With so many apps today for our mobiles, we can always find something useful. However, we often do not see an application from the Play Store or an official website, and we must resort to an alternative method. Download the APK, then install and proceed to check its operation.
At first, it may sound like a bit of a risky practice. And in fact, it can become so unless you know in advance which are the safest sites to download APKs reliably. We cannot download this type of file on the first page in Google; the right thing to do is do an extensive review and follow expert advice.
The alternatives that I present to you are some of the best options that you can take into account if you want to download an APK and install applications and games that, for some reason, you cannot find in official stores. In broad strokes, I will also explain to you all the essential things you need to know about APKs to enjoy your apps safely, legally, and for free.
Table of Contents
What is an APK?
All applications need several files and data to run appropriately within an operating system. In the case of Android, the app data is compressed in a file with an APK extension. Its name comes from Android Application Package (Android Application Package). It is nothing more than an executable format that the Google system can open, unzip and install on the mobile.
Although APK files contain data necessary to install an app, there are times when that is not enough to make it work. In these cases, the XAPK files enter, containing the APK, together with an OBB that brings the additional data to download. They are pretty frequent in big games or programs.
The main official Google store to download applications is the Play Store. Every time you download an application from the Play Store, even when Google does not show us a format, it is in an APK file that must be uncompressed to be installed. Android can read APK files from the virtual store and any source.
Best websites to download Android APKS
There are some sites where you can download all your favorite applications safely, accessible, and without excessive advertising. Our main recommendations are if you need games or apps outside the Google store.
APKPure is considered one of the best sites to download apps for Android. From here, we can find almost any application for free, no matter if it is paid or blocked in the Play Store for your country. And both games and apps are constantly updated, which is a great benefit.
APKPure uses vigorous security checks before publishing APK files to ensure completely safe. There are no modified files, and if doubts arise about the apps or the company that issues them, they are immediately removed.
The developers run the site at Android Police, and their work so far has been excellent. These ensure that each APK file is appropriately reviewed before being uploaded to the virtual store. They also compare the cryptographic signatures between the new versions with the previous ones to make sure that the correct people have signed them.
APKMirror is considered one of the best sites to download APKs on Android. The developers sign the apps that we find here. This means they are free of modifications and attest that they will not be fraudulent apps. In addition, the massive catalog of free and paid apps that this website offers positions it as the favorite for many.
Uptodown is another of the veteran websites created in 2002 in Spain that offers app downloads for mobile phones and computers. The site has an excellent reputation, and on it, you can find a vast catalog of diverse applications for Android, as well as top-rated games and tools for other systems. You can download APK without restrictions and legally.
Aptoide’s platform was launched in 2009, and since then, it has been successful as the favorite alternative to the Play Store for many users. It has more than 200 million active users and a much higher number of downloaded free applications.
Another striking aspect of this store is that its developers were pioneers in using blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Aptoide has its Token known as AppCoins, which is of great interest for developers to manage their stores. It is complete but not one of the safest.
Amazon manages its virtual store for mobile applications, being one of the main alternatives to the Play Store. From here, you can find a wide variety of well-known games and programs that you can install quickly and safely.
Perhaps it is the best, but it is last since it is not free. Most of the games here are paid to download. But their prices are not usually high, and when you download them, you make sure that they are without advertising, which is much appreciated. It would undoubtedly be a great option to download APKs quickly if you can give it a try.
How to install and open an Android APK
In general, Android has a series of security controls that you must disable to install APK files from external sources; that is, all those applications that we install outside the Play Store. Therefore, after downloading the APK, you must do the following:
- Go into Android settings.
- Access the Security tab. (The location of this option depends on the model of the mobile and the version of Android that you use)
- Look for the “Unknown sources” option and enable it to allow APKs from external sources.
Once this is done, the system will no longer require the files to be installed from the Play Store. However, we also recommend you disable the Google Play Protect that we see from the virtual store. This tool checks all the apps that have been downloaded from its official store and contains everything that was installed from outside.
Installing a file with an APK extension on Android is the equivalent of running an EXE application on Windows. In both cases, we risk infecting our device with malicious software or a virus that can damage the mobile. In downloading APK, it is best to have one of the best antiviruses for Android. Better safe than sorry.
These have been the best sites to download APKs of your favorite applications on Android. Please comment if you have questions or know of any on the list. We will be glad to read you.