How to open APK files on PC, Android, Windows 10 and MAC

What is a APK File

An APK file is a unique app specially created to run on Android mobile device. It is an operating system for Google.  Many already contain several apps pre-installed from the manufacturer.

If you need an additional application apart from the ones pre-installed, you can get them from Google Play once you download an app from Play Store, it gets automatically installed on your mobile. if the application is downloaded from a different source apart from PlayStore, you will need to install it manually on your mobile device.

In most instances, an android user may never have anything to do with this format, especially if the end user does not have to download any other application apart from the ones available on Google Play Store.

Be that as it may, many of the websites out there offer direct download for those using this operating system, especially when such end users prefer to carry out the manual installation of apps.  While this format makes it easy to download them if your phone is disconnected from the Play Store or if the software you want to download is not available there.

Despite the benefit offered by this format, you must be wary of attendant problems associated with it.  For one, downloading .APK files may expose your computer or mobile to malware or spyware.  Studies have shown that these are channels via which many malware and spyware are distributed to mobile handsets.

It works in the same way in which .exe and Windows work in that these routes are also common sources of malware.

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How to open APK files

On PC Windows 10

The various programs with which you can open APK on a Windows 10 PC device or older will be below:

  • NoxPlayer Nox
  • Genymotion is probably the best android emulator for PC on Windows
  • Google Android SDK
  • WinRAR 5
  • 7-Zip
  • Corel WinZip 23
  • BlueStacks
  • File Viewer Plus



The programs with which you can do it on a Mac device are below:

  • NoxPlayer Nox
  • BlueStacks
  • Genymotion
  • Smith Micro StuffIt Deluxe 16
  • Apple Archive Utility
  • Google Android SDK


On Linux

The programs with which you can on a Linux device are below:

  • Genymotion
  • Google Android SDK


Genymotion is very easy to use. It is an Android Emulator designed for helping apps developers interesting their newly software in a virtual and safe environment.  With the aid of this program, you can easily run an app in an emulated environment and it will operate as if it is running on a real device.

SDK is one of the fastest tools used by developers in building mobile apps on a device.  It provides every required developer tool in debugging, testing and building apps for android in Linux, Mac, and Windows.

On the other hand, Apple Archive Utility is bundled with OS X.  It can be used in extracting with various extensions, like .tbz, .tgz, .gz, .tar, .cbz, bzip2 and so on.  It can also be used in unencoding and compressing archive formats. Moreover, it is a highly helpful tool for individuals using OS X bundled with the operating system.

BlueStacks is a technology company in America producing BlueStacks App Player and several other cloud-based products. Many of their products are cross-platform.

You have to install these programs before they can be used in opening these.  They can recognize the programs automatically and use it without delay.


open an apk file with bluestacks android emulator


Alternatives to Bluestacks

These are another android emulator alternatives for PC:

  1. AMIDuOS.
  2. Droid 4x.
  3. Windroy.
  4. Xamarin.
  5. Youwave.
  6. Andy.
  7. Official Android Emulator.


On Android

Android have default apps for APK. Just follow the instructions of the next paragraph to install it.


How to extract and install APKs

iOS does not allow its end users to install third-party apps, while Android permits such, which is one of the features that make the operating system more acceptable to many.

If it is downloaded to your device from Google Play Store, such an app is installed directly.  If it  is downloaded from a source different from the PlayStore, on the other hand, such an app is saved as the format; you can only use such an app on your Android after manual installation.

The operating system recognizes this format once it is downloaded.   All you need to do after downloading is to tap on the icon on the device and the application will be installed automatically.  If the program is unverified, on the other hand, and you want to install it, it may become necessary to first change your default security settings on the android and this will make it possible to install the third-party ones.

You will find the feature very helpful if there is a need to install any that cannot be found on Google Play Store.  If your device does not meet the Compatibility Requirements of Google, you will equally find it useful if there is a need to install any custom one of your own.  Despite the ease and possibilities offered by these , it is advisable to only install from a trustworthy site only so that you will not end up stuffing your device with malware or spyware.

It is important to first set your device to permit the installation of apps from a different source apart from the Play Store before you can install these. The steps below will guide you on how to do this:

  1. Go to Settings on your smartphone or tablet to display the screen. You can do this by tapping the screwdriver, wrench or wheel icon on the Home Screen of your Android.
  2. When the Settings screen opens, scroll down to “Security” and tap on it. This will take you to the screen for Android Security Settings.
  3. Next, tap on the checkbox found next to “Unknown sources” to allow the installation of any application from an unknown source. After doing this, you will be presented with a dialog box telling you about the possible risk involved in permitting the installation of software from unknown sources. Next, click on Ok and this will confirm that you want to proceed with the action despite the risks involved.
  4. After completing this step, there will be no hindrance again when you want to install any app from package ; this means you can install numerous apps even if you have no access to Google Play for one reason or the other.
  5. You can download a package from the internet or even from an email attachment. If it  comes in the form of an email attachment, you can click on the “Install” tab to get it installed directly to your mobile. Any file that you have downloaded from the web can be found in your Downloads folder on your device.
  6. You can start the installation by tapping it. If you have not modified the settings page to permit easy installation of apps from an unknown source, you may be prompted to do so as you progress with the installation. After you might have installed it successfully, you will get a confirmation message to inform you that the app has been successfully installed.  Next, check your home screen and you will find the newly installed software there.


How to run APK files on PC without emulator

Actually, you can’t. You have to use an Android emulator in your PC. Choose one of the following, download and install it.

  1. AMIDuOS.
  2. Droid 4x.
  3. Windroy.
  4. Xamarin.
  5. Youwave.
  6. Genymotion.
  7. Andy.
  8. Official Android Emulator.

The content  of an APK file

It is a shortened form of Android Package and you can find all the required files required for a single program in it.  The most prominent set of components present in this are highlighted below:

  • META-INF/: It comprises a list of several resources in the archive, as well as, signature and manifest.
  • Lib/: It is a native library running on a particular device architecture (armeabi-v7a, x86, and so on)
  • Res/: It contains resources like images, especially those that are not compiled into resources.arsc.
  • xml: This describes the contents, version, and the name.
  • dex: It is a compilation of Java classes which are to be run on devices (.DEX ).
  • arsc: It is a compilation of resources, like strings, which are used by the app (.ARSC ).


How to view the various contents 

These files are always saved inside a compressed.ZIP format. It can also be opened using a Zip decompressed tool. If you like to check the content, you can decide to rename it and change its extension to “.zip”, after which you can launch it. If you like, you can also get it opened via the dialog box of a Zip application.


How to create 

Android Studio is used in creating droid apps, It is being the official IDE used by software developers.  It can be accessed via various desktop operating systems, like Linux, Mac, and Windows.

It makes  possible for end users to develop and also prepare the apps for easy upload to Google Play Store and other distribution services.  When the development of the software is complete, the developer can equally build such an application into package files and make them available for release.


android device




Can’t open an apk file

If you are having problems opening an apk file just download on the applications and launch the .apk.


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