How to

Install Apk Files on Android Phones, Tablets and Android TV

Install APK Files
Written by Hassan Abbas

Install Apk Files on Android Phones: Android allows users to manually install apps on their tablets and phones. Unlike DMG is the file extension for programs run on Mac and EXE for Windows. Android has APK files for its apps and you can install APK files manually on any Android device. In our guide, we will discuss the complete procedure on how Android users can manually install.

For many experts, it seems like quite a usual task but for other new Android users, especially those transfer from other platforms found this a bit difficult. Furthermore, besides just focusing on Android tablets and phones, we will cover how users can install Android APK on Android TV.

What is an Android APK file?

Android has its proprietary file type and the extension for it is APK which translates to Android Package Kit or Android Application Package. When you want to Play Store to install any app, the file that your device downloads are the APK file. Unlike, these files can come from sources other than the Play Store and then can be side-loaded.

Where to find APK files?

APK files can come from numerous sources. But it is an unofficial APK repository or developer’s website. It is easy to find APK files on the internet. For devices having a Google Play Store on them, downloading APK files manually does not make any sense.

There are many online resources like APKMirror and APKPure to download APK files. Having these repositories, all APKs are scanned for any malware or viruses.

Are APK files safe and secure?

While APK files can come from the internet. But the question is are they safe and secure? Well, this is purely dependent on the source. Many repositories tested by users, there are chances when you trip upon some file that is not secure. To get around this we recommend checking the following points:

  • Try to install APK files from an official repository.
  • Once you install the APK, run an anti-virus app scan.

Why install Android APK files manually?

Many reasons lead users to manually install APK files on their devices. For starters, there is an app that hasn’t been published on the Play Store for your device. To override, you can update manually by downloading the latest APK.

We have divided our guide into two different parts. One is for users who want to install APK files manually on Android phones and tablets and one for the other focuses on installing APK files on Android TVs. Let’s begin the guide with the easiest first — phones and tablets.

How to Install APK on Android phones/tablets

Installing APK files on tablets is quite easier than Android TV. Many file managers support this. In our guide, we use the built-in Downloads / File Manager / Files app in most Android tablets and phones. You can also follow these steps on how to install APK on Android phones:

Step 1:

At first, download the APK file in your phone directly or download it on your PC. Once you download transfer it to your device, in the Download folder for later use.

Step 2:

Now open up a file manager on your Android device and navigate to the Download folder. Also, if your device does not have a file explorer, then you can open your web browser and view downloads. From there, you should see the APK file.

Step 3:

From here, click on the file. If it is your first time installing an APK then your phone will prompt you that it can not allow installation from unknown sources. Click on the option that lets you allow.

Step 4:

Enable the setting and also enable the installation of APK files from your file manager or web browser.

Step 5:

Once done, click the back button and here you should see an install option along with the APK name up top. Select it.

Step 6:

Wait for the app install end. Once done you can then click on Open to run the app or Done to quit back. If you tap done, you can browse your phone for the app icon and run it from there.

If you are installing an APK that is available on the Play Store. It will be automatically detected and kept up to date as per your settings. To verify, look for the app you installed on Play Store and it should show up as Installed.

How to install APK on Android TV

Android TVs run Android OS. The process is quite different as TV sets are built differently from smartphones and have different input and output methods of communicating. However, here are the ways you can use to install APK on Android TV.

Step 1:

Firstly, Open the Settings.

Step 2:

In Settings, here you’ll see a choice Security & restrictions, tap it.

Step 3:

Now, there will be a choice listed for Unkown sources, enable it.

Our guide works with almost every Android TV available in markets right now. Once done, we have covered two methods to install the APK files on Android TV sets. We also cover how to transfer or send APK to Android TV for sideloading.

  • Transfer and install APK via online storage
  • Move and download APK via USB
  • Copy and Install APK with ADB

1. Transfer APK file via online storage

We cover the easiest method first. This is how to install APK on Android TV by installing off online storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Also, you needs an internet connection for this procedure, the APK that you need to send and proper apps to explore the internal storage of your Android TV.

Step 1:

Move to the Play Store on your Android TV and install File Explorer.

NOTE: If the above app is not available or you are searching for an alternative, the Solid File Manager is a great choice.

Step 2:

Upload the desired APK file to your Dropbox or Google Drive account.

Step 3:

Then open File Explorer on your Android TV and go to the Network section and choose Cloud.

Step 4:

There should be a choice of adding New account. Then configure the account where you had your APK file uploaded.

Step 5:

After configuration, browse to the uploaded file and open it. The app should now show the choice of Install, select it.

Step 6:

Follow the installation wizard to the app is installed.

2. Transfer APK file via USB

A little bit boring than the online method we listed but is just as easy to implement. For users who don’t access a drive or the internet, this is the best way to install APK on Android TV.

Step 1:

Firstly, download your desired APK(s) on your PC and then transfer it to USB.

Step 2:

Now move to the Play Store on your Android TV and install File Explorer.

NOTE: If the above app is not available or you are searching for an alternative, the SolidFile Manager is a great choice.

Step 3:

Then open File Explorer on your Android TV and go to the section where all storage devices are available, here you should see your USB device name.

Step 4:

Choose your USB, browse to where you stored the APK and select it.

Step 5:

The installation wizard will open up hence it enables you to install the APK.

That’s it, your app should be installed.

3. Transfer APK files with ADB

This method is generally for those users who are a bit more tech-inclined than normal users as it involves a bit of command line.

Step 1:

Open the Settings.

Step 2:

In Settings, here is an option About, click it.

Step 3:

Then browse till you see Build number. Tap it multiple times until there is a notification saying You’re a developer now.

Step 4:

Browse back to the main Settings menu. Here is a new section called Developer Options. Select it!

Step 5:

In this menu, there would be a setting for USB Debugging, you should enable it.

Step 6:

Now browse back to the Settings menu and go to Network Settings.

Step 7:

From here, find the IP Address (Local IP) of your Android TV.

Step 8:

On PC, issue the following command:

NOTE: It is supposed you have ADB configured already on your PC.


Step 9:

A pop-up on your Android TV appears saying Allow debugging? Choose Always.

Step 10:

Run the command to install your desired APK. Also, remember you are in the correct directory of the APK file.

adb install AppName.apk

That’s it! There should be a Success text once the install is finished on your PC.

How to launch installed apps on Android TV

Once you end installing, you should install Sideload Launcher from Android TV Play Store.

As mentioned above, some OEMs do not allow users to install and then run apps that were installed manually with an APK file.


For further queries and questions let us know which method worked for you in the comment section below!

Till then! Keep Smiling 🙂

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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