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What is an APK File (Android application package)?

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What is an APK File?

Do you know what an APK file is? It is a fact the most of us don’t understand the nature and functions of an APK file.
APK is an app that is developed for the Android mobile operating system of Google [Android application package].
Some apps are already installed on your android mobile when you buy it, you may also download some apps from google play.
Your mobile system automatically installs these apps on your handset. If you need to install an app from other sources, you need to do it manually.

You may not have a look at APK files because the process is done in the background.
You may find some apps on the internet that offer direct installation of APK files for android users.
In such cases, you need to be careful and download APK files from trusted sources to avoid malware distribution as you see in windows and .EXE file systems.
If you follow specific instructions, you may install APK files manually. Again the file source must be reliable and certified.

How to install an APK file on my Android device?

First be aware that in Andriod you can  freely install third part apps, that is not the case with Apple’s IOS.
You’ll need to do manually installation to apk files not sourced from Google play or have them pre packed.
First,  change the default security settings on your Android device to allow the installation of third party apps- but make sure all comes from trusted sources!
On your your Android device:
Settings –> Security –> tap on “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources.
No click on the file you downloaded with apk extension, once the APK file has successfully been unpacked and installed,
you should see a confirmation message: “App Installed”.
You can now use the installed app as any other app you have.

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Files and folders in APK files

The android systems carry all the files that are essential for a single android program.
Here is a list of some of the most frequent uses files and folders used in APK system.

  • META-INF/: it has in its archives the manifest file, signature and other resources.
  • Lib/: Here, you may find some native libraries that are vital for device architecture.
  • Res/: you may access resources like images. It contains resources that are not managed in resources.arsc.
  • AndroidManifest.xml: in this folder, you may access the name, version and information about APK file.
  • classes.dex: the java classes aimed at running on the device may be found here.
  • Resources .arsc: here, you may get access to resources such as strings that the app uses.
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Viewing the content of an APK file

You need to install a zip decompression tool to open an APK file because these files are compressed form such as.ZIP format.
For this purpose, you should rename the file extension to zipping and get access to the content of the file.
Moreover, a zip application may provide you access to content in an open dialogue box.

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Creating APK files

You may use android studio to create android apps.
The android studio is the official app creation system developed for app developers.
This system is compatible for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
The software developers may create apps and then upload it to different application distribution services, including google play.
After apps are made, you may format these apps into APK files and may release them.

In this article, I have tried to provide you with an insight into file types with particular reference to the nature of APK files.
You will find research-based content about file types and formats here.
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