What is an APK File & How to Open an APK File [In-depth Guide]

What is an APK File
APK stands for (android package kit) and it’s the file format that Android OS uses for its apps. Here’s we told about what an APK file is, how to open or install everything you need to know.

What is an APK File?

An APK file is an application created for an Android-based mobile Operating system. we can easily download apps from Google Play. it is an archive file, which means that APK contains multiple small files and metadata. As a result, APKs contain all the components that an app needs to install correctly on your android device.

Commonly, users never see APK files because the Android operating system handles all app installation in the background via app distribution platforms like Google Play Store. However, there are many other platforms and websites that offer direct download an APK file for those Android mobile users who want to install apps manually themselves.

How to install an APK file on android

You can install APK files manually by following these instructions. Make sure that you trust the source of the APK file.

What are APK files used for?


Regular Android users download their APK files from the google play store and are automatically installed on the device. You just need to click the get button to download the APK of the app and android will do everything for you.* APK files allow you to download the latest Google updates by overriding carriers .* There are also some benefits to installing APKs manually or side loading.  We all know that when Google releases an update they don’t get rolled for everyone at the same time. For example, if there is an update on the Google Calendar or Gmail, it can take a few days or weeks for the update to be available on your device.

Form Where To Download APKs

 APK files are usually saved using the ZIP file extension format.
 When you go to Google Play to download an app, the play store automatically downloads the android package kit file and installs it on the device for you. But If you downloaded the APK file from an alternative source, then you need to install it manually to avoid the download of malicious software.

The Anatomy Of An APK File

Some of the components you can find stored in a regular APK file of an app includes an

  • AndroidManifest.xml, resources. arsc file, classes. dex, a META-INF, and a res folder 

  • META- INF / –  this contains the file of manifest, the signature,  and a resource list.

  • LIB / – this is the native library that is running on a specific device architecture.

  • ASSETS/ – this contains the raw files of resources that are bundled with the app.

  • RES/ – this is the resource that is not compiled into the resources. arsc file.

  • Android Manifest.xml –  this file gives you an idea of the contents, name, and version of the APK file.

  • Resources.arsc – this contains the compiled resources that are used by the app. Classes. dex – this file contains all the compiled java classes that are needed by the app to run on a device.

How to open an APK file

 APK files can be opened on any operating system but they’re mainly used on Android devices and run apps. APK files have been designed to only be usable on devices running on Google’s Android Operating System, But we can open and run on another operating system. Here we describe how to open APK files on Andriod, Windows PC, and Mac.

How to open an APK files on Android

For opening APK files on an Android OS device, just simply download it and open it when asked. However, because of safety reasons, APK files are blocked by Google Play. If you want to open APK files on your android mobile you should bypass Google Play store restrictions. for this, you have to change some settings on your android device.

Also Read: Top 15 WhatsApp MOD APK

Here are some steps to open an APK file:

  • First go to settings > navigate to apps and notifications option > Then select the advanced option > Special app access> Finally, select Install unknown apps.
  • From settings > apps and notifications.
  • From settings > security options.

You might need to give specific app permission on your android device to install the unofficial APK files. Or, you might see the option, enable install unknown sources or unknown apps.

If it still doesn’t open, you might need a file manager like Astro File Manager or ES File Explorer File Manager.

How to open an APK files on PC

How To Extract APK Files

If you only want to open the APK file and see its content, you can use a file extractor tool to do the job. This works in Windows, macOS, or any other desktop operating system. This is because APK files are just archives of multiple folders and files.


Extracting APK files, however, does not mean that you can actually use the file APK on that computer. You are only able to open the file but you can’t install it. To do this, you need an Android emulator, such as BlueStacks, to run the Android OS on the computer. 

APK files are saved in the ZIP format and are typically downloaded directly to android devices, usually via the google play store, but can also be found on other websites. As it turns out, APKs are a variant of the JAR ( Java archive) file format, since a lot of androids are built in java. All APKs are ZIP files at their core, but they must contain additional information to properly function as an APK.


So all APKs are ZIPs, but not all ZIPs are APKs.

1. WinRAR

An easy-to-use compression software tool, WinRAR has more than 500 million users. It is the best tool for opening APKs and it’s available to download free of cost.

WinRAR Features:

It is faster than other compression software tools. It supports different compression formats. It is powerful with many different functions that allow you to organize compressed files. It is best for multimedia files because it automatically selects the best compression method.

 2. WinZip

WinZip is also another easy-to-use compression software program. And when it comes to extracting and opening APK files, this tool doesn’t disappoint. You can avail of its free trial, and if you wish, you can upgrade to the pro version.

WinZip Features:

It can unzip all popular file formats. It features a banking-level encryption protocol to protect files. It can be connected to cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. 

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