What is an APK file?
APK files are a kind of archive used to package Android applications for distribution to users. However, the majority of basic users don't see or use them, as the Play Store, the official source for Android apps and most popular mobile marketplace, takes care of downloading and installing new apps automatically.
How do I install an app from the Play Store?
This is the most common and easiest way to install apps on a smartphone. All that you have to do is to open the Play Store app, which is already installed on all Android smartphones. Once the Play Store is open, you will get the opportunity to search or browse for an app you want to get.
Google Play takes care of the download and installation process for you. If the app is free, simply click on the "Install" button to get it. For paid apps, click on the app's price and follow the instructions to add a payment method to your Google account and complete the purchase.
How do I install an APK on Android?
You can install an app on Android, without using the Play Store, sideloading an APK. The term "sideloading" refers to installing an app by loading its APK file onto an Android device without going through the Google Play store. There are many good reasons why you may want to sideload an app onto your device.
By default, Android smartphones prevent users from sideloading apps. This setting can be changed in just a few seconds. To do so, just access your system settings and tap on the Security menu. Check the "Unknown sources" option and press OK on the security warning that will appear next. You're now ready to install apps from sources outside of the Play Store.
There are thousands of sources for Android apps outside of Google's marketplace. Some apps are found through third-party software download sites, as this one, or directly on a website maintained by their developers. You can browse for and download apps either on your Android device or on a PC.
Installing apps by using the sideloading method may require a few more steps when compared to using Google Play, but it is still a simple procedure that any Android user can do, even those without much technical skill.