What are APK files and why is there a need to download such files? APK files are meant for smartphones such as android phones. They are app files, and can be used to install applications on mobile devices.
The most popular smartphones these days are, of course, Android phones. Applications can be downloaded into these phones through a channel known as the Android Market. Android Market, a website owned by Google, is a marketplace that distributes smartphone apps.
Sometimes, for some reason, smartphone owners are not able to download apps directly from the Market. For example, some models are not supported by the Market, so users can't login and download directly. But this does not mean that the phone is incapable of running applications. Here is where APK files come in.
APK programs are really application files. In Windows, we are all familiar with executable (EXE) files. They function in a similar manner. When you click on an APK file, you are launching the installer for the application. The app can then be installed directly on the device. So if you can't access the Android Market for some reason, then your only option is to look elsewhere.
Obviously, for security reasons, you should only download and install these files from trusted sources. Before installing, make sure that your have modified your settings to allow app installations from unknown sources. So where can you find reliable app. files?
Such files can be created by making a backup of existing apps. Most free apps that are available publicly can be backed up into an APK file. The file may then be re-distributed to be installed on other smartphones. Some developers release APK installers for the benefit of all users. These files are usually released in apps-related blogs and forums. You will find a lot of APK installers in developer forums.
How to install APK files.
Step 1: Download the APK files to your PC or your SD card. If you download it to your PC, transfer it to your SD card.
Step 2: Use your file browser (e.g. ASTRO file manager) to locate the APK file and click on it. The installer will now run. Read the required permissions before proceeding.
Step 3: The app. should now be installed successfully on your smartphone and you can use it like any other app.
Sometimes, an app may be updated, causing the smartphone to crash. This means that the updated app is no longer usable. Since you can't revert back to the older version (there is no option to do that), you will be forced to uninstall the new app and look for the old version. Even when you have access to the Android market, the old version may no longer be available. This is the time to request or search for an APK file.
Android applications and games are simply popular and fans keep looking for the latest and most interesting games or apps to download onto their phones. Usually to enjoy the exciting world of games and apps you need an Android application package or APK, which is that the file format that the Android operating system uses to install and distribute software especially the apps or games. The source of your APK downloader should be verified and trustworthy for you to have a pleasant experience downloading; but there are other simple things you can embrace to make sure that your phone remains safe from malware when downloading the android apps.
1. Keep off unknown sources
Google Play is the best installation source when it comes to the android apps, but you still have an option of getting the apps from other reliable sources. You can find Google Play APK easily today, but you ought to be careful with the APK file that you download because you could end up with malware on the device. What you should do is to ensure that the download apk source is safe and disable unknown source installations on your device until a time when you feel safe enough to trust the download from a given source.
2. Double check your app ratings
Just because the games and apps are on Google Play does not necessarily make them safe for downloading. Always make a point of checking reviews and ratings of the android games and apps you are about to download because they can help you unveil technical issues you are likely to encounter. In essence the higher the rating of the game or app and the more downloads it has received, then safer it should be for you to download it. If you are interested in new releases that have little feedback on them, then take your time to research a little bit more about them before you go ahead with the download.
3. Check the app or game details
Details about the publisher and developer of the game or apps you are about to download can help you determine how legitimate they are. You can use independent discussion forums and reviews to get the details you need so you can confirm that what you are about to download is the correct app or game. Malware writers easily create apps that are very similar to the popular ones so make sure that you take your time to check that the app developer, name and publisher are correct before you do ahead.
4. Know permissions you grant
When installing a new app or game, you get a list of permissions that you grant the software. Unfortunately, not many users understand or take time to check what permissions they grant. Be on the safe side by evaluating permissions and why they are needed so you know whether they have a valid reason or they are suspicious. If what you are allowing the software to do is suspicious then don't grant the permission.
A good APK downloader can help you get access to free android apps and games but you should also take the necessary precautions to make sure that your devices remain safe with every download.