Many times, we need to install apps that have been downloaded from another place other than the Google Play Store app on our Android devices. These apps are installed from their corresponding .apk files. APK is the file format for applications running on the Android platform. Apps that are installed from sources other than Google Play Store are termed as ‘sideloaded apps’.
How to install applications outside of Google Play:
For Android 2.2 (Froyo) / 2.3 (Gingerbread) :
2. In applications, tap the option ‘Unknown Sources’
3. Now, a dialogue box will appear that may worry you, but since you have to install apps from the apk file, you have to accept it. You can revert this setting back again after installing your required app if you’re concerned with any risk.
Tap ‘OK’ on the dialogue box.
Done! Now you can install apps from a .apk file on your Android device!
For Android 4.0+ (Ice Cream Sandwich and above):
The options are same, only thing is, you’ll find the ‘Unknown sources’ checkbox option in Settings > Security. So instead of going to ‘Applications’ after opening ‘Settings’, scroll further down to ‘Security’ and open it. After that, follow steps 2 and 3 as explained above. That’s it!
Even though this is a convenient way to share and install applications outside of Google Play on your Android device, it comes with a risk. There is a risk of malware propagation through malicious developers with the intent of stealing your data. So, use a little common sense to figure out a normal app from a malicious one.
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