APK file icon

APK File Extension

Google Android Package Format

What is APK file?

File with an APK extension contains a compressed archive with an application, game or some firmware for the Android system. It cannot exceed 100MB – such restriction is being implied by the Google Play store. It is possible to add resources of an application contained within up to 2 additional files, up to 2GB each.

Structure of APK file

Structure of APK files is based on the JAR archive – they may contain some specific subfolders:

  • res - with a description of the resources in an uncompiled form,
  • lib – contains compiled sources and application libraries, divided according to different computing platforms,
  • META-INF – with files containing information about the package, for instance – the MANIFEST.MF file, or certificates,
  • assets – which contains various resources used by the app.

Android Package Kit files are used to create and distribute programs for mobile platforms operating on Android system. The content of APK files can be unpacked with most decompression programs supporting ZIP compression. Installing APK packages external to the Play Store, on a device operating on Android, is impossible by default - the security measures must be disabled within system settings.

Programs which support APK file extension

Below you will find an index of software programs that can be used to open APK files divided into 4 categories according to system platform supported. Files with APK extension, just like any other file formats, can be found on any operating system. The files in question may be transferred to other devices, be it mobile or stationary, yet not all systems may be capable of properly handling such files.

Updated: 09/17/2021

How to open file with APK extension?

Being unable to open files with APK extension can be have various origins. Fortunately, most common problems with APK files can be solved without in-depth IT knowledge, and most importantly, in a matter of minutes. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Get the Google Android SDK

Install software to open APK file The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports APK files installed on the system. This one is an easy one. Select Google Android SDK or one of the recommended programs (for example, WinZip, 7-Zip, WinRAR) and download it from appropriate source and install on your system. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. The safest method of downloading Google Android SDK installed is by going to developer’s website (Google Inc.) and downloading the software using provided links.

Step 2. Update Google Android SDK to the latest version

Update software that support file extension APKIf you already have Google Android SDK installed on your systems and APK files are still not opened properly, check if you have the latest version of the software. Software developers may implement support for more modern file formats in updated versions of their products. The reason that Google Android SDK cannot handle files with APK may be that the software is outdated. The most recent version of Google Android SDK is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.

Step 3. Associate Google Android Package Format files with Google Android SDK

If you have the latest version of Google Android SDK installed and the problem persists, select it as the default program to be used to manage APK on your device. The method is quite simple and varies little across operating systems.

Associate software with APK file on Windows

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Clicking the APK with right mouse button will bring a menu from which you should select the Open with option
  • Next, select the Choose another app option and then using More apps open the list of available applications
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the Google Android SDK installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open APK files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with APK file on Mac

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • Right-click the APK file and select Information
  • Proceed to the Open with section. If its closed, click the title to access available options
  • Select Google Android SDK and click Change for all...
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with APK extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Check the APK for errors

You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper APK file. Being unable to access the file can be related to various issues.

Check APK file for viruses
1. The APK may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

If the APK is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. Scan the APK file as well as your computer for malware or viruses. If the scanner detected that the APK file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.

2. Ensure the file with APK extension is complete and error-free

Did you receive the APK file in question from a different person? Ask him/her to send it one more time. During the copy process of the file errors may occurred rendering the file incomplete or corrupted. This could be the source of encountered problems with the file. It could happen the the download process of file with APK extension was interrupted and the file data is defective. Download the file again from the same source.

3. Verify whether your account has administrative rights

Sometimes in order to access files user need to have administrative privileges. Log in using an administrative account and see If this solves the problem.

4. Make sure that the system has sufficient resources to run Google Android SDK

The operating systems may note enough free resources to run the application that support APK files. Close all running programs and try opening the APK file.

5. Verify that your operating system and drivers are up to date

Regularly updated system, drivers, and programs keep your computer secure. This may also prevent problems with Google Android Package Format files. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with APK files affecting older versions of given software.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the APK file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on APK file.

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