What Is an APK File and What Does It Do? Explained

What does an APK do for Android users? Here’s everything you need to know about this important term.

Assuming that you have an Android gadget, you could have heard the term APK and thought about what it implies. While you can utilize Android while never learning the significance of APK, concentrating on a piece will help you comprehend and value the stage further.

How about we take a gander at what an APK record is and why it means a lot to Android.

What Is an APK File?

APK represents Android Bundle (here and there Android Bundle Unit or Android Application Bundle). It’s the record design that Android uses to disseminate and introduce applications. Accordingly, an APK contains every one of the components that an application needs to introduce accurately on your gadget.

An APK is a chronicle record, implying that it contains different documents, in addition to some metadata about them. You’re presumably acquainted with different kinds of document records, similar to ZIP and RAR.

By and large, chronicle records (like Compress) are utilized to consolidate different documents into one, to make them more versatile or pack them to save space. At the point when a chronicle is utilized to convey programming, it’s then called a product bundle.

It just so happens, APKs are a variation of the Container (Java Chronicle) record design, since a ton of Android is implicit Java. All APKs are Compress records at their center, however they should contain extra data to work as an APK appropriately.

So all APKs are ZIPs, however not all ZIPs are APKs. On the off chance that you’re interested, you can air out an APK record and see what’s inside. Simply utilize a document extraction instrument like 7-Compress to open it like you would any old Compress record. You can’t do much with APKs on stages other than Android, except if you introduce an Android emulator like Bluestacks.

What Are APK Files Used For?

APK documents permit you to introduce applications on your Android telephone. They’re like the APPX documents used to introduce Store applications on Windows, as well as comparing bundle records on different stages. At the point when you open an APK on your gadget, it contains the directions to introduce the application on your telephone and gives data about the actual bundle to your gadget.

Typically, when you visit Google Play to download or refresh an application, the store naturally introduces the APK for you. Along these lines, the Play Store likewise goes about as a bundle director — an instrument for effectively introducing, refreshing, and eliminating programming on a gadget.

Be that as it may, because of Android’s open nature, Google Play isn’t the best way to find and introduce APKs. It’s not difficult to acquire an APK record from somewhere else, move it to your gadget, and introduce it physically. Perceive how to sideload applications on Android for a full aide.

How Are APK Files Created?

At the point when a designer makes an Android application, they probably use Android Studio, the authority improvement instrument for Android. Once the application is prepared to transport, Android Studio arranges the application, then places everything into one holder — an APK.

APKs can have any name, yet commonly need to keep the document expansion .apk so OSes know how to decipher them. At the point when you download an APK, you’ll ordinarily find they have filenames like the accompanying:


This is a (shortened) version of the APK name for Google’s Phone app. You can see that the full app name matches up with the app’s filename in the URL of its Google Play page:


The numbers at the end represent the current version, which can be quite granular since major apps like this get updated all the time.

Why Would I Install APK Files Manually?

Google Play is fine for most people’s Android installation needs. But there are several benefits to installing APKs manually.

One of the biggest is getting access to the latest version of apps ahead of time. When a major Google app (like Calendar) releases a major update, it can take a week or more for your device to get the latest release from Google Play. Installing the APK on your own lets you skip the wait and update as soon as you want.

Sideloading APKs likewise allows you to introduce applications on your gadget that aren’t accessible on Google Play. You could find an application that isn’t permitted on Google Play since it disregards a strategy, or perhaps you need to test your companion’s application that is as of now being developed.

Very much like work area programming, however, downloading APK records from arbitrary sites can be perilous. While Google Play has channels set up to get risky applications, there’s not as much security while you’re introducing APKs all alone. They could be malware masked as a genuine application, or may be messed with to incorporate spyware.

Just download APKs from confided in locales. Be careful about any page that guarantees you a paid application for nothing — that is a typical strategy to introduce malware on your gadget.

What Is Base.APK?

You could have run over a document on your telephone called base.apk and considered what it does. You’ll possibly have the option to see these base.apk records assuming you have root access on your telephone, since they’re in safeguarded framework organizers.

This is a document that you’ll find in each application organizer. It contains the APK that you downloaded from Google Play, used to introduce the application at first. In the event that you check the size of this document against the record size covered the application’s Play Store page, they ought to coordinate.

APK reinforcement applications can utilize these to make a duplicate of the introduced applications on your telephone. Assuming you need, you can likewise physically duplicate these documents somewhere else for your own utilization. In any case, this isn’t required for sponsorship up your Android gadget, so on the off chance that you’re not established, don’t stress over these records. What’s more, on the off chance that you truly do see them, don’t overreact, just like an ordinary piece of Android’s activity.

How to Open an APK File on Android

Opening an Android application on your Android gadget simply expects that you download it like you would any document, and afterward open it when inquired. Be that as it may, APK documents introduced external the Google Play Store probably won’t introduce immediately as a result of a security block set up.

To sidestep this download limitation and introduce APK documents from obscure sources, explore to one of these menus relying upon your Android form:

  • Settings > Applications > Extraordinary application access > Introduce obscure applications
  • Settings > Applications and notices > Progressed > Extraordinary application access > Introduce obscure applications
  • Settings > Applications and warnings
  • Settings > Security

You could have to give a particular application consent to introduce informal APK records — for instance, in the wake of choosing Chrome, you could have to then flip on Permit from this source. Or then again, assuming you see it, empower Introduce Obscure Applications or Obscure sources.

How to Open an APK File on Windows

You can open an APK record on a Windows PC utilizing an Android emulator. See our rundown of the best Android emulators for Windows for ideas like BlueStacks. Perceive How to Utilize BlueStacks to Run Android Applications on Windows in the event that you really want assistance.

You can likewise get Android applications on Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store, taking out the need to manage APK records by any means.

Android Studio’s utilized to make these applications, however you will not have the option to utilize that to effectively play an Android game or test out a new application on your PC. It deals with Windows and macOS.

How to Open an APK File on a Mac

BlueStacks chips away at Macintosh, as well; perceive How to Involve BlueStacks on Macintosh for every one of the subtleties. Nox is another choice.

How Open an APK File on iOS

You can’t open or introduce APK documents on an iPhone or iPad on the grounds that the record is implicit an altogether unexpected way in comparison to applications utilized on those gadgets, and the two stages aren’t viable with one another.

iOS applications are put away in an organization that utilizes the IPA document expansion.

How to Extract APK Files

You can likewise open an APK document from a work area working framework with a record extractor instrument. (Attempt one from our Best Free Compress and Unfasten Projects list.) Since APK documents are just chronicles of various envelopes and records, you can unfasten them with a program like 7-Compress or PeaZip to see the various parts that make up the application.

Doing that, in any case, doesn’t allow you really to utilize the application on a PC. To do so requires an emulator (like BlueStacks), which basically runs the Android operating system on the PC.

How to Convert an APK File

Albeit a document change program or administration is regularly important to change over one record type to another, they’re not exceptionally helpful while managing APK records. This is on the grounds that an APK document is an application that is worked to run on unambiguous gadgets just, dissimilar to other record types like MP4s or PDFs that work on different stages.

All things being equal, if you need to change over your APK record to ZIP, you’d utilize the directions made sense of above. Either open it with a document extraction device and afterward repackage it as a Compress, or essentially rename the .APK record to .Compress.

As you read above, you can’t change over an APK document to IPA for use on iOS, nor might you at any point convert APK to EXE to utilize the Android application in Windows.

Nonetheless, you can typically find an iOS elective that works instead of the Android application that you need to be introduced on your iPhone or iPad. Most engineers have the equivalent application that anyone could hope to find on the two stages (an APK for Android and an IPA for iOS).

Rather than an APK to EXE converter, introduce a Windows APK opener from a higher place and afterward use it to open the Android application on your PC; it doesn’t have to exist in the EXE document design for everything to fall into place.

Now You Know What APK Files Are For

We’ve taken a gander at how APKs are the center configuration that Android uses to disseminate and introduce applications. For ordinary use, they’re for the most part imperceptible. Yet, APKs power all the downloads on your telephone, so you manage them constantly, regardless of whether you understand it.

Sideloading APKs from sources outside the Play Store is valuable, and one of the most incredible pieces of utilizing Android. Be that as it may, you ought to possibly do so when you trust the beginning of the records, to try not to open your telephone to security chances.

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