If you are an Android user than most likely you have heard about apk files and wondered what it stands for. Understanding this is essential if you want to download apps and customize your device further than it’s possible to do using only Play Store. You will be surprised how many apps and other cool stuff is available for Android but not on Play Store.
APK or Android application package is the package file format used by Android operating system for distribution and installation of applications. APK files are analogous to .exe files used in Windows to install a software. The APK is the file format used to install a software on Android powered devices. Here’s how an APK file is made.
First it is compiled and then all the parts are packaged together is a single file. The APK file contains all the necessary files for the software to be installed and work properly. It contains the program’s code, such .dex files, assets, resources, certificates and manifest file.
An APK file is a kind of an archive file, such as zip format packages based on the JAR file format. But they come with an .apk extension. You can easily change the name of an apk file as long as it has the .apk extension in the end. By default the ability to install an apk file from unofficial sites is disabled for security features. But you can enable it easily. Go to Settings > Security > Unknown Sources and tick the box next to it.
You better know the benefits and risks of installing an apk file before doing so. Below you will find why sometimes it’s good to download an apk file and also why we should be careful when we do it.
Pros of installing an APK file
There are several reason why we go for an apk files. Sometimes new apps are leaked ahead of time. This means you can get the new apps even before they are available on Play Store. You will get early access to all the new exciting features.
Have you ever wanted to download an app from Play Story and it was not available on your country?
I guess it has happened, at least one time. Plethora of cool apps are restricted to regions and maybe your country can be one of them. So the only way to get the app is to download and install the apk file.
APK files allow you to get the latest Google update by bypassing carriers. It might be frustrating to wait for the update and it might take a long time to arrive as an OTA (over the air) update. While installing the apk file you will enjoy the latest goodies without worrying whenever your carrier will release an update or not.
Cons of installing APK files
Even though it’s pretty easy to install an apk file it might not be always useful and trusted. Be careful when downloading an apk files. It might be a stolen app and you don’t want to put yourself into troubles.
Some APK services allows you to download pirated apps. This is something illegal and you should avoid. Always do some researches before downloading an apk file. You don’t want to do something against the law and run yourself into troubles.
There are several sources on the internet where you can download apk files. However not all of these are trusted so you have to choose carefully. Some APK files may contain malicious software that can harm your device. They can compromise your phone security easily and steal your personal information.
Hackers can get the apk files, modify it and by just by adding an extra app permission they can easily steal information from your device. So take care, always check app permissions when install and apk file. If it seems suspicious better not install it at all. Also if you want you can change app permissions on Android without root. Some versions of Android have built-in features but some others not, so you have to use third-party apps.
Some sites, despite looking trustful they might contain malicious apk files. Always read some user comments and reviews before downloading the apk file. APK mirror is considered as a trusty site but be careful just in case. You know: Better safe than sorry.