Almost all Android users have heard about the existence of APK files and many may have wondered what it stands for. However, it is essential to know about them if one wants to download apps that are not normally available on the Play Store. In fact, there is a multitude of applications which are available through APK files only and not anywhere else.
APK stands for Android Application Package which is the package file format used by the Android Operating System for distributing and installing applications. They are analogous to the .exe files used in Windows when installing software. Thus, the APK format is the file format used for installing any software on an Android device.
How an APK File is made
An APK file is made up of all the other necessary files required by the software to install and work properly. This includes. dex files and files for assets, resources, certificates, and the manifest. The different files are first compiled and then packaged together to form a single APK file.
Thus, an APK file functions like an archive file like zip format packages based on the JAR file format. APK files usually come with an. apk extension. Users can easily modify the name of the apk file if it comes with an .apk extension at the end. Most devices disable the ability to install an apk file from unofficial sites, due to security concerns. However, to enable it, a user can go to Settings> Security> Unknown Sources and proceed to tick the box next to it.
Before installing an APK file, however, a user should be aware of both the benefits and the risks associated with it. This would help make the user a decision on whether it’s okay for him/her to download APK file.
Pros of Installing an APK File
APK files are popular for a few reasons. One of the biggest reasons is when new applications are leaked ahead of time and are available as APK files for download. This means users can get access to new applications even before they are available on the official Play Store.
It may so happen that an app is not available in the user’s country of residence, and thus cannot be downloaded by him/her from the official Play Store. To access this plethora of apps which are restricted or banned in certain regions, users can go ahead and download an APK file from other sources. For example, the app for IQ Option, a reliable online trading platform is not available for download in certain countries. Users of those countries can download an IQ Option APK file of the app directly from IQ Option’s official website.
Lastly, APK files allow users to bypass carriers to get the latest Google Updates. Certain Google Updates can take a while to be released and be available as an Over the Air release. Users can avoid the waiting time by directly downloading the APK file.
Cons of Installing APK files
Even though installing APK files is easy it may not always be useful or safe. Users must be careful while downloading APK files as it can be a stolen or illegal app.
There are various APK services available on the web that allow users to download pirated apps directly from their sites. This is, however, an illegal activity which users should avoid. Thus, adequate research should be conducted before downloading any third party APK file to avoid any future legal hassles.
APK files are available from several sources on the net. However, not all of these may be trusted, with some APK files containing malicious software that deliberately infects the user’s device. This can compromise phone security and lead to the theft of personal information.
There have also been instances where hackers use APK files, modify them and add an extra app permission. Unsuspecting users who use them may unknowingly transfer delicate personal information to hackers from the device.
Thus, users should always check their app permissions when installing APK files.
Users may benefit from APK from trusted sources. However, some sites, despite looking reliable may contain APK files that are malicious. Before downloading an APK file, users should thus look at some user comments or reviews before proceeding to download.