try others Alternative repositories to the Google Play Store, but we don't mean that. In this case we are talking about APK files and of the manual installation of applications on Android. It is a fairly simple process and it opens up a whole world of new possibilities for our terminal. Shall we take a look at it?

What is an application or APK file?

APK files are files that contain all the information necessary to install and run an app on an Android device. This is known as an "installation package", and they are usually files identifiable by the extension ".apk”.

We can find these installation packages for download on web pages such as APK Mirror and the like, and they are usually an excellent alternative to test old versions of apps and games -you know, before they launched that new update that completely destroys their usability-, or new versions of well-known applications that have not yet reached Google Play or are not available in our country due to regional blocks.

To install apps or games using a file with an APK extension, just download the file in our Android terminal and open the file. As simple as that.

How to install an APK package on Android

Before installing an app on our Android terminal using an .APK file we have to make a small change in the configuration of our device.

By default, Android does not allow you to install apps that do not come from Google Play or other “trusted sites”. Therefore, the first thing we have to do is allow the system to install applications from "unknown origin”. Or what is the same, tell Android that we enable the installation of APK files.

On older versions of Android (Android 7 and lower)

To enable the installation of this type of apps we must go to "Settings -> Security”And activate the tab“Unknown sources”. Once this is done, we can open and install any .APK file on our device.

For example, let's say we just downloaded the latest WhatsApp beta in .APK format. To install it, we just have to open the file and click on "Install”To enjoy the new version of the popular messaging tool.

In modern versions of Android (Android 8 and later)

On Android 10, Android 8, and Android 9 the enablement process differs a bit. If we have a mobile with a more current version of the Google operating system, the permissions to install APKs are granted individually. For example, if we download the APK files from the browser, then we will have to give the browser special permissions (Chrome or whatever we are using) so that it can install this type of files on the device.

  • Open the «Settings»From Android.
  • Navigate to «Applications and notifications -> Special application access -> Install unknown applications«.

  • This will take us to a list where we will see all the applications that we have installed in the terminal. Select your header browser and make sure that the «Authorize downloads from this source" it's activated.

  • Repeat this same process for any other application that you can use to manage APK files. For example, if you have APKs in the SD memory of the device and you are going to use a file explorer to perform the installations from there, then you will also have to give the file explorer permissions.

.APK files as a possible source of malware and viruses

One of the things we have to keep in mind when activating the installation of apps from unknown sources is that we are opening a door that was previously tightly closed.

APK files abound on the internet, and there are many sites that offer downloading of this type of files. We are talking about the ideal hotbed for any type of virus, spyware or malicious application to creep into our Android device. Before installing anything, let's make sure it is a trusted page, and before the slightest suspicion we discard the installation without the slightest objection. Our phone or tablet will surely appreciate it.

P.D: One of the web pages that has never given me any problems and that I think is totally reliable is APK Mirror. If you want to start testing new apps, I think it can be a good reference site. What do you think?

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