This story was originally published and last update .
The Google Play Store is the overwhelming source of apps for most people who run Android on their phones, tablets, TVs and other devices. But it’s not the only way to get apps, not even far. Unlike iOS, Android offers the freedom to install apps wherever you want, and we think APKMirror is the best place to get them. It’s safe and secure – we run the website and support it – and even offer split APK app bundles for things you normally can’t get anywhere except the Play Store, for apps like Netflix, Disney + and other popular services.
How to download and install APKMirror apps
(Disclosure: APK Mirror is owned and operated by Illogical Robot, LLC, which also owns and operates the Android Police)
Currently, Android has “normal” APKs and something called split APKs, or Application packages. App bundles save bandwidth and storage space, but make it difficult to share apps between people outside the Play Store. That’s because every phone is technically running its own slightly different version of an application. But APKMirror and the APKMirror Installer app eliminate this problem.
While you can load most Android apps without using another app, with the emergence of “packaging” and splitting APKs on the Play Store, we want this guide to address all apps, not just those that aren’t using bundles yet, so our unified instructions covering both use the APKMirror Installer.
Installing the APKMirror app from the Play Store is as easy as tapping the widget or link above and tapping “Install”.
After downloading the app, installing APKMirror apps is very easy and pretty much the same, whether you’re downloading an app package or not – you don’t even need a separate guide for both processes.
Go to APKMirror.com
Navigate to APKMirrror (apkmirror.com) and search for the application you want to install. Please note that not all apps that you can get from the Play Store may be available.
Find the app you’re looking for
If necessary, you can search for apps by APK names, app names, and developer names while searching for what you’re looking for. When you find the desired application in the desired version, just tap the download icon on the right side of the listing.
If you end up sorting by app or developer, instead of APK, you’ll need to choose the version of the app you want – if you don’t care or don’t know, the latest non-beta version is probably good. Scroll down to “All versions” and find what you need, then tap the download icon on the right.
Select the correct version of the application
In the list of apps, scroll down to the “Download” section – also easily accessed by tapping “View APKs and available packages”. Here you can have more than one option available. If so, you will need to check the FAQ and do some research to determine which version is appropriate for your phone. Touch the colored label of the variant you want to download.
Although the subsequent process will fail normally if you download the wrong version, check again before proceeding to find the correct one. (Generally speaking, you can’t get in the way too much. However, if it is installed, it may be compatible with some minor problems, such as DPI.) In general, all modern Android phones are arm64 and nodpi version we must work most of the time.
Download the application you want to install
On the next page, scroll down to the big colorful “Download APK” or “Download APK Bundle” button – whatever you get, which varies depending on the app. You may be asked by the browser if you want to save the file and receive a warning that the file format / extension is potentially dangerous. If you want to trust APKMirror as a source, you can allow it.
Open the application downloaded in the APKMirror Installer
After downloading the file, you need to find a way to open it. You can tap the download notification at the bottom of the screen if you are using Chrome, for example, but you may need to tap a download notification in the status bar or navigate to where you downloaded the file with a file manager and open it. manually, depending on your browser.
If prompted, open the file with the APKMirror Installer. The APKMirror Installer app will load the APK and get things ready.
Install the application in the APKMirror Installer
Split app packages (on the left) offer a more detailed installation screen than normal APKs (on the right).
The APKMirror Installer will provide you with a stack of details about the application you are installing, if it is an APK Bundle – your best bet is to rely on the judgment of the application, although you can adjust things if you have problems and need to reinstall later. If you are not installing an APK Bundle, you will receive a simpler prompt. Whatever you get, touch “Install app” to continue.
The first time you do this, you may experience problems. In recent versions of Android, you will be asked to allow the APKMirror Installer application to be a source for application installations, as an easy switch. Although you should not enable this setting for any application, it is okay to do so in APKMirror. But it exists to protect you from applications that can install malware.
In older versions of Android (pre-Android 8.0 Oreo – consider upgrading for your own security, if your phone is old), you will need to manually activate a separate configuration to install apps from unknown sources. This usually occurs in Settings -> Security, or you can search the Settings application for “Install applications” or “Install unknown applications”.
Once permission is granted, you can either return to the APKMirror application, which will continue the installation process, or start again, trying to run / install the application you downloaded from the browser or file manager.
APKMirror will prepare the installation, and your phone will ask you again if you want to install the app, with the words varying slightly if it is an update to an existing app or a new app for your phone. Tap “Install” to continue, and you’re basically done.
When the APKMirror Installer finishes installing the application, you will be asked to open it, but you must run the version you installed.
If you encounter any problems during this process, APKMirror Installer will inform you, issuing a big warning if the application installation fails for any reason. So if you accidentally select an x86 APK when your phone is arm64 (like 99% of all recent phones), it probably won’t work.
You can even install the Play Store if you want
Using your new tricks, you can even add the Play Store itself to your device, if you want. All you need are four apps (although you may need different versions, depending on the age of your phone or the version of Android running). It may also not work on all devices, and especially old or unusual devices may require tracking specific versions of the correct APKs. This guide is not exhaustive.
Without opening any of them until restarting at the end, install the following applications in this order:
- Google Account Manager
- Google service structure – you will need the correct version to match your version of the Android operating system; therefore, check the Phone Settings app to find your version of Android (usually Settings -> About improving, or Settings -> About phone -> Software information) and download the latest service structure that matches (i.e., Google Service Structure 7.1.2 if you are running Android Nougat 7.1.2).
- Google Play services
- Google app store
After installing the four (again without opening them), restart and you we must has the ability to use the Play Store. If you receive a notification that Play Services is out of date, don’t worry. If you can sign in, everything should automatically update to the latest compatible version.
If you have problems, most problems can be corrected by one of the following escalated steps:
- Restarting the device
- Clearing app data for the Play Store and starting it again
- go to the “Apps” or “Apps and notifications” section in Settings, find the Play Store, touch it, select “Force stop”, then go to “Storage” and select “Clear data” or “Clear storage” .
- Clear application data for Google Play Services and restart
- go to the “Applications” or “Applications and notifications” section in Settings, find Google Play Services, touch it, go to “Storage” and select “Clear data” or “Clear storage”.
- Uninstalling all four applications, restarting, reinstalling all four applications in the order described above and restarting again.
- Finally, you can try to reset your device as a last-minute effort, if you’re sure you’re using the right versions of the right APKs and doing things in the right order.
In the end, not all devices work with side loading from the Play Store, and you may experience subsequent problems or strange behavior when it comes to some apps or the device as a result, but it is an option.
Why install apps outside the Play Store?
There are many reasons to look for apps outside the Google store. Chances are you are here, you already have at least one, but there are a few reasons why you may not be aware.
On the one hand, Google sometimes removes apps from your location based on content, functionalityor for the sake of censorship to comply with local laws. Sometimes applications are limited for perfectly legitimate and valid reasons, such as containing malware or violating user privacy, but this is not always the case. For better or worse, Android offers the freedom (and the associated responsibility) to take your apps wherever you want.
Another good reason to download apps from APKMirror is simply that they are not even present in the Play Store. For example, the popular Lawnchair 2 alpha was not available on the Play Store before its formal launch. Apps on the Play Store can also be geographically restricted / censored, and users in some countries do not have access to them. Other times, applications that we are distributed on the Play Store, updates are progressively progressive; therefore, when it comes to playing with the latest high-end features you read, the only version you can get may not have them – we are all aware of the slow roll of the Play Store -Outside.
Finally, sometimes updates are not always for the best, and APKMirror can provide a way to revert to previous versions of an application in case you encounter a problem.
Whatever your motivation (and there are many), if you decided to get an app elsewhere, you can probably get it from APKMirror. It is also the safest choice.
You can trust APKMirror
There are four main reasons why you can trust APKMirror as a source of Android apps:
1. We manage and support
While Google may be responsible for the ads you see on APKMirror, we have done our best to create a repository of good quality Android apps that are easy to navigate. It may take a minute for you to learn to navigate things like the different versions of APK based on the hardware platform or “DPI”, but it’s usually simple to get what you need.
2. Applications are signed by developers and safe to use
The apps you download from APKMirror are not harassed and are securely signed by the developers. We guarantee that all APK cryptographic signatures they are checked to match the originals (updates or previous versions distributed on the Play Store) and we combine new apps with signatures known to the developers. If we cannot verify an application’s signature, APKMirror will not have it. We also publicly block the test / dev / debug signature keys, as they are not always reliable.
For the non-technically concerned, this means that we are sure that the applications we are distributing are safe.
3. No pirated or “cracked” apps
Third, there is absolutely no pirated content on APKMirror. While you can work around geographic restrictions or censorship, APKMirror does not provide “cracked” or pirated versions of apps (although we host some modified apps, like Google apps tuned to work with more devices).
The Android Police and APKMirror are here to help developers, not make their lives more difficult or take away their ability to earn a living. In connection with our previous point on security, many applications modified to provide paid or premium features for free also have malware or spyware hidden within them, which you don’t want.
4. Don’t just take our word for it
For more information, see the full text Common questions which can also answer other questions, such as whether apps downloaded from APKMirror can still be updated via the Play Store (yes), which means “arm” / different DPI creation or how to fix some simple errors, if you find them.