How to Download, Install, & Open APK files on Android, Windows & Mac (2023)

Android OS is intricately open-source. You can do ‘n’ several customizations that iOS is only starting to catch up with. With that being said, APK is an amazing file format that allows users to install apps that are either not available on Play Store or major marketplaces due to security, usefulness, geofencing, or other reasons. Since your intent in reading this blog post is to install phone apps APK like YouTube Vanced or WhatsApp Plus, we will cut to the chase. Let’s look at the APK files in-depth with this guide dedicated to giving you instructions on

What is an APK File and How Does It Work?

Usually, you would download an app directly from Google Play Store or other recognized marketplaces coming from OEMs such as Samsung Apps on Samsung devices. APK or Android Package Kit, on the other hand, is a file format that carries all the information needed to install an app on Android devices. It is used to distribute apps outside the horizons of Google Play Store and other marketplaces. It is an archival file format similar to that of RAR and ZIP and acts equivalent to executable (.exe) files on Windows OS.

APK files are used to install apps on Android devices where the file contains the package of the app. When installing, the system itself unzips the APK file allowing users to install it without any hassle. By default, Android devices don’t allow installing apps from unknown sources. However, thanks to Android’s open nature, you can manually change the settings and install the APK.

The idea is, not all apps and versions are available on Google Play Store. Getting an APK file allows users to use an app/game even before it is listed on Google Play Store. For instance, YouTube Vanced is used to bypass ads and sponsors on YouTube and as said, it isn’t available on Play Store. Instead, you need to download it via APK Mirror and other sites and install it to get your hands on it.

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How To Download, Install and Open APK Files on Android

As we are dealing with APKs on Android devices, here’s how you can download, install and open APK files. Here’s the step-by-step procedure to do the same. Note that we are assuming that you are using APK Mirror to download phone apps APK although the procedure remains almost the same for other APK apps.

  • First, go to APK Mirror on your Android device via Chrome or another browser.
  • Next, search for phone apps APK that you want such as ‘YouTube Vanced Manager’.
  • Tap on ‘See Available Downloads’ which should give you different versions of the app that you can download.
  • You can download the latest APK file or a specific version that you might be searching for. Tap on it.
  • Next, click on ‘Download APK’ and that should put the ball rolling.
  • By default, your phone won’t allow installing the said phone app APK file and that’s why follow the given methods.
    • Go to Settings.
    • Search for ‘Install Unknown Apps’ or ‘Installation Sources’. These features are usually available in Developer Mode which you can access by tapping on ‘Build Number’ under Settings >> About Phone/Device.
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  • Permit to allow installing apps from unknown sources which is the APK file you downloaded a few minutes ago.
  • Head over to the ‘Downloads’ folder of your device or the browser you earlier used and tap on the APK file.
  • It will prompt you to ask if you want to install this app where you need to click on ‘Install’.
  • Once the app is downloaded, you can simply open it and bingo, it’s done.

How To Download, Install and Open APK Files on PC/ Mac

You can’t just install an Android app on Windows or Mac because these systems are poles apart. But that doesn’t mean you can never do it. There are some impressive Android emulators available for both Windows and MacOS that lets you use Android apps on the system. Here’s how.


One of the first options that you should consider when you want to use Android apps on PC or MacOS is Bluestacks. It is a to-go platform and a leading Android emulator out there that serves its purpose really well. Here’s how it works.

  • You need to download the Bluestack emulator on your Mac or Windows PC.
  • Next, launch it and set it up.
  • Search for the app you want to download i.e. APK.
  • Select ‘Install in App Player’ against the app of your install and this will set the ball in motion.
  • Once the app is finished installing, you should be able to use it without any hassle.

Android Emulators Available on PC/Mac

  • PrimeOS
  • MeMU Play
  • Bliss OS
  • LDPlayer 9
  • Android Studio
  • Xamarin Android Player for Mac
  • Andyroid
  • NoxPlayer
  • Droid4X
  • ARChon
  • Genymotion, etc.

How To Download, Install and Open APK Files on Windows 11

Luckily, there’s more than one method to install APK files on Windows 11. It has an Android subsystem that allows installing Android apps. However, it doesn’t natively support APK files, you can still use ADB to install any APK file on Windows 11, it’s not the smoothest of methods. Let’s see an intuitive and easy-to-follow method that you can use to install APK files on Windows 11 hassle-free.

To install APK files on Windows 11 via Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), you need to install the WSA PacMan package installer. Here’s what the entire process will look like –

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  • First, go to the Microsoft Store and download the ‘Amazon Appstore’.
  • Next, tap on Start Menu, search for WSA, and launch it.
  • Go to its Settings and enable ‘Developer Mode’ and then, turn on ‘USB Debugging’ as you would on any Android smartphone.
  • Download and install WSA PacMan from GitHub using the link here. Get the latest version of the .exe version to go with.
  • Follow the installation process as usual and you should be able to complete the installation thoroughly.
  • Finally, search for the APK file that you wanted to install, and double-click on it to launch.
  • Bingo, you should be able to install the Android app via APK on your Windows 11 PC.

Note: We have already discussed a few ways to install APK on Windows and PC using emulators. You can use any of these methods to get around the same.

How To Find APK Files on Android Phones?

There’s no rocket science involved here. There are some well-renowned APK websites where you will find phone apps and APK files to download. Let’s list out the top three that are consistently ranked among the others.

APK Mirror

Undoubtedly the best APK download website out there, APK Mirror comes from the makers of Android Police and instills trust and credibility in something like APK downloads given the current cyber scenario. The website keeps a tab on each version uploaded on the platform along with cryptographic signature matching to ensure that the genuine developers have signed them before releasing them.

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The websites won’t have any paid apps, pirated and modded APKs but you will get absolutely everything else on it right from Android smartphones to smart TVs


Next, APKPure shares the same degree of excellence and credibility as APK Mirror. It keeps all the legal and safe APK files on the platform that have been verified rigorously to prevent any random person or malicious sector from uploading their version of the app.

You won’t find modded APKs on the platform and once again, the website doesn’t list apps APK whose identity is unknown. There’s an app for APKPure that you can sideload and bypass Google Play Store completely.


Next up, we have an Aptoide. To be honest, you won’t need any other APK website if you are using the first two. But there are always alternatives that you can try. Aptoide lists out apps that are trusted by the Google Play Store which means you can be assured that there’s nothing fishy with any of the versions available on the website.

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Other APK Websites For Android Phones

  • APK Downloader
  • Yalp Store
  • APKMonk
  • APKHere

How To Install Bundled APK?

The app files with APKM and XAPK extensions allow installing apps with relative ease. It allows for installing multiple APKs at once and not installing apps one by one. Here’s how you can install bundled APKs. Split APKs Installer lets you install multiple file formats including APK, XAPK, and Split APK files, among others. Some of the apps to install bundled APK are APK Mirror Installer, App Bundle Installer, Split APKs Installer, and XAPKS Installer to name a few.

  • First up, go to Google Play Store and download Split APKs Installer (SAI)’. You can search for ‘SAI’ and it will automatically guide you through.
  • Once you have installed the app, launch it and tap on ‘Install APKs’.
  • You need to select the bundled APK that you want to install.
  • Finally, convert the AAB to APK file format and you should be able to install the said app on your device successfully.


How to install APK files on Android from Mac? ›

You can work around by:
  1. You have a *. apk file with you if you don't have, download it.
  2. Open Android Studio and Run the emulator.
  3. Open the finder and go to the location which contains your *. apk file.
  4. Drag that *. ...
  5. You can find it in application menu once installation succeeds.

How do I open an APK file on a Mac? ›

How can I install an app through an . APK file?
  1. Download the . APK file for an app from any third-party site and launch BlueStacks on your Mac.
  2. Now, navigate to the Mac location where the . APK file has been downloaded.
  3. Next, double-click on the . APK file for the app.
  4. The app will now get installed on BlueStack.
Oct 5, 2021

How do I install APK files on Windows? ›

Take the APK you want to install (be it Google's app package or something else) and drop the file into the tools folder in your SDK directory. Then use the command prompt while your AVD is running to enter (in that directory) adb install filename. apk . The app should be added to the app list of your virtual device.

How do I open a APK file and download it? ›

Method 1: Installing From Your Browser

Open your browser and find an APK file of your choice. Tap to download it. You should see the download notification at the top bar of your Android device. Step 2) Tap to open the APK file and begin installing.

How do I manually install APK files? ›

How to Install an APK File on Android
  1. Open your Android device's file explorer app. ...
  2. Locate your APK file in your file explorer app and select it.
  3. The APK installer menu will appear—tap Install. ...
  4. Allow time for the app to install.
  5. Tap Done or Open once the installation is complete.
Jun 1, 2022

Which is the best APK installer? ›

The best APK Installer for Android is the one developed by Uptodown. With just one tool, you can install apps, send APKs to another device, manage your installed apps, and explore files. All for free and with total security.

Which app is best for opening APK file? ›

It is vital to understand it for downloading leaked apps and customizing your experience with Android that goes far beyond using just the Play Store. Let us understand what is an APK file, how you download and open them.
  • #1) WinRAR.
  • #2) WinZip.
  • #3) 7-Zip.
  • #4) BlueStacks.
  • #5) YouWave.
  • #6) Google Android SDK.
Dec 5, 2022

Which software is used to open APK files? ›

Considering that APK files come in compressed ZIP format, you need an Android Emulator to open apk files on PC. You have a wide choice of free Android Emulators in the market, including YouWave, LDLPlayer, Bluestacks, Nox, MeMu, and more.

Can we download APK in Mac? ›

ApkInstaller can install applications on Android devices from a MacBook or iMac with a USB cable.

How do I open an APK file in Windows? ›

APK file stands for Android Package Kit; also known as an Android Application Package or just as Android Package. You can open one on your computer with an Android emulator like BlueStacks. Sideload Android apps by changing your settings: Settings > Apps > Special app access > Install unknown apps.

How do I enable an APK install? ›

Non-Samsung devices
  1. On your device, go to Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications > Advanced.
  3. Tap Special app access.
  4. Tap Install unknown apps.
  5. Tap the browser from where you will download the APK, such as Chrome.
  6. If prompted, toggle Allow from this source on.
Dec 19, 2022

Can you open APK in Windows? ›

Actually, you can open APK files on any device that is capable of running Chrome. It means that you can directly run Android apps from the browser by opening APK files. ARC Welder can be downloaded and installed on systems like Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Chrome OS.

Why is an APK not installing? ›

By default Android allows installation only from the Play Store. In order to allow installation of apps from other sources, open the Settings app and locate "Install Unknown Apps" under Privacy/Security settings. Enable the permission for the app which you use to install your APK.

How do I get an APK file without Google Play? ›

Visit the APKMirror website and search for an app you want to install on your Android device. You can browse apps by APK, app, and developer names. When you sort by app or developer rather than APK, choose the version of the app you want. If this doesn't matter to you, the latest non-beta version also works.

Why is my APK file not opening? ›

There are a few things you can try if an APK file fails to install on an Android device: Check your device storage: Make sure you have enough storage space on your device to install the app. Go to your phone's settings > storage to check the available space.

How to install APK without package installer? ›

How to install APKs pre-Android 8.0 Oreo
  1. Download the APK you want to install and make sure you have a file browser installed.
  2. Navigate into your phone settings. ...
  3. Scroll down until you see Unknown sources and check the box.
  4. Open your file browser and navigate to your download folder where the APK is.
Dec 11, 2022

How do I download APK files to my Android for free? ›

Several sites specialize in offering APK files for download.
It should thoroughly vet all APKs and have a history of security and reliability.
  1. APKMirror. ...
  2. APKPure. ...
  3. APK Downloader. ...
  4. Aptoide. ...
  5. Yalp Store. ...
  6. APKMonk. ...
  7. APKHere.

How to install APK on Android without file manager? ›

  1. 1.Copy the apk to an easily accessible directory eg. D:\name.apk. 2.In ADB type adb install D:\name.apk. Done!
  2. 1.Open terminal emulator. 2.Type su. 3.Change directory to SD card cd sdcard/or your apk folder. 4.Type ls to see the list of files in your SD card. ...
  3. 1.Open browser. 2.Type file:///sdcard/name.apk. Done!
Apr 12, 2013

What is the most safest APK site? ›

  • APK Pure. ...
  • APK Downloader. ...
  • APK4Fun.
  • F-Droid. ...
  • Softpedia.
  • Uptodown. Just like Softpedia, Uptodown is yet another all-in-one software downloading website for Android, Windows, and Mac. ...
  • APKmonk. APKmonk is a relatively new APK downloading website. ...
  • Aptoide. Aptoide is one of the oldest app marketplaces on Android.
Dec 14, 2022

What is Google Installer APK? ›

Google Installer is an app that can only be used if you have an Android Xiaomi smartphone and none of the above mentioned Google apps are currently installed. In fact, if you have one of the apps installed or you're just missing one of them, you may have to uninstall them beforehand and then complete the process.

How to install APK on Android from computer? ›

6 Answers
  1. Connect Android device to PC via USB cable and turn on USB storage.
  2. Copy . apk file to attached device's storage.
  3. Turn off USB storage and disconnect it from PC.
  4. Check the option Settings → Applications → Unknown sources OR Settings > Security > Unknown Sources.
  5. Open FileManager app and click on the copied .

How do I install APK files on my Android phone? ›

From the Google Play Store, copy the URL of the app you want to extract. Next, head to this web tool in your browser and paste the URL. Select “Generate Download Link.” This web app will then automatically extract the APK file and provide you with the relevant link to access it.

Can I install APK file on Mac? ›

The APK file contains fully compiled and ready-to-install code. Since APK is not a cross-platform extension (there is no APK for Mac or Linux), it is only supported by Android, regardless of version and system modification. Files with this extension are stored in the official Google Play store.

How do I get my Mac to recognize my Android? ›

Connect your phone to your computer's USB port via the charging cable. Open Mac Finder. Locate Android File Transfer on your list of drives. Double-click the Android drive icon.


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