Open APK File – What is and How to view – Programs Openers and format

An APK file is an android package of many files. You can open an apk file on a Windows PC with an android emulator like Bluestacks or Genymotion, or a file extractor like winzip, winrar or 7-zip to extract all the contents.

In this article we will see what is this file type and which programs that execute files with the apk extension.


  • Files type: Android package file
  • File Extension: .apk
  • Format: ZIP
  • mime type: application/vnd. android.package-archive or application/octet-stream
  • Category: Executable Files
  • Developer: Google



If you have a mobile phone with an Android, then surely you have heard of APK files. It is even possible that on more than one occasion you have downloaded or installed an app on your mobile from its file extension apk. Next, we will show what is this file format, how to install an apk and how to open it.


What is a .APK file

The APK file extension is an android package executable. The APK format was developed by Google and it is categorized as an executable file. File extension APK is in the zip format. 

The file has grown in popularity over time since these APK files permit the easy download of certain mobile applications that cannot be downloaded to an Android device via Google Play Store.

Once you download an app file from Google Play store, it gets installed automatically on your Android device with the .apk extension.

If you download apps from a source different from Google Play store, you will have to follow a manual installation procedure before the app from an outside source can be available for use on your mobile device.

The typical content of an APK file package is:

  • Folders: Meta-Inf folder with the manifest, res and assets folders with resources, lib folder with the  native library for specific architectures.
  • Files: Resources.arsc (compiled resources), classes.dex (java classes compiled), androidmanifest.xml (info about the name, contents and version).

In this write-up, we will learn more about this unique file suffix, type, format, features and related software to view it.


Programs that Open APK Files

These are some programs that you can download and use to manage edit, view, open and convert the file in windows, mac, linux, android and apple devices.


How to open APK Files

These are the generic instructions to view, run, execute and install APK files:

  1. Search and find your .APK file.
  2. Double click on it on a computer. Tap on it or an Apple or Android mobile device.
  3. In the open with drop down software options select a suitable program.
  4. Confirm the action.

The android package files cannot run on a windows 10 or older, or in a laptop by default. You have to download an apk opener  for pc or laptop that emulates android to install an apk.

These are some programs that you can download and use to manage edit, view, open and convert APK files in windows, mac, linux, android and apple devices.




Genymotion: This program is an android emulator program for your file in a PC.

You have 1000 minutes free of charge with Genymotion.

  • Price:
    • Free for personal use.
    • 412$/year for business.
    • 136$/year for freelancers.
  • Support: Windows, Linux and MAC


 NoxPlayer Nox


Noxplayer Nox: The Noxplayer is another program for android game apks. Noxplayer can run this package format.

You can download it for free. Then just launch the program to play your APK file games.

  • Price: Free
  • Support: Windows PC and MAC




Bluestacks is another option to run APK file games.

  1. Just download the Bluestacksinstaller from
  2. Double click on it to install it in your PC.
  3. Launch Bluestacks
  4. You will see a screen similar to an Android smartphone.
  5. Link your google play account to the device.
  6. Now we can install the file and run them.


  • Price: Free
  • For Windows PC and MAC




Memu is another android operating system emulator for Windows that can help you open your apk. It is mainly optimised for games and it has a great performance. But you can install all types of APK files easily.

Memu have many apps already installed. So you can use them or download others. Memu let you have in your desktop some or all the apps you have in your mobile or tablet.

It is very easy to use. Download it, launch it and start enjoying your apps and games in your PC desktop or MAC.


  • Price: Free
  • For Windows PC and MAC


ARC Welder

ARC Welder

ARC Welder is a google chrome extension that can open apk files. ARC means APP runtime for Chrome. This tool can help testing and publishing android Apps to Chrome.

To use it go the webstore, search for the extension and click on Add to Chrome. You can also use the link we provide below.

When you have the extension installed in your chrome browser you can open an APK file with it.


  • Price: Free
  • Support: Windows PC and MAC
  • Note that this app will be discontinued after december 2020.


Android SDK

android sdk

Android SDK is a open source popular alternative to create and run an apk without an emulator but only if you have technical knowledge. Android studio is a software development platform. It provides tools for building apps for every available android device.


  • Price: Free
  • Support: Windows PC, Linux and MAC




APK-info is an application a little different. It will let us extract the main information from the file such as the name of the app or game, version, compilation data, size, package name and other technical information.

APK-info is a open source software. We can find it available on Github.

It is very easy to use, just download the file and install it. Then, launch the application. Look for your packages in the file explorer and click on it. The information about each will be displayed in your screen.


  • Price: Free
  • Operating System Support: Windows PC




APKtool is another technical tool only for computer fans. The APKtool is an online reverse engineer android apk. It is a program that let you decompile online the .APK files. So, you can get the original components, decode the original source and extract assets or the manifest files.

You can do it with these steps:

  • Go to Javadecompilers website
  • Click on choose file
  • Select the one you want to decompile online
  • Then, click on Upload and Decompile.
  • You can later save the files as a .ZIP in your computer.

Remember that it is recommended to use it only for education and legitimate purposes.

  • Price: Free
  • Operating System Support: Online / Windows PC


Online Archive Extractor

online archive extractor

Since it is a package file you can extract the contents of an apk file. With Online archive extractor website you can open it online and extract the archived components. You don’t have to download any program.

  1. Go to this website
  2. Drag and drop your apk to the green zone or
  3. Click on browse and find you .apk
  4. Confirm.


However, you can also download the chrome extension which has the same functionality.

  • Price: Free
  • Support: Online / Windows PC


File Viewer Plus


File viewer plus is an universal file opener. It supports many formats including the apk file. With this program you can view and manage the format with edit, save or convert options.

It also has an advanced image editor that displays metadata and advanced image information. It also has a text and hex editor.


  • Price: Free trial for 14 days
  • Operating System Support: Windows 10 or older




Youwave is a different alternative software to open an apk file and it goes a little bit further. With Youwave you emulate not only apps but also app stores. The program emulates creating a virtual android environtment.


  • Price:
    • Free version
    • Paid Home version (30$)
  • Operating System Support: Windows 10 or older



Other extractors

Remember that an is a package file like a ZIP file. It has many components. So we can open it using a file extractor tool. This will help us to view all the components and also to extract all the files that contain the .APK.

But you can’t run it. To do it you need an android emulator as we seen before.

These are some file extractors that you can use to extract an APK file.

  1. Apple Archive Utility (MAC)
  2. Smith Micro DtuffIt Deluxe 16 
  3. WinRAR 5
  4. 7-Zip
  5. Corel WinZip 23
  6. Winzip.


How to install and extract APK files on android 

Your Android mobile device is automatically set not to permit the downloads of third-party apps. You are, therefore, required to permit downloads before you can proceed.

Follow the steps below to permit the downloading and installation:

  1. Go to the Settings screen on your phone
  2. Click on Security and this will lead you to Security Settings
  3. Click on the checkbox opposite “Unknown Sources” to allow installation of apps from unknown sources.
  4. A dialog box then shows that warns you about the risk of installing apps from unknown sources.
  5. Click on Ok to start the downloading.

This setting allows you to download any app from an external source without ever visiting Google Play for the same purpose.


Installation of Android Package

Android has a service to install, update and uninstall apps. It is called package installer.

  1. You can save the file as an attachment to an email or download it from the web. If you got it as an email attachment, just click on Install to get it to your mobile device.
  2. When you find it from the web, check the Download folder on your mobile device for the APK.
  3. Then click on it to install.
  4. If your device is set not to permit installation from an external source, you may be asked to permit the third party installation before you proceed with the installation.
  5. After the installation completed, it will show a confirmation message.
  6. After this, you can open the files on your mobile device.

How to open in Chromebook

Chromebook doesn’t support by default apk files

You have to download an install an android file manager, for example Solid Explorer to emulate, execute and view an apk on your Chromebook.

Please note that to download the app you have to check the option “unknown sources”. This is only available in the developer mode.


How to convert APK files


Convert to .BAR

You can convert them to .BAR. To do it a good option is to use this goodereader converter. This is to use it with your blackberry.


Convert to .ZIP

The conversion to ZIP is easy. Just rename from the suffix .apk to the suffix .zip and you are done.


Convert to .JAR

The conversion to JAR is also easy. It is the same as .ZIP. Just rename it to the suffix .jar and you are done.


Convert to .IPA

It is not possible. You can’t execute it on an IOS device.


Convert to .EXE

You can’t convert APK to exe. It is not possible to convert an android package to a windows executable file.


It is not possible to convert to others formats.


How to create a APK File

You can create them with specific software that we already mentioned that android package format:

  1. Android Studio (Windows, Linux and MAC)


Is it safe to Delete?

It is safe to delete it for your computer and mobile. However, make sure you backup the file first. If not you will not be able to recover it.

Problems Opening APK Files or it won’t?

If you have problems opening, viewing, editing or reading APK file format try the following:

  1. Make your you own admin privileges. If not, log in as an admin.
  2. Try to convert this .apk format to another.
  3. Try a different software from the suggested list.
  4. Run an antivirus on your computer or mobile device.
  5. Download the last version of the software or update it.