APK, the basis of every app
Actually, your mobile is full of these APK files, at least if you have an Android mobile. They are the files of each of the applications that you have installed on your smartphone. In fact, APK stands for “Android application package”. And they contain all the elements that an application needs to be that application.
The APK is a file compiled with each of these elements, so that when you download an app from the Google Play Store, you are downloading that file. The mobile is responsible for installing the APK file and using each of the elements of the application.
However, these files cannot only be downloaded from the Google Play Store. In fact, anyone can create an APK with their own app and decide not to upload it to the Google Play Store. The latter is just a store that contains many apps, but not all. Even the fact that an app is in the Google Play Store does not mean that it cannot be available in the form of an APK file to download from another place and install. In fact, there are apps that are available in different stores, and there are developers who share the APKs of their apps for free in addition to having them available in the Google Play Store, especially when it comes to apps that are in initial versions and want users to try them out before you put them in the store.
Is an unzipped APK worth anything?
We have said that an APK, by definition, is an “Android application package”. That means that it is actually a set of elements that are compressed into a single file. In turn, that means that we can extract each of these files. Is this worth anything? Of course, it is useless if what we want is to use the application on our smartphone. However, it can be useful for analyzing the app. For example, when a new Google app or a new version of WhatsApp is launched, it usually unzips the APK files in search of an element that may be a key to some future function that may arrive in a future version and that Google or WhatsApp want to start. Approve. They include these elements in the APK, and only they know how to use them. But of course, users have advanced so much that they know perfectly how to decompress an APK file and locate the files with news. It could be, for example, a line of text that talks about voice calls in WhatsApp when the app did not yet have voice calls, or simply the icon of the Android Wear clock integrated into the Google search app when it is not they had yet released smart watches.
How to install an APK?
Now, what if what happens is that you have an APK that you want to install on your smartphone? There is no problem. It is actually very simple to install an APK on any mobile. Almost easier than installing the app from the Google Play Store. First, locate the APK file on your mobile, either in the Downloads section, if you have downloaded it, or through a file explorer. Try to run that file.
It is very likely that if you have never installed a file like this before, you will see a warning that tells you that you do not have the option to install applications from unknown sources activated (that is, apps that are not from the Google Play Store). All you have to do is go to Settings> Security, locate the Unknown Sources option, and activate it. Now you can install APKs that do not come from the Google Play Store.