What is an APK File? A Comprehensive Guide to Android APKs

APK files are unique apps presented by third parties and are not officially available on Google. Due to the rules and regulations of Google, many apps are blocked officially. Users can not get such apps on the Google Play Store; users need to go to any third-party site and download APK, a file format product that installs the apps on Android devices. Do you want to download any particular app unavailable on the Google Play Store? APK is known as an Android package kit. If you have an Android device, you must go through with APK terms to download apps.

Any applications you see on your Android device come from the APK files. APK files are installed and downloaded on Android devices as mobile apps. You can download your favorite games and apps by installing APK files from the Google Play Store and any other reliable websites like APKpure and heyAPK. When you go to the Google Play Store, you will find many apk apps here. Only a few apps are available on the Google Play Store due to illegal content and violating the rules and regulations of Google’s policy. Let’s discuss more about the APK file, what’s inside it, the benefits, threats, safe way to download, and much more.

What are APK Files?

What is an APK File

APK files are application package kits of the apps that are installed and compatible with the Android operating system. For a clear understanding, APK files are available in file format designed for installing and downloading mobile apps on Android devices. If you visit Android stores beside the Google Play store to download your favorite app on your mobile device, then go to any reliable source.

Then, you have the latest version of your favorite app available on your mobile by processing the installation process. Until 2018, the apps installed on Android devices were done by the Google Play Store, but after that, it changed to Android App Bundles. The creation of APKs has only been postponed to the Play Store, notwithstanding this change. Most third-party sources or websites are now used to download and install apk apps on Android devices. Many apk apps have illegal and copyrighted content, which Google bans.

What’s the content inside the APK Files?

What is APK

When we know about apk installation, many questions arise in our minds. What is an apk file? What type of content is in the apk file? With which components apk file is made up? What does an apk file do? We know that apk files are a combo of packaged and compressed forms of mobile apps to install on Android devices. Many bits of code combine and give the apk file the shape of an Android app to install.

META-INF directory

The meta information directory contains all about the apk file, including the manifest file, app certificate, resources location, and much more.

  1. Manifest-MF: the manifest file contains all the information about the components of the apk file. It is the list of records of all elements that make up the file, and basically, it is an outline of the content of apk files.
  2. App certificate: The app certificate is an important feature of the apk file, which allows the Google Store to identify the app. It is only created, so it is the developers’ responsibility to keep it safe.
  3. CERT.SF: It is the list of all resource locations for the apk file, which is mentioned in the manifest file.

DEX files

This file is important because it contains all the code information and records that play a crucial role in app development.


It is a file that holds the details about the resources the app developer has compiled. These resources are available readily at the time when the app is going to go live.


It is the file that holds information about resources that are not compiled and are not included in resources.arsc.


When an apk file is under development, many resources are required to perform specific vital tasks. Assets are the list of such resources at their particular time.

How to install APK Files on Android Devices?

How to install APK files on Android

The apk file download process is slightly different from downloading apps from the Google Play Store.

  • The installation of the app from the Google Play Store is simple. You just need to go to the Google Play Store, search for specific apps, and click on the install button. There are no extra requirements. When the installation process completes, you can enjoy your app on an Android device.
  • Many apk files are banned on the Google Play Store. You need to go to a third-party site to download the app. First, go into your mobile settings and enable the unknown sources option to download the apk file on your device.
  • When your download completes, you need to go to the download file location, click, and you will get the install option. It would help if you waited a bit longer to access your desired app.
  • The best thing about the apk app is that you can delete it after installing it on your Android device. When you delete an apk file from downloads, it will never affect the working of the app. The app works properly, and your phone space will be freed up after deleting the apk file.

Benefits of the APK Files

Apk files have many benefits, showing outstanding achievement in the app development process. Let’s check the apk files benefits;

  • The mobile apps which are installed on Android devices with the use of apk files are fully optimized binary sizes.  The fully optimized option increases the efficiency of the app development process.
  • The modifications also aim to reduce overall resource use, which includes battery, CPU, and network resources that may be reduced by unnecessary program functionality.
  • With the new method, users can enable and deactivate any specific feature or module. However, users can download too many such apps, which is illegal according to Google and officially banned from Google.

Risks of Downloading APK Files

When there are multiple benefits of the apk files simultaneously, there are many risks associated with the apk files. Let’s check the risks;

  • With some apk files, malware or viruses are associated, which is harmful to Android devices, data of the device may be stolen, and many abruption ads come to disturb.
  • The apk files downloaded from unofficial sources do not follow standard data protection, which causes privacy leak issues.
  • Some apk files use excessive resources, which affects the device’s performance. The device’s working speed or performance slows down, which is an annoying feature.

Final Words

Apks are app package kits crucial to app development and essential to installation and distribution. Installing apps by apk files is a key part of the Android operating system. It gives more control to the user over the apps and manages them perfectly. In the world of Android apps, apk files are essential and crucial. Such apps that are not available on Google Play Store, users can download such apps with the apk files from any reliable source.

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