What is an APK file?


How to open, edit and convert APK files

This article will explain what an APK file looks like, how to open it or install it (depending on your operating system), as well as why you might not find it useful.

A file containing the APK extension is an Android Package that’s used for distribution of applications on Google’s Android OS.

APK files are stored in the Zip format. They are usually downloaded directly to Android devices via the Google Play shop, but they can also be found elsewhere.

A typical APK file contains AndroidManifest.xml and classes.dex. There is also a resources.arsc file, as well as a res directory.


How to open an APK file

APK files are openable on many operating systems, but they are primarily used on Android devices.

Android: Open an APK File

To open an APK file on Android, you simply need to download it as you would any other file and then open it when you are asked. APK files that are not installed through the Google Play Store might take longer to install because of security restrictions.

Navigate to these menus depending on the Android version you have to bypass this restriction and install APK files from unknown sources.

  • Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced >> Install unknown applications
  • Settings> Apps Notifications
  • Settings> Safety

You might have to grant permission to an app (e.g. Chrome) to install unofficial APK files depending on the device. You can also enable Install Unknown Applications or Not known sources if you are able to see it.

If the APK file does not open, you can browse for it using a file manager such as Astro Manager or ESF File Explorer Manager.

How do I install APK files on Android

Windows: Open an APK file

An Android emulator can be used to open APK files on a computer. These are our favorite, BlueStacks. You can then go to the My Applications tab, and select Install an apk in the corner.

Bluestacks for Android Apps on Windows

Open an APK File from a Mac

ARC Welder Chrome extension is designed to test Android apps on the Chrome OS. However, it can be used on any OS. You can open APKs on Windows or Mac computers as long as the Chrome browser has this app installed.

Open an APK file on iOS

APK files can’t be opened or installed on an iPhone or iPad. This is because they are built differently to the apps on the devices and are not compatible.

Extracting APK files

A file extractor tool can be used to open APK files in Windows, macOS and any other desktop operating systems. Try one of our best free unzip software. APK files can be unzipped with programs like 7-Zip and PeaZip. This will allow you to view the components of the app.

However, this doesn’t allow you to the APK file on your computer. An Android emulator (like BlueStacks) is required to do this. It basically runs the Android OS on your computer.

How to Convert an APK file

A file converter program or service is usually required to convert one file format to another. However, they are not useful for APK files. An APK file, which is a file type that is designed to work only on specific devices, is different from other file types such as MP4s and PDFs which can be used on many platforms.

If you wish to convert your APK file into ZIP, follow the instructions above. Open the APK file using a file extraction program and then repackage the file as a ZIP. Or, simply rename it to.ZIP.

This is not how to convert a file. This works only for APK files. The file format uses ZIP, but it just adds a new file extension (.APK).

You can’t convert APK files to IIPA to use on iOS. Also, APK files can’t be converted to EXE so that you can use the Android app in Windows.

You can usually find an iOS alternative to the Android app you wish to install on your iPhone or iPad. The majority of developers offer the same app on both platforms (an APK and an IPA for iOS).

Install a Windows APK opener instead of the APK to EXE converter. Then, use it to open the Android application on your computer. It doesn’t have to be in the EXE format to work.


  • Can APK files harm my device?
    Unfortunately, APK files can sometimes cause damage to devices. APK files can be infected with malware. It’s a good idea to run APK files through an online antivirus scanner before you install them. To minimize the risk of malware infecting your device, only download from trusted sites.
  • Are APK files legal?
    You can download APK files from the Google Play Store and use them for installing apps. APK is a file format similar to EXE and ZIP. Google created the APK format. However, anyone can create and utilize APK files.
  • How can I locate APK files on an Android device?
    To locate APK files on your Android device, use an Android File Manager to search. Although some mobile devices have a preloaded file manager installed, there are many other options available in the Google Play Store.



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