The truth behind the APK files

Abhinav Gupta
Abhinav Gupta, Director Mobility at Techugo
Published on Aug 04, 2017 in App Development
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The day Pokémon Go became an overnight sensation, I tried and searched, but the mobile app was not available in many countries for some reasons, and unfortunately my country fell into that list. I wanted to experience the app but was not able to, so when I almost lost the hope, the Android Senior Analyst from Techugo came in the picture to help me and told me that if I wanted to relish the game then I can easily enjoy it through APK file. I was confused, yet I let myself go with the flow and downloaded the APK file, and for my surprise, within minutes of downloading the .apk file, I was able to access the full-fledged version of Pokémon Go trouble free.

But just like me, many are out there who are familiar or unfamiliar with the APK file system. They have many questions like how to install the APK files? What do these files have to do? What are the risks involved? So with this blog, I have decided to pen down every detail pertaining to APK files and explore how APKs can help you from a technical and non-technical perspective.

What is an APK file

This question haunted me too when I heard it the first time, but then I sat and discussed with a Senior Android developer to understand the APK files and learned the facts. Actually, the APK stands for an Android application package, and as the name suggests it is used by the Android operating system for the distribution and installation of Android apps. These files are quite similar in fashion to .exe files used in Windows to install a software, with only a difference: that APK is for Android devices only.

You can consider it more as an archive file, like ZIP format files, compiled a version of files in a single one. An APK contains the required files such as program’s code, source file, assets, resources and manifest file to run the app smoothly. Also, APK files require the additional files to run the application. In other words, you can call the APK files as a mirror to reach the actual image of the unreleased mobile app.

How to install the APK file

To install the APK file, the most important step involved are:

  • Go to your phone settings
  • Click on security
  • Turn on ‘ Unknown Sources’ tab/allow third-party installations (it reads differently on the basis of the Android device you are using)
  • Browse the file you want to download

And you are ready to explore the app.

Benefits of APK files

The APK files actually are full of benefits, but the most prominent ones are mentioned below, take a look.

Access the app before its release

This benefit works in the favor of the app developer and clients since they can access the mobile app fully before its official release. I believe it is the topmost benefit of APK files, APK files let you access the full-fledged mobile app to run successfully on your smartphone before its release on Google Play Store.

Avoid updates

I, as an Android user, generally go through a tedious process of mobile app updates that can happen at any time and it consumes my time, but if you have got your app downloaded through an APK file, then you can save yourself from the horror of app updates. So you got the best result without investing your energy in Google updates.

Manual tracking

How cool it sounds, you can manage the app installation and update it manually, you are not dependent on Google Play Store. With APK files this is possible, you can install and work on your Android app via APK sites.

Safety can be a concern

It would be totally wrong if I would not share the negative part of APK file downloads. Actually when you let the Unknown source button ON, then unknowingly you open your mobile phone and its data security to risk, like:

  • You attract a higher number of malware from unknown sources, and it can hamper your phone data security at a large scale.
  • Some APK files are pirated versions of mobile apps, which can land you in legal trouble.
  • Sadly the hackers around the world are way too smart, and they can easily access the APK files, modify them and can steal your phone.

But you don't need to lose heart, there is always a solution, you can download the APK files from the repositories that you can trust, you can get help from any technical person around you to guide you better, since there is always a risk of security invasion with the APK files that can come from unknown resources. Also, you must read the comments in the review section before downloading the APK file, this will help you quite a lot.

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About the author
Abhinav GuptaDirector Mobility at Techugo

Abhinav Gupta is Director Mobility at Techugo- a Mobile App Development Company. Abhinav has a keen interest in technologies and is willing to capture every detail utilized within the space of innovation. He drives the best practices of process and t...

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