Today we present our Android APK Installation Guide, we are going to cover all the current formats in which Android applications are distributed, such the classic APK or new formats such as APKS, XAPX or OBB files. We will also discuss basic security concepts and other points to consider when installing files outside of Google Play. I hope you find it useful, for any questions ask without complex.
Table of Contents
WHAT IS AN APK, XAPK, OBB OR APKS?
The name of APK comes from “Android Package“, it is the most widespread official format for the distribution of Android applications. Within an APK we have all the necessary components of the app that are going to be installed on our Android device. This file is usually a compressed ZIP file signed with a security system, if we extract the files they can no longer be installed. Today there are several APK file formats that respond to different needs
- APK = The classic APPS distribution format (Basic apps, most used)
- XAPK = One or more APKs and optionally OBB files with heavier extra data. (Games)
- APKS = New format with multiple APKs and settings. (Global apps)
- More information about the multiple APK system called App Bundle
INSTALL APK FILES AND SECURITY
The APK files can be found to download on multiple websites that are dedicated to distributing them, with any Google search we can find them for example with “Chrome APK” we will have dozens of results to download this Google browser. Before installing any APK, you have to take several points into account.
- Before installing an APK, check if that app does not already exist in Google Play.
- Any APK downloaded from the internet may be modified to obtain information from our system.
- You have to download APK only from famous or well-known sites to minimize dangers (it is never 100% safe).
How to install APK file on Android
Installing a classic APK file on Android is no mystery, they are files that we can run directly from any file explorer on this system if we give it the appropriate permissions.
- Normally we will already have a File Explorer installed by default, if we cannot install it from Google Play.
- From the File Explorer we run the APK, we will be asked for permissions to allow external apps, we accept.
- After a few seconds we will have the app installed and available in our app drawer.
- When running the app, we then recommend going to Settings> Applications> Permissions> Block any unnecessary permission.
INSTALL XAPK AND OBB FILES
Normally XAPK files are actually a ZIP where inside we have a classic APK or several of them and optionally multimedia or extra files called OBB. We have several methods to install this type of content on our Android TV-Box, mobile or tablet, but the one we discussed is the safest.
- This procedure is easier to do from a PC and connect the phone to the computer, it can also be done on Android.
- Download the XAPK file and with the file explorer we rename it to ZIP.
- We extract the content of the ZIP.
- Inside we will find the necessary files to install the application
– Classic APK file to install the app in a conventional way by running it.
– Android/obb/com.xxx.xxx folder with the application data.
- We run the APK on our Android device and install it.
- We copy the com.xxx.xxx folder into the Android/obb/ folder on our device.
- We can now run the app normally.
- Go to Settings> Applications> Permissions>Block any unnecessary permission.
INSTALL APKS FILES
The APKS packaging format is rapidly expanding as it allows developers to distribute different configurations within a single package in a modular way. This system is similar to XAPK but inside we will have the Base APK and other smaller APKs for languages, DPI resolutions and extra functions. The base APK cannot be installed manually even if we extract it, it must be done with the procedure that we discuss below.
- NOTE: Some app distribution sites are using this free method to do business with advertising compressing files with their own extensions, an unfortunate practice.
- Download and install SAI APK Installer.
- Download the APKS file and DO NOT decompress, it must be hosted within our Android device.
- Run SAI APK Installer, accept write permissions to storage.
- Inside the app we are going to Install APKS and look for the APKS file in the folder where it is hosted.
- Click on Select and the installation process will begin.
- ATTENTION: The first time this app usually fails, retry, force close or restart device.
- Press Install to install the APK and its accessories.
- After a few seconds we will have the app available.
- From the EXPORT function within SAI APK Installer we can also export apps to APKS format
- NOTE: Xiaomi smartphones with MIUI require deactivating some development options, after installing the APK we can activate it. Normally some app permissions like calendar or contacts will have to be redefined when running them.