An apk file extension is used for Google Android application packages for Android-based devices. apk files are renamed zip files used to install Android smartphone and tablet apps.

There are 4 other file types using
the APK file extension!

empty icon.apk - GameSpy Arcade service data file

empty icon.apk - Active Tutor project

empty icon.apk - Microsoft Train Simulator packaged activity data

empty icon.apk - Asustor ADM application package

APK file extension - Google Android application package

What is apk file? How to open apk files?

File type specification:

Mobile phones related file type icon Mobile phones related file type

apk file icon: apk filetype icon

The apk file extension is associated with the Google Android operating system for smartphones and portable devices.

The apk file (Android Package Kit) is an archive containing source data of an Android application (compiled dex files, arsc files, AndroidManifest.xml file, settings files, source files, graphic files).

APK files are stored in the /data/app directory. The "App" directory is accessible only on rooted devices via File Explorer.

The Android package file is almost a jar file (Java Archive) based on the ZIP compression format. The content of APK archive is accessible by compression utilities such as WinRAR, WinZip, etc. To open the APK archive in a compression utility, rename the file extension apk to zip.

The latest and most popular applications are available on the Google Play Store (formerly the Android Market). Applications from the Play Store are signed and tested, but Android also supports installation of unsigned applications from online services, other online sources, or external devices.

To install the Android apk application on your phone via USB:

  1. Connect your phone to the computer via USB cable and copy the .APK file to your phone storage or memory card.

  2. Use a file manager, for example ASTRO.

  3. Select the APK file and install.

To download an apk file from the Play Store to your computer, for example, you can use APK Downloader web service if you don't need to install an app directly to your device.

Some phone manufacturers disable application installation service via USB on their phones. To enable this option, go to Settings > Applications and set the Unknown sources option to enabled.

Note: Google Android applications distributed through apk files can also run on devices with the Tizen operating system and Chrome OS with App Runtime for Chrome. New Microsoft Windows versions also support running of Android apps.

If you want to play popular Android games on your Windows PC, Google announced Google Play Games software that enables this feature.

Updated: September 23, 2023

The default software associated to open apk file:

Google Android SDK icon

Google Inc. logoGoogle Android SDK  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
Google Inc.

Android SDK provides the tools and libraries necessary to begin developing applications that run on Android-powered devices (mobile phones, tablets etc.).

Android SDK was replaced by Android Studio development tool.

NoxPlayer icon

NoxPlayer  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
Nox Limited

NoxPlayer is based on virtualization and creates a virtual environment of the latest Android where you can install and run your favorite Android apps and games. NoxPlayer has a nice and clean user interface, making its users addicted.

BlueStacks App Player for Windows icon

Bluestack Systems, Inc. logoBlueStacks App Player for Windows  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
Bluestack Systems, Inc.

An Android apps virtualization software for Windows that gives users the option to run android apps directly from Windows Sidebar. It contains 10 pre-loaded apps "out of the box" and more apps can be installed. Now supports on-line streaming.

Android Studio icon

Google Inc. logoAndroid Studio  Multiplatform software

Company or developer:
Google Inc.

Android Studio is the official IDE for Android application development, based on IntelliJ IDEA.

Google Android icon

Google Inc. logoGoogle Android  Google Android software

Company or developer:
Google Inc.

A popular operating system for smart phones and tablet computers developed by the Google. Android is based on the Linux kernel. Basic Android's applications are closely related to Google account and services such as Gmail, Calendar, Maps, YouTube, etc.

Applications for Android are written in Java source code but finally compiled for Android Dalvik virtual machine. In Android 4.4 and later is used new runtime environment called Android Runtime (ART) with JIT compiler.

New applications for Android are available on the Google Play a one of the basic applications in clean Android installation.

Google Android operating system versions:

  • Android 9 Pie
  • Android 8 O (Oreo)
  • Android 7 Nougat
  • Android 6 Marshmallow
  • Android 5 Lollipop
  • 4.4.x KitKat
  • 4.3.x Jellybean
  • 4.2.x Jellybean
  • 4.1.x Jellybean
  • 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 3.x.x Honeycomb
  • 2.3.x Gingerbread
  • 2.2 Froyo
  • 2.1 Eclair
  • 1.6 Donut
  • 1.5 Cupcake

Google Play icon

Google Inc. logoGoogle Play  Google Android software

Company or developer:
Google Inc.

Google Play is on-line store and Android app pre-installed app that allows users to install apps, utilities and games to Google Android phones as well as purchase and download other content, like e-books, movies and music.

Related articles:

How to run Android apps in Windows

How to clear default apps in Android

Android APK file format description

How to install Android in VirtualBox

Run Android apps in Google Chrome

Run Android apps on Mac

Help how to open:

The APK Android application package is the default file format used by smartphones and tablets with the Google Android operating system. The APK files store apps for the Android operating system; you can open or run them on any Android device.

The APK Android package file is an archive file that uses ZIP compression. You can rename the APK file extension to ZIP and open the ZIP file in compression utilities, such as WinZip or WinRAR.

How to convert:

Some tools can transform the Google Android app to another platform, like Tizen, etc., but results may vary. There is no guarantee that the Android application can be easily converted to another operating system. Besides APK file conversion, you can use various Android Emulators to run Android apps on other operating systems.

Find conversions from apk file:

apk to aab

apk to bar

apk to jar

apk to java

apk to tpk

apk to xapk

apk to zip

Find converter to apk file type:

aia to apk

html to apk

iso to apk

jar to apk

swf to apk

xapk to apk

zip to apk

File identification strings:

HEX code: 50 4B 03 04
ASCII code: PK

List of software applications associated to the .apk file extension

Recommended software programs are sorted by OS platform (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android etc.)
and possible program actions that can be done with the file: like open apk file, edit apk file, convert apk file, view apk file, play apk file etc. (if exist software for corresponding action in's database).

Click on the tab below to simply browse between the application actions, to quickly get a list of recommended software, which is able to perform the specified software action, such as opening, editing or converting apk files.

Software that open apk file - Google Android application package

Programs supporting the exension apk on the main platforms Windows, Mac, Linux or mobile. Click on the link to get more information about listed programs for open apk file action.

Apple macOS / Mac OS X:


Main software associated with apk file by default:
Android Studio small icon Android Studio
Other suggested software:
ARChon for Chrome small icon ARChon for Chrome

Google Android:

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