What is an APK file. What does it do?

If you have a Android device, you’ve probably heard of the term APK. If you’re wondering what APK is and why it’s important to Android, let’s quickly define it.

APK stands for Android Package Kit also (Android Application Package). It is a format used to install Android apps. The APK file contains all the items to make it install on your device. You can copy any APK file such as EXE files on Windows to your Android device and install it yourself. Manually installing applications like this is called “sideloading”.

When you download and install any application from Google Play, the APK file is downloaded and installed automatically. You can get APK files from Play Store by alternative apps or you can also get them from websites and alternative app stores.

There are several advantages by manually installing APKs. The firs is, you can download the APK and install it before everyone. For example, an important Google app such as Google Calendar is updated, it may take a week or more to reach your device from Google play. You can skip this time by finding and installing the APK file.

Sideloading also allows you to install apps that are not on Google Play. However, you should be very careful when downloading APK files. It is not a good idea to download APK files from random sources as on the desktop. You can trust the apkstations.com site. When we mod APKs we contol the apps for our users and publish it.

Shortly, APK files are used to install applications on Android.

What Does an APK File Contain?

Typically, APK files contain everything you need to run just one Android program. If you’re curious about some of the most commonly found files and folders in an APK file, here are a few:

  • xml: The name, version, and contents of the entire APK file are described under this section.
  • assets/: This file contains raw resource files that the developers usually bundle with the app.
  • dex: Contained here are the compiled Java classes that will be run on the device (.DEX file).
  • lib/: Found here are native libraries running on specific device architectures; e.g., x86, armeabi-v7a, etc.
  • META-INF/: This is where the manifest file, list of resources, and the signature are found within the Archives.
  • res/: If an image or other resource wasn’t compiled into resources.arsc, it will be found here.
  • arsc: Strings and other compiled resources used by the app are found here (.ARSC file).

How to Install an APK File From Your Android Device

  1. Download the .apk file you will install on your Android device. When you download apk file you can see a message like this “These types of files may harm your device. However, do you want to keep the file named Whatsapp.apk file?” We say OK to the warning that appear.
  2. To install the apk use the file system “file manager” in you Android device. The APK file you downloaded usually is inside a folder named “Download” click on the apk file to start the installation.
  3. You will see a message that says “Installation blocked” on your Android device. We press the Settings button in this window that appears. You will see a lock screen and security window. Here, we activate the Unknown Sources option.
  4. Finally, we press the Install button to continue the installation of the application and finish the process. Or first open the Unknown Sources then install the apk you want.


İsmail Akçay

Founder, SEO & Editor Of ApkStations.com

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