If you are not a developer you may want to know how to open APK file and see for yourself what line of codes are contained in it and how developers create APK apps. Whatever the reason for checking this article, we will cover how to open APK file on Windows [the easiest method to open an APK file because here are a few apps available to open any APK file on your Windows computer and also consider the limited option available to open an APK file on Android.
APK is a popular file [app] format for Android devices to use premium [mostly] or apps that are deleted from the Google play store. However, APK apps are vulnerable to viruses and your phone will warn you not to install an APK file [refer to Android unknown sources] in this scenario.
What is an APK File
APK is an acronym for Android Package (or Android Package Kit or Android Application Package). And as a package, all APK files contain all the necessary codes needed to install apps on Android and run successfully.
As an archive file package; APK files can contain multiple files and metadata about each of the files contained in the archive. In other words, your APK is similar to ZIP and RAR files which contain multiple files in a single folder [and still compress them to a smaller file size].
So, it’s wise to say APK is a version of the JAR [Java Archive] file format because most Android devices are built in Java. While APK is like an element in the ZIP files, the APK files need to contain additional codes to make it function properly when installed.
In lieu of this, all APK files are ZIP files but not all ZIP files are APK files. So, if you want to unzip ZIP files you’d need a tool to unzip zip files. This is similar to how to open APK file; you’d need a tool that can unarchive an APK file to open the APK file and see what is inside the APK archive folder.
Recommended: How to Edit an APK File on Android
How to Open APK File
There are a few devices that are available to open an APK file; these devices include.
Meanwhile, because these devices differ in terms of OS and manufacturers, the process to open APK files on each of the devices will [likely] differ.
In that case, we will consider how to open an APK on Android, how to open an APK on Windows, how to open an APK on Mac and how to open an APK file on Chromebook.
How to Open APK File on Windows
There are four different [known] ways to open APK files on a Windows computer. You can open APK archive on your computer via;
- ARC Welder
- Android SDK
- Android Studio.
How to Open APK Files using ARC Welder
ARC Welder is a Chrome browser extension to open APK files on your Chrome. It’s not only on Chrome browser that you can use the ARC Welder extension to open an APK file though, it supports all devices that can directly install extensions or plugins.
Therefore, following the steps below you will learn how you can open any APK file using the ARC Welder extension.
- Launch your Chrome browser.
- Go to the official ARC Welder website to download the latest ARC Welder extension.
- Download the APK you want to open and export the APK to the ARC Welder.
- Choose why you want to open the APK file.
- Follow the instruction on the screen.
How to Open APK File on Windows using Android SDK
To open an APK file on your Windows computer using Android SDK you must surreal that you have installed the program on your Windows computer.
You can get the latest Android SDK file to install on your Windows computer from the official Android Studio platform.
- Download the Android SDK program from the official website.
- Press the “Win+R” command on your keyboard to open the “Run” command on your Window.
- Type “control” without the quotes and click on the “Enter” button to open your Windows “Control Panel.” You can also open the “Control Panel” by clicking on the “Windows logo” on your Windows and search for “Control Panel.”
- Select “System and Security” >> System.
- Go to “Related system” settings and choose “Advanced System settings.”
- Go to the “Advanced” tab and click on “Environment Variables.”
- Go to “User variables” and click on the “New” button. Now, type the command “ANDROID_HOME” before the “Variable name” and choose the “Android SDK” file directory/path.
- Click “OK” to make changes.
- Click on “Path >>Edit” in the same section.
- Click “New” and copy&paste the path “%ANDROID_HOME%\tools;%ANDROID_HOME%\tools\bin;%ANDROID_HOME%\platform-tools” without the quotes in the window.
- Click “OK.”
- Run your “Windows Command” prompt as an administrator.
- Type “adb” and click on the “Enter” button.
With the steps above you can open an APK file on your Windows using Android Studio.
How to Open APK File using Emulator on Windows
Following the steps in this guide, you will learn how you can simply open an APK file using an emulator on your Windows OS.
By default, your Windows computer won’t recognize an APK file as a file you can open and run on the device. So, you would need an engine to turn the Windows environment to where you can open your APK file.
You can check out this emulator.
How to Open an APK File using Android Studio on Windows
Firstly, you need to know that Android Studio is an official integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Android app development based on IntelliJ IDEA. You can use it to improve your Android app’s productivity and also use it to open APK files.
Since it’s possible to open an APK file using Android Studio, the next part of this guide will walk you through how to open an APK file using Android Studio.
- Download and install Android Studio on your Windows machine.
- Launch the Android Studio on your device to launch.
- Wait for the Android Studio Welcome screen.
- Click on the “Profile or Debug APK option.
- Now, go to your file manager and choose the APK file you want to open.
- Click on the “OK” button.
That is. You can go through the APK on your Android Studio.
How to Open APK Files on Android
Android OS is probably the best device to open an APK file because most APK files are developed for Android devices. However, there is an inbuilt option on your Android phone to warn you about this. And this is known as installing apps from unknown sources on your Android device.
Now, following the steps below you will learn how to open an APK file on your Android phone.
- Download the APK file you want to open on your Android phone.
- Click on the downloaded APK file from your download folder.
- Click on the “Open” tab when it pops up.
- You will be prompted to enable installation from “Unknown Sources.”
- Toggle the icon from grey.
- Follow the instruction on the screen to install the APK app on your phone.
On completion, you can launch the APK app on your phone just like a normal app you downloaded and installed from the official Android apps store.
How To Open APK Files On Mac
We all know that an APK file is not a cross-platform extension that can work on all devices including Mac and Linux. APK is only meant to work on Android and Windows with emulators and some other programs which we have discussed in this guide.
However, since some emulators also work on macOS devices then, it’s possible to run and open APK files on your macOS device.
So, here are the steps to take to open APK file on Mac.
- Turn on your Mac computer.
- Go to “System Preferences.”
- Click on “Security and Privacy“
- Choose the “General Tab.”
- Check “App Store and identified developers” under “Allow apps downloaded from.”
- If you see “System software from developer “BlueStack System, Inc.” was blocked from loading, click on the “Allow” button.
- Launch your “BlueStack emulator” or alternative that works on macOS.
- Locate the “APK” file and open it via the emulator.
How to Open APK Files on Chromebook
Chromebook runs on ChromeOS while some run on Android OS. So, if your Chromebook device is running on Android OS. Therefore, in most cases, to open APK files on your Chromebook you will need to access the device’s developer’s mode.
Note: You can compromise your Chromebook security by trying to install and use an APK file on it. So, if you’d love to open an APK file on your Chromebook just leave a comment below and we will update this guide on how to open an APK app on your Chromebook.