How to Install Apps Using .APK Files
As an Android device owner, be it a Pixel XL or a Galaxy Note 3, you've probably heard about .apk files and maybe even downloaded a couple of them. But even if you're a complete novice, you can install any app you want from an .APK file if you follow the simple steps described below.
App markets like Google Play Store are a great source of apps, but sometimes apps get taken off shelves for breaking a rule - and there are many! - and discontinued due to their age or if their developer ceases to exist.
Even if the app you need is not available online, you can always "sideload" it - this term means you're installing it using the .apk file. Read more about Android slang in our glossary.
So here's the rough guide on how to install apps from .apk's.
On your Android device, go to Settings, find the Security tab. Once there, scroll down to Unknown Sources.
Toggle it to allow installation of apps outside of Play Store.
You'll get a warning, and if you're absolutely sure you want it, select OK.
Downloading the file
Once you find it and press Download, a rather scary prompt will appear and warn you with a message which says "This type of file can harm your device. Do you want to keep the .apk anyway?" Press OK to save it to your device's memory.
Depending on file size, the download may take some time. If it's large, you can monitor this background process in the drawdown menu and cancel it at any time.
When the download is complete, you can either run the file from the popup itself or open the Download manager and run the .apk file you need.
Upon tapping on it, you'll see a list of all permissions the app requires, if there are any, and if you're firm in your intention to finally get this app, press Install, and the installation will begin shortly.
It may take some time depending on this particular app's size, and when the installation is complete, you can either open it straight away or save it for later.
Remember to always get you .apks from trusted sources and never partake in piracy by installing cracked apps.