How to install .apk apps on your Android device


The great thing about having an Android mobile phone or tablet is the huge amount of Applications (in short: Apps) you can install on your device. The easiest way to download and install Apps is using the Google Play App Market. However there are times when you want to install without using Google Play, for example because Google Play is not working or because the App you want to install isn’t available on Google Play.

In this post I will show you various ways how you can install these .apk files on your Android device.

What is an Android .apk file

An Android .apk file is similar to an .exe file as used on a Windows computer. The .apk file is used to install a certain Application (App) on your Android device. You can download .apk files from the official Google Play market, or you can download them from various other sources like for example this website.

Before attempting a manual installation using .apk files, you must first allow your phone to install from “Unknown Sources” (i.e. non-Market apps). To do this, on your device go to Menu > Settings > Applications and check the box marked “Unknown Sources“.

Install .apk files on Android using the App Installer

Android has an App for everything, so of course there also is an App that allows you to install other Apps. This Application called ‘App Installer’ is really easy to use. After you have installed it simply navigate to the folder on your mobile device where the .apk filed is stored and select it to start the installation.

Download app installer from Android Market

Install .apk files using the Android SDK

This method of installing Apps is more difficult and complex, but it always works! To avoid Google Play you will need the Android SDK (Systems Developer Kit).

  1. Download and install the Google Android SDK program:
  2. Install the Android USB drivers:
  3. You need to modify your Android’s settings to allow the installation of applications from other sources. Settings > Application Settings > enable Unknown Sources.
  4. Next step is to disable USB Storage: Settings > SD card > Phone storage > enable “Disable Use for USB Storage”.
  5. Open the Command Prompt on your computer (search for cmd.exe and open it)
  6. Type the following: adb install <1>/<2>.apk and press enter.
  7. Replace <1> with the path to your APK file on your computer and replace <2> with the name of the APK file.
  8. The application should now be installed from your computer to your mobile phone

Install .apk files using Gmail

This is one of the easiest and fastest methods I have seen, simply send yourself an email using Gmail with the .apk as an attachment. Once you open the email and click on the attachment it will ask you if you want to install the .apk file.

Do you have a great way to install Android app’s without making use of the Android market? Feel free to share your method in the comments below!



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