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Simple Guide to Installing Android APK Files

written by: •edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 5/2/2011

This tutorial will show you how to install APK - Android Package files on your Android Phone. Various methods are discussed and easy to follow, step-by-step instructions are provided.

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    Android is one of the most promising mobile platforms currently available on the market. Many more new Android smartphones are expected in the coming year and they are getting more and more powerful. One of the best features of the Android OS is the availability of third party applications.

    There are various ways to install third party applications on your Android based phones:

    • The first way is by installing applications through the online Android Market, which we have already covered (check out this basic tutorial on How To Install Apps and Games on Android).
    • The second way is to manually install APK applications developed using the Android SDK on your Android phone.

    APK applications are basically Android package applications. If you don't want to use the Android Market app on your phone then you can try these solutions. The easiest methods are described in the easy alternative ways to install APK files section below.

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    Through the Android Market

    To install APK applications on your Android phone do the following:

    1. Copy the APK file you want to install to your phone's memory card and insert the card into your Android phone.
    2. Go to Android Market and search for the Apps Installer, App Installer, z-App Installer or Fast Installer application.
    3. Open it and click on the Install button.
    4. After it is installed, just open it. It will show you all the APK files stored directly in the root directory of your memory card.
    5. Just click on the application you want to install and it will be installed.

    You could also just install a file manager app like Astro File Manager and then browse to the APK and install it.

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      Using the Android SDK

      There is another method that can be used, you can install APK files into your phone using the Android SDK. Download the Android SDK.

      First of all, install the Android SDK on your computer. You will also need to install the Android USB drivers to connect the SDK to your phone via USB. You can download it from here - .

      To install applications from other sources, you also need go to Settings -> Application Settings and enable Unknown Sources. Also go to Settings -> SD Card and Phone Storage -> Disable Use for USB Storage. You can enable it again later.

      Next, just open Command Prompt and type: adb install path/file.apk

      Where path is the full path to the APK file and file is the name of the APK application file. Your application is now installed. This is all you need to do, now just open the application on your phone and use it.

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      Easy Alternative Ways to Install APK Files

      As long as you have enabled Unknown Sources as mentioned above there are some very easy alternative ways to get that APK file on to your Android device. As discussed in our Android Tips and Tricks article you could use the DropBox or Awesome Drop apps to transfer the APK file wirelessly. You could also e-mail the APK file to the e-mail account on your Android phone. Once the APK is on your phone just tap on it and it should prompt the install process.

      If you have any problems, questions or comments then please post them.

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      Author's own experience.