If usually, the Google Playstore application is available directly on your smartphone and updates itself automatically, it is sometimes necessary to install it manually. To do this, you will need to find the Google Playstore in the form of an APK file. In this article, we explain how APK files work, what they are used for, and how to install them safely.

Google Play Store

Formerly Android Market, the Google Playstore is the official Google application present on all Android devices. It is the gateway to most of the content you could download on your device. The Google Playstore is not the only way to add content such as a parental control application to your smartphone, but it is the easiest and safest way.

Nevertheless, you might find yourself in a situation where the content you are looking for is not available on the app, or the Google Playstore of your device is not functional. Users regularly complain that the app refuses to open or crashes on opening, or that the download bar stays stuck at 0%, etc.

So, thanks to the operating system of your Android, it is possible to install the Google Playstore , using an APK file. You can find the APK file of the playstore on various websites such as APKMirror.

APK file

To have the Play Store on your Android, you will have to download it as an APK file.

What is it?

An Android PacKage (APK) file is a package containing the files of an application. This file format is exclusive to Android. This is precisely why we appreciate Android devices. APK files offer a freedom of use and customization that is not found with other smartphones.

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The advantages of downloading an APK are :

  • Bypass the restrictions of the Google Play Store related for example to geolocation (this was very useful during the Pokemon GO period)
  • Be able to download all kinds of applications developed by third parties on various servers. For example, if you want to download the best music app , chances are it’s not approved by Google Play Store and is in the form of an APK file.
  • Some apps or updates are available on other servers before being presented on the Google Play Store.
  • When a developer is working on an application, he can test it directly by creating an APK file.

You have to be careful when you download an APK file. Indeed, if on the Google Play Store, the applications you download are supposed to be clean, you have no assurance that this is the case for an APK. Even if Android performs a quick check for known malware , take your precautions. Make sure the site you download from is reliable, check the permissions and never enter sensitive data.

Installing an APK file

Normally, when you download an application on the Play Store, it installs automatically without you intervening in the process. When you download an application as an APK file, you install it manually .

You have two options: either you download the application on your computer, and then transfer it to your device, or you download it directly to your device (which is easier).

You just have to follow this protocol, which applies for Google Play Store and for all APK files:

  1. First, you have to allow unknown sources. Go to Settings / Security / Unknown sources and activate the option “Unknown sources“. You will have to do the same thing on your browser, in the section Advance / Install unknown applications. Select Allow from this source.
  2. Download the APK file from your browser (or on your computer to transfer it later)
  3. Search for the folder where your APK can be found with the Android file manager. When you find the file, click on it.
  4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.
  5. Once the application is installed on your smartphone, go back to your settings and disable unknown sources.
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If you ever have any trouble updating, or if you just want to get the latest version from the Google Playstore before anyone else, feel free to search for a new APK and repeat this process.