Most of us Android phone users keep installing and testing different apps and games from the Google Play store on a regular basis. These apps install automatically and just show up on our phones when we click the install button. However, there is another way to install apps and games, and even animated wallpapers on your phone without using an app store like Google Play. That’s where APK or Android app package files come in.
Anyone who has used an Android phone and likes to install a lot of apps and games has probably heard or read about APK files. The APK file extension is a special file format that works much like a standard executable or EXE file on a Windows computer. It is an executable program file that installs an application on your Android smartphone.
These files are very easy to use, but you must first configure your phone to install applications from third-party sources. There is an option for that in your phone’s settings, usually found in the security settings or apps sections. Once you verify it, you just need to copy an APK file to your memory card, and you are good to go.
However, the tricky part is finding a reliable source for these files. You cannot just download files with the APK file extension from any website. There are quite a few websites that don’t run proper antivirus checks and check the application files uploaded there. Some of these may be viruses or other malware designed to allow someone else to access your phone’s functions, such as the camera, microphone, image gallery, and contact lists, violating your privacy. However, as long as you download APK files from trusted sources, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Most of the time, you will find discontinued apps or live wallpapers like Flappy Bird online in the form of APK files that other app users have uploaded to websites. They are also a very good source for custom applications that users created for their own use. Those simple, small, and mostly ad-free apps are great for adding some new features to your phone, like a flashlight or RSS reader. However, we must be very careful with which file we download and from where, because not everyone can create good quality applications and some can even crash the phone if they are run on an incompatible device.