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  • What Is an APK File and What Does It Do? Explained

    If you have an Android device, you might have heard the term APK and wondered what it means. While you can use Android without ever learning the meaning of APK, studying a bit will help you understand and appreciate the platform further.

    Let's look at what an APK file is and why it's important to Android.
    What Is an APK File?

    APK stands for Android Package (sometimes Android Package Kit or Android Application Package). It's the file format that Android uses to distribute and install apps. As a result, an APK contains all the elements that an app needs to install correctly on your device.

    An APK is an archive file, meaning that it contains multiple files, plus some metadata about them. You're probably familiar with other types of archive files, like ZIP and RAR.

    What Are APK Files Used For?

    APK files allow you to install apps on your Android phone. They're similar to the APPX files used to install Store apps on Windows 10, as well as corresponding package files on other platforms. When you open an APK on your device, it contains the instructions to install on your phone and provides information about the package itself to your device.

    Normally, when you visit Google Play and download or update an app, the store automatically installs the APK for you. In this way, the Play Store also acts as a package manager—a tool for easily installing, updating, and removing software on a device.

    However, due to Android's open nature, Google Play is not the only way to find and install APKs. It's easy to obtain an APK file from elsewhere, move it to your device, and then install it manually.

    Now You Know What APK Files Are For

    We've looked at how APKs are the core format that Android uses to distribute and install apps. For normal use, they're mostly invisible. But APKs power all the downloads on your phone, so you deal with them all the time, even if you don't realize it.

    Sideloading APKs from trusted sources outside the Play Store such as mod apk by getmodnow is useful, and one of the best parts of using Android. But you should only do it when you trust the origin of the files, in order to avoid opening your phone to security risks.

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