Here, I’ll provide details on how to open APK file. At one time or the other, every Android user has installed an application on their Android device or smartphone. While nobody sees the application file for apps installed from the Google Play Store, everyone sees the file for third-party apps, and they always come in one format – APK. What does this format and file extension entail? Find out more in this article.
- 1 What Is .APK File Extension?
- 2 F.A.Q
What Is .APK File Extension?
APK means Android Package, and any file that has the extension in its name is an application designed for Google’s Android operating system. Some applications come preinstalled on Android devices while the user will need to download other apps from Google Play Store. Applications from the Google Play Store are automatically installed, while those downloaded from various third-party websites require manual installation.
Typically, when users download files from the Google Store, the applications install in the background automatically. However, websites that offer APK files for download deliver the files in APK format, and the user will need to install the apps manually. This is why users are always advised to make sure they trust the source they are downloading any APK from so that they will not install malware on their devices.
What an .APK File Contains?
An APK file is not just a standalone file. It is a combination of different files playing different roles. Check out the constituents of an .APK file below;
XML: XML is the description of the APK file, and it comprises the name, version, and content of the file.
META-INF/: This is where the signature, manifest file, and the resources in the archive are stored.
lib/: Lib contains native libraries that only run on specific device architectures such as x86 and armeabi-v7a.
arsc: These are compiled resources that the app uses, such as strings. You will recognize them with the .ARSC file extension.
res/: Res is the location where you will find resources that have not been compiled into resources.arsc.
Assets/: This contains raw source files that developers packed with the APK file.
dex: This contains the compiled Java classes that the device will run. They have the file extension .DEX attached to them.
How Do I Open APK File on Android
APK files are designed for Android devices and are therefore best suited to be opened on Android devices. Here is a look at how to open APK files on Android.
Before you can open an APK on your Android device, you must have downloaded the application either through Google Play Store or from a website to your File manager. APK files downloaded from third-party websites will not install automatically because the Android system has a security block in place that prevents the installation of applications from unknown sources. However, you can bypass this security block by following the steps below:
- Go to “Settings,” and then “Security.”
- Find “Unknown Sources” from the options.
- Tick the checkbox or turn on the toggle switch next to “Unknown Sources.”
- Some devices may require you to confirm this by clicking on “Ok.”
- You can then install any application and open it on your device.
How do I Open APK file on PC Windows?
As mentioned above, APK files are designed for Android devices. But there are ways in which you can open APK files on a regular Windows PC. You can do this by using an Android Emulator such as BlueStacks which is one of the best emulators.
BlueStacks App player emulator is the most suitable emulator to run multiple Android applications and games on your Windows PC. BlueStacks might seem like a means to an end for the sole purpose of running Android apps on your Windows PC, but it does more than that.
- First of all, Download Bluestacks from here.
- Once it is downloaded, Double click on it to start the installation process
- Simply follow the on-screen instruction to install Bluestacks on your PC Windows device.
- Once it is installed, Double click on any APK file you want to open on PC windows and it will automatically launch on Bluestacks.
BlueStacks itself runs a full version of Android in the background, and it comes with the Google PlayStore preinstalled. So, once you log into your Gmail account, you will be able to access all your purchased data. It will also be added to the list of devices associated with your Google Play account as it works in the form of an Android device itself.
Once you click on an app from the app categories, the full Google Play Store comes up on the screen from which you can install just about any Android application of your choice. This means you will not need to side-load applications, and you will be able to run just about any app. If your Windows PC has a touch screen feature, you can use it to control Google apps that rely on the touchscreen function.
How Can I Open APK on Mac?
With the Google Chrome extension named ARC Welder, you can test Android applications. This means that with this extension installed in your Chrome browser, you can open Android APKs on your Mac. However, I don’t recommend this method as I personally have faced some malware issues with ARC.
Another method of opening and installing APK on your Mac is to use BlueStacks App Player. Before you install BlueStacks on your Mac, first make sure you have enabled the option to install apps from other sources on your Mac. This is necessary to allow the installation of the BlueStacks App Player on your Mac. Find the steps below:
- Go to “System Preferences” on your Macbook.
- Click on “Security and Privacy.”
- On the left, select the “General tab.”
- Tick the checkbox for “Allow apps downloaded from App Store and Identified Developers.”
After completing these steps, you should be able to download and install BlueStacks App Player on your Macbook. You may also mark BlueStacks as an accepted developer in “Settings” so that the app will install properly on your Macbook.
Downloading Bluestacks to Your Macbook
- Download the latest version of the BlueStacks from here.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to install BlueStacks.
Refer to the installation software and select your preferences. Once BlueStacks installs successfully, you can access it from your applications folder on your Mac.
Preparing Bluestacks to Install APK
- Open the “Applications” folder and double-click on BlueStacks app.
- Create a username and set your avatar.
- Select some games and apps that you would like to install.
- Once BlueStack launches fully, skip the general interface and navigate to “My Apps.”
- Select “System Apps” and click on the “Google Play Icon.”
- The Google Play Store app will launch, and you will get the prompt to log in with your Google information.
- After logging in, you will be redirected back to the app where you can install and launch applications.
You can also download applications outside of the Google Play Store by simply downloading the APK files from the host website.
NOTE: You need Google Play to install many of these apps since many of them were made available from Google Play.
How to Convert APK to ZIP
Sometimes, to protect the integrity of an APK file, you may need to convert the file to a ZIP file so that whoever gets the file can extract it from the compressed ZIP file. Converting an APK file to ZIP file does not change the format of the fie at all; it is just similar to placing the file into a folder, except that this folder is downloadable as a standalone file by itself and the user will need to extract the file using a file extractor.
The first thing you need to do is to download a file compressor/extractor, which is a software that can extract files from ZIP files and compress files into ZIP files. WINRAR is one such software tool if you are using a PC while ES File Explorer is recommended for mobile devices.
- Download Winrar from here.
- Launch the file compressor and locate the source file APK from your storage.
- Load the APK file to the application.
- Indicate the output format of the ZIP file.
- Choose the storage location where you would like the output ZIP file to be saved.
- Wait for some time for the conversion to finish.
1. What does APK stand for?
APK stands for Android Package, and it is the format in which applications designed for Android devices are rendered.
2. Can you run APK files on a PC?
Yes, you can run APK files on a PC, but you will need an Android emulator to do that. A PC cannot run an APK file all by itself because the APK file was not designed to work with the PC, and the PC does not have the environment that the APK file needs to work. An Android emulator, when installed on the PC, creates the environment within the PC and allows the APK file to run successfully. Please follow the guide provided earlier in this article for installation steps.
3. Is it possible to convert APK to iOS?
Ordinarily, no, you cannot. There is no tool, app, or software out there that can do that. Only an expert iOS developer can convert APK to iOS apps.
4. How do I open APK on iOS or iPhone devices?
iPhones and other iOS devices do not support APK files. You cannot open APK files on these devices and platforms.
5. How do I download an APK file to my computer?
Downloading an APK file to your computer is similar to downloading any other type of file. Launch your browser and visit the host website for the APK file. Download the file to your desired folder.
We want to make sure you know what an APK file is all about, and when you see any file with the .APK extension behind it, you will be able to understand and know the things you can do with it. We have attempted to discuss everything about APK files, and hopefully, things are clearer. Let us know if you have more questions.