Manually Install Android APK Files

September 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Some Android devices ship without access to the Market, something that prevents the installation of additional apps. Often an online repository of apps will be available, but this will be much smaller than the selection that you can choose from in the Market.

Meanwhile, you might find that an app that you wish to install cannot be found in the Market. The only solution to installing it would be to try one of the alternative app libraries and download it from there.

However, one of the key purposes of the Android Market is to manage the download and installation of apps. All you need to do is tap the Install button and the data is downloaded and the software installed. It’s all pretty effortless, and is one of the reasons why Android is a popular mobile platform.

Manually Install Android APK Files

So how do you install apps manually in Android?

After visiting one of the popular non-Market app repositories, you will find yourself with an APK file. This will need to be installed manually on your Android device in order to install the app or game in question. In order to do this, you will need to configure your Android device to allow non-market apps.

Do this via Settings > Applications > Application Settings and check the Unknown sources box.

What Are the Best Non-market App Stores?

The first place you should probably check is Amazon, where you will find the Appstore for Android, listing a wide selection of quality Android apps and games. However with Amazon you don’t need to install APK files manually as the Amazon store is available as an app.

Other places where you might install apps from are websites such as, or perhaps These are prime resources and offer the apps in APK format. Downloading these app installers means browsing to the websites in your browser, selecting the app you want and clicking the Download button. Alternatively you might use the QR code to download the app and save it to your computer or phone.

Installing and Removing Non-Market Apps

When you download the app, you will be asked where you wish to save it. The sensible location would be your Download folder, and once the data is transferred to your device you can tap Open to begin installation.

Whichever way you download the app, if you haven’t already configured Android to install from Unknown sources you will need to do this now and then use your Android file manager to browse to the APK file, select it and tap Install to add the app to your Android device.

Removing a Non-Market app is a thankfully simple process – simply open Settings > Applications > Manage Applications and find the app in question, select it and tap Uninstall to discard!

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