APK: what is it, how to download it and risks of downloading it?

APK is file type for Android system. See how to download and understand the dangers involved

Do you know what apk is ? If you have an Android phone, you’ve probably heard about system files. But what are the benefits and risks of downloading one on mobile?

Here, we will explain what the acronym means and what are the risks of downloading an APK to your phone. Stay with us to know all about it.

What is an APK and what is it for?

APK is the acronym for Android Application Pack. That is: it is a package of applications that can be unpacked and installed on Android. It serves the same purpose as “.exe” files, for example, that can be installed on Windows. Ah, it’s common to confuse with APK, but App is just the abbreviation for app, ok?

That way, all the apps you install by downloading from Google Play, for example, are APKs. The term, however, ended up becoming popular for apps that are not in official app stores, and need to be installed from outside – the game Fortnite is one of them.

Last year, Google announced a new format: AAB (.aab). Gradually, all developers will need to submit their applications in the new format.

What is the APK used for?

Basically, every app or game you install on your phone — whether from official stores or elsewhere — are APKs. To be a little clearer, the .APK extension works as a kind of installer, just like the .EXE on Windows.

When downloading from an official store, the corresponding APK file is downloaded, its content is unzipped and properly installed on the operating system automatically. If you download manually, you must install it yourself.

What are the risks of downloading an APK and installing it on your cell phone?

Now that we know what it’s all about, it’s time to talk about the risks of downloading APKs. All apps available on trusted stores such as Google Play, Samsung Store, Huawei App Store, among others, go through some integrity checks.

Thus, they ensure that they do not have some kind of virus or that they are malicious. In this way, they avoid, for example, the theft of information from your cell phone and misuse. In the case of the APK, it is different.

When downloading an APK, a file that has not passed this verification, the user is subject to these risks. Therefore, Android itself has an authorization system from unknown sources.

By default, it comes from the factory to recognize and install apps from these stores normally. But, when you are going to install an APK “from the outside”, it is necessary to check an authorization option for that specific source. So, any problems will be your responsibility.

Generally, people who install APKs are looking for apps that aren’t on Google Play, for example, or that are there and are paid for. This is the case of what happened with the game Fortnite, which is no longer officially available on the Play Store, however, the game’s developer has made an official APK available.

However, even if it is a famous app, the file could have been modified by someone to have a virus. Downloading APKs gives you more freedom and knowledge about standalone apps, but it can also bring problems to your phone.

Therefore, we do not recommend downloading APKs, that is, files from unknown sources. Choose to download your apps from official sources, ok?

Where do you install the apk from?

So we don’t download apps, but we download apk files (identified, worth redundancy, ending in .apk). And where are they installed from or where are these apk files?

  • Play Store : Google’s official app store for Android systems. From here you download the apk of most apps. Technically the safest place to look, but that doesn’t relieve you of your security concerns.
  • Side Ladder :  Or, in other words, download it from app stores and unofficial websites. Portals like APK Mirror or stores like FDroid come into play here. Also, thanks to these methods, we can get apks from other territories and install applications not available in our country. Technically, it’s less secure. To install with this method you need to enable unknown origins .
  • System apps:  As a final note, it is necessary to point out that although system apps are pre-installed, they also contain their own apk files. The main difference is that the user interacts with them less, except when these apps are updated on the Play Store.

How to extract apk from android apps

APK Extractor Lite is a free app available on the  Play Store . It is dedicated to allowing users to extract apk files from installed apps or system apps. It doesn’t require root, doesn’t show ads and doesn’t ask for weird permissions. The only way to support the developer is through a PayPalMe link and it is optional.

APK Extractor Lite  stands out for being extremely light and easy to use. With the two buttons at the bottom, it lets you choose whether to show system apps, downloaded apps, or both. It also lets you sort by name, weight, install date, update date, or version number. To extract an apk, simply click on an app and choose the  Extract APK option . It will be saved on your SD card and you can use it to install the app whenever you want.

Extracting apks is very useful to create a personal library of frozen apps in the versions you prefer to use . If you put this together with our tutorial to prevent apps from updating , you’ll have a perfectly customized phone. Remember that you can download  APK Extractor Lite  for free from  Play Store

APK: Downloading is simple. See how to install

Now that you’ve learned what an APK is and what the risks are of using it, here’s how to install one. It’s a simple process and can be done in a few seconds. It is important to emphasize again that we do not recommend downloading an APK due to the risks presented above.

But, if you decide to proceed, after you’ve downloaded the APK file, just find it on your phone (usually using a folder manager) and click on it to install. Generally, the device itself will give a warning saying that permission from unknown sources is required. Thus, it gives the access button for you to go to that configuration and install.

Once this is done, installation is quick. In a few seconds, the program will be ready to use, with a shortcut on your applications screen. Like other apps, APKs also ask for permission to access different “parts” of your phone, such as the camera, internal storage, contacts, among others.

Want to find a good Android phone to buy in 2022? You can check our list of devices with up to 128GB of memory . Or, if you prefer, check out models imported from China . Or, still, see cheap cell phones from Samsung , which use the operating system. See some offers of models mentioned in these listings.

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