The Android app system proved to be versatile and developer-friendly immediately after its launch. You can develop an Android app for free and publish it on the Play Store with a few basic restrictions. This has resulted in a lot of really useful apps, some of which are not available on iOS or other platforms. Running them usually requires an Android smartphone or tablet. But what if you want to try the Android service without such a device? To do this, you will have to run the APK file on your computer.
What is an APK file?
Android Package Kit (APK) is a package file format used by the Android operating system to distribute and install mobile applications. Just as Windows (PC) uses an.exe to install software, APK does the same for Android.
When you download this package, you will receive an application. Most users download services from the Google Play Store without ever noticing the word APK. Butthere are times when it is necessary to do otherwise. For example, if you want to download the APK program to your computer.
What might this format be for?
APK files of new builds of Android often become available before the official release time of the program. This gives you early access to all the cool new features. Also, some apps are region-limited and you won't be able to download them directly.
Software updates can take a long time if you wait for their official release. Getting the latest APK for your favorite apps will allow you to enjoy these benefits sooner. If you do not like the new version of a particular program, you can install its old distribution by downloading it in the specified format.
What do you need to keep in mind?
Some APK services allow you to download pirated apps. This is illegal and should therefore be avoided. Worse yet, schematically, APK files can contain malware.
How to download such a service and transfer it to a smartphone or tablet?
Download the APK file to your computer. You can save it to your desktop or any other folder on your PC.
Connect your Android device to your computer with a USB cable. If you don't have the cable that comes with your device, you can use any compatible one.
Tap file transfer on your Android device. Navigate to the APK file on your computer. To do this, open the folder where you downloaded it. Click on it with the right mouse button. Click the buttonSend.
Select your Android gadget from the menu that opens. Its name varies by manufacturer and model, but should be at the bottom of the list. The APK file will be transferred to your device.
Open your Android's file manager. It is usually called "My Files" and is available in the application list. If you don't see it in the file manager, click on Downloads, then select a storage location. If you don't have any of these options, you can download a free file manager from the official Google store.
Find the APK file. If you have an external SD card in Android, it might be in the "external storage" folder. Click on the APK file. A confirmation message will appear asking if you really want to install the file. Click the confirmation answer in the lower right corner of the screen. The application will now be installed on your mobile device. When the installation is complete, a confirmation message will appear. Click "Done".
If you need to run on a PC
Fortunately, there are tricks you can use to run Android apps on a plain old Windows PC. There are several different ways to solve this problem, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. How do I install the APK file on my computer to be able to fully run it?
One popular way to get an APK working on a PC is to use the Android emulator released by Google as part of the official Android Studio. The emulator can be used to create virtual devices running any version of Android. You can do this with various resolutions and hardware configurations.
The main disadvantage is the somewhat complicated setup process. You will need to find the installer from Google on the site and go through the installation process to download the platforms you want. Google has some preconfigured emulation options available in the menu for Nexus/Pixel devices, but you can also set the settings manually. Once you have downloaded your virtual device, you will need to install the APK apps on your computer. But here it should be remembered that the emulator is an open source version of Android bone stock without applications from the Google store.
Since there is no Play Store, you need to do some file management. To do this, you need to select the APK downloaded to your computer and drag it to the Tools folder in the SDK directory. Then, using the command line, execute adb install filename.apk. The program must be added to the application list of your virtual device.
The big advantage here is that the Android emulator is downloaded directly from the source. The way applications are displayed in it will be the same as on devices, and almost everything should work. It's great for testing application builds before pushing them to test devices. The biggest problem is that the emulator is quite slow and you are unlikely toyou will want to run programs in it all the time.
BlueStacks App Player
If you want to get multiple apps and games running on your PC with minimal effort, BlueStacks is your best bet. This service is a way to open an APK on a computer and make Android programs work on the device. In fact, this is an opportunity to run full (but heavily modified) versions of Android.
Its main advantage is the built-in Play Store, so you will have instant access to all downloaded content.
The BlueStacks client loads in a desktop window with various app categories such as games, social networks, etc. Clicking on an app name or search result launches the full Play Store client displayed on tablets. You can navigate this interface just like you would on a real Android device.
Full Play Store access means you don't have to waste time downloading additional apps. Most games will run fine, but be aware that you will have trouble controlling many of them with your mouse. If your PC has a touch screen, you can still use apps and games that are designed to run on a smartphone or tablet. The BlueStacks APK app for PC uses a technology that makes Android apps run on top of Windows.
The only real problem with this service is that it doesn't work with the stock "Android" build. All the changes the company has made to get applications running on the PC can cause problems: some programs do not start or crash unexpectedly. This customized environment is also of little value as a development tool, because there is no guarantee that all options and settings created will run the same way on a real Android device.
If you don't mind the extra tweaks, you can use the more complicated way to install the APK on your computer by installing a modified version of the OS on your PC. There are several ports of Android that will work on a PC, but not all systems will be able to run them properly.
The two leading options for fully installing Android on a computer are Android-x86 and Remix OS based on the x86 architecture. There is also a "Remix" version for launching apps that runs on Windows, but it's not very user-friendly.
None of the above options are in perfect condition, but Remix OS is a bit more specific. This system requires at least 2GB of RAM and a 2GHz dual-core processor, but in practice you'll need more for good performance. The user interface is not Android - it is based on the x86 project code but has been modified for a more functional desktop experience. This may be preferable. You can install the systemover Windows, but that's not the best idea. The best solution would be to create a separate hard drive partition and install Android in it. Remix installer will help you to do this. This way you can open and fully use the APK programs on your computer.
If you don't want to install "Android" on your PC, you can try running one of these operating systems in a VirtualBox virtual machine, which in practice starts up a little faster than the official Android emulator. Startup speed probably still won't be enough for gaming, but most apps should install and work properly. Also, there is no Play Services iteration.
So which way is better?
Which is the best way to open APK files on a computer? It depends on your ultimate goals and objectives. First of all, think about how many APK files you want to run and how often. The best choice for you will depend on this.
If you need to test a service with the intention of downloading it to other Android devices, an emulator is the best way. This method is best for developers because application configuration and management is complex. The launch is slow, but you will be able to see how everything will work on a real platform.
If you are interested in getting more than a few applications running on your computer,BlueStacks App Player is the best solution. It's fast, has access to the Play Store, and works on Windows multi-touch devices.
If you want to use Android apps permanently on your computer, you may want to consider installing Remix OS. It will take some time to make the system work correctly, but this is a complete Android-based OS for your PC.