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What is an APK file?

If you have an Android phone, you might have heard the term - APK.

APK stands for Android Package Kit or Android Application Package created for the Android operating system. Android uses this file extension to distribute and install apps. Therefore, an APK contains all the elements an app requires to be installed correctly.

Many apps come pre-installed on Android phones, while you can download other apps from the Google Play Store. However, you can download and automatically install the app on your device with Google Play Store, while those downloaded from unknown sources must be installed manually.

An APK is an archive file containing multiple files and related metadata. It is a variant of the JAR (Java Archive) file. All APKs are ZIP files at their core, but they need to contain additional details to function as an APK.

Therefore, all APKs are ZIP files, but not all ZIP files are APKs.

The developer typically uses Android Studio to create an Android app. Once the app is ready, Android Studio compiles the application and puts it into one container as an APK.

APKs can have any name with the file extension .apk. It helps an operating system to interpret them.


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