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.APK File Extension

File TypeAndroid Package File

DeveloperGoogle
Popularity
4.3 (32407 Votes)
CategoryExecutable Files
FormatZip

Zip

This file is saved in a zipped format. You can view the contents by unzipping it with a file decompression program.

What is an APK file?

An APK file is an app created for Android, Google's mobile operating system. Some apps come pre-installed on Android devices, while other apps can be downloaded from Google Play. Apps downloaded from Google Play are automatically installed on your device, while those downloaded from other sources must be installed manually.

More Information

Screenshot of a .apk file in Windows Explorer after extraction

APK file open in Windows Explorer after extraction

Typically, users never see APK files because Android handles app installation in the background via Google Play or another app distribution platform. However, there are many websites that offer direct APK file download for Android users who want to install apps manually themselves. In this case, you should be careful that you trust the source of the APK file, because malware can be distributed in APK files, just as it can in the case of Windows and .EXE files.

How do I install an APK file on my Android device?

You can install APK files manually by following these instructions. Make sure that you trust the source of the APK file.

What does an APK file contain?

Android packages contain all the necessary files for a single Android program. Below is a list describing the most prominent files and folders:

  • META-INF/: Contains the manifest file, signature, and a list of resources in the archive
  • lib/: Native libraries that run on specific device architectures (armeabi-v7a, x86, etc.)
  • res/: Resources, such as images, that were not compiled into resources.arsc
  • AndroidManifest.xml: Describes the name, version, and contents of the APK file
  • classes.dex: The compiled Java classes to be run on the device (.DEX file)
  • resources.arsc: The compiled resources, such as strings, used by the app (.ARSC file)

How do I view the contents of an APK file?

APK files are saved in a compressed .ZIP format and can be opened by any Zip decompression tool. Therefore, if you would like to explore the contents of an APK file, you can rename the file extension to ".zip" and open the file, or you can open the file directly through a Zip application's open dialog box.

How do I create APK files?

Android apps are developed using Android Studio, the official IDE for Android software developers. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it allows users to develop apps and prepare them for upload to a distribution service, such as Google Play. When apps are ready, developers can build them into APK files and sign them for release.

FREE DOWNLOAD
Open and view .APK files with File Viewer Plus.
Programs that open APK files
Updated 12/9/2016

About APK Files

Our goal is to help you understand what a file with a *.apk suffix is and how to open it.

The Android Package file type, file format description, and Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android programs listed on this page have been individually researched and verified by the FileInfo team. We strive for 100% accuracy and only publish information about file formats that we have tested and validated.

If you would like to suggest any additions or updates to this page, please let us know.