APK Files vs Google Play which is better for you in 2023? The short answer is Google Play. You must try to use apps from Google play if the app you are looking for is available there.
However, there are PROs and CONs associated with both the options. Allow me to answer all of your questions one by one.
Introduction to apk files
Today, In the world of smartphones, APK files are becoming increasingly popular. As an Android user, you have probably downloaded and installed numerous APK files on your device. Right?
But do you know what APK files are and how they work?
No! That’s why I came up with this article to provide you with a comprehensive guide on APK files, including what they are, how to download and install them, and the risks associated with them.
What are APK Files?
APK stands for Android Package Kit, which is a file format used by the Android operating system for the distribution and installation of mobile apps.
In simpler terms, an APK file is a package file that contains all the necessary components to install an app on an Android smartphone.
An APK file typically includes the following components:
- The code and resources of the app
- The manifest file
- The certificate that verifies the authenticity of the APK file
- Libraries and other dependencies that the app needs to run
Seemed a bit technical? No worries! You don’t have to do anything with that. It’s just for your information.
APK files are similar to executable (.exe) files on a computer. They are designed to be self-contained, meaning they include all the necessary components to run the app without any external dependencies.
How to Download APK Files
APK files can be downloaded from various sources, such as the Google Play Store, third-party app stores, or directly from the developer’s website. Here’s how to download an APK file from each of these sources:
Google Play Store
The Google Play Store is the official app store for Android devices, and it is the safest and most reliable source for downloading apps. To download an app from the Google Play Store, follow these simple steps:
I’m assuming that you are a new Android user and haven’t downloaded any app from the Google play store till today.
- Open the Google Play Store app on your Android device
- Search for the app you want to download
- Click on the app and verify that it’s the very app that you are looking for and then
- click the “Install” button
The app will then be downloaded and installed automatically on your device.
Third-party app stores
There are many third-party app stores that offer a wide range of Android apps. These app stores are not as reliable as the Google Play Store, as they may contain malicious apps which might be harmful to your device.
However, some of these app stores are trustworthy and offer a good selection of apps. To download an app from a third-party app store, follow these simple steps:
- Go to the app store website on your Android device. Example: https://Apkflo.com
- Search for the app you want to download. Example: Netflix
- Click on the app and then click the “Download” button
You may need to enable “Unknown sources” in your device settings to allow the installation of apps from third-party sources.
However, most app developers list their apps on the Google play store and Apple Store, yet some developers offer direct downloads of their apps from their websites. To download an app from a developer’s website, follow these steps:
Please note, An Apk file does not work on IOS devices. They come with .ipa file extension instead of .apk file extension.
- Go to the developer’s website on your Android device
- Find the app you want to download
- Click on the download link for the APK file
Again, You may need to enable “Unknown sources” in your device settings to allow the installation of apps from outside the Google Play Store.
How to Install APK Files
Now, we have downloaded our desired apk file from a third-party source. Our next job is to install the downloaded file on our Android device safely. Let’s learn how to install an apk file Step by step.
How to install an apk file step by step
Enable “Unknown Sources” from your device settings.
Go to your device settings >> Scroll down and tap on Security >> Enable Unkown Sources
Locate the downloaded apk file
locate the APK file you want to install on your device. You can find it in your device’s Downloads folder or in the folder where you saved the file.
Install the apk file
To install the APK file, simply tap on it and follow the on-screen instructions. The app will be installed in not time.
Risks Associated with APK Files
While APK files can be a convenient way to download and install apps, there are also risks associated with them. Make sure you read each of the pointers below to ensure your device’s safety while downloading apk files from unknown source.
Here are some of the risks of downloading and installing APK files:
APK files downloaded from third-party sources or from untrusted websites may contain malware or viruses. These malicious programs can harm your device or steal your personal data.
APK files can contain security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers to gain access to your device or data.
Not all APK files are compatible with all Android devices. Installing an incompatible APK file can cause errors or sometimes may even damage your device.
Lack of updates
APK files downloaded from third-party sources may not receive regular updates, which can leave your device vulnerable to security threats.
To minimize the risks associated with APK files, it is recommended that you download and install apps only from the Google Play Store or other trusted apk websites. You should also keep your device’s software up-to-date and use antivirus application to scan for malicious programs.
Benefits of using APK Files
Despite the risks associated with APK files, there are also some benefits to using them. Here are some of the benefits of using APK files that you’ll love to read:
Access to apps not available on the Google Play Store
APK files allow you to download and install apps that are not available on the Google Play Store. This can be useful if you want to use an app that is not available in your country or that has been removed from the Google Play Store.
Access to premium apps for free
One of the primary benefits of using apk files is that you find mod or modified versions of literally each and every app available on Google play store. A modified version of a premium app allows you to use all the premium features for free.
Testing new versions of apps
Developers often release beta versions of their apps for testing. These versions are not available on the Google Play Store, but you can download them as APK files and test them on your device.
Installing apps on devices without Google Play Store
Some Android devices do not come with the Google Play Store pre-installed. In such cases, you can download APK files to install apps on your device easily.
Final Thoughts: My Opinion
APK files are a convenient way to download and install Android apps. They allow you to access apps not available on the Google Play Store and to test new versions of apps.
However, there are also risks associated with APK files, including malware, security vulnerabilities, compatibility issues, and lack of updates.
To minimize these risks, it is recommended that you download and install apps only from the Google Play Store or other trusted websites. You should also keep your device’s software up-to-date and use antivirus software to scan for malicious programs.
Here, you can read in-depth article on your device’s safety while installing an apk file from a third party website.
Have more questions? Ask in the comments section or write to me directly.