WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Flitsmeister: there are a lot of apps that you can just find and download in the Google Play store. Most of the time, these apps are also free. But, what about applications that you can't find within Google Play, how do you download and install them?
Recently, Google Inbox is no longer available in the Google Play store, but it still roams as a separate file on the internet. This is an older version of the application, so it is not equipped with the latest updates. However, that does not stop various smartphone users from still downloading that separate file, because they miss that handy Google Inbox very much.
Fortunately, you can also download apps outside the Google Play store. While there are an immense number of apps offered within that virtual store, there is also a large number of apps that are not yet found in it. It costs companies money to put their apps in the Google Play store: 25 dollars to create a developer account and (more painfully) Google also wants 30 percent of the app revenue. It was a reason for the creators of the game Fortnite to launch the game outside the Google store.
That was hugely successful, partly because the game and the maker (Epic) were already known from consoles and the PC. This made people more likely to trust the file. So the source is very important when downloading a separate installation file on your Android device. For example, there are websites such as APKMirror where you can find many app installation files (so-called apk files).
There are also other reasons to avoid Google's Play Store. First of all: Google. The company has a bad reputation when it comes to user privacy or the company's abuse of power with the Play Store. This is how, for example, the alternative application store F-Droid was created.
It is also possible that a file is kept outside the Play store because it is, for example, still in a test phase, for example when Pokémon Go just appeared. In short, there are various reasons to offer an app outside the gates of Google. But the question is: how do you get it on your phone? Downloading outside the official stores is called sideloading and that is a bit easier on Android devices because Android is an open operating system.
Install Apk Files
To get your phone ready for successfully installing an apk file, download the file and open it from your Downloads. A message will then automatically open in Institutions. You then choose 'Allow from this source' and you can install your apk file.
So you no longer have to open your phone to all sources, only for that one file that you have downloaded. If that does not work, it is advisable to search for 'Unknown sources' in the Security settings. If this is all done, the app will install and you can use it just like you do with apps from the Google Play store.
The question is, of course, is all of this really that safe? The file you download goes outside the Google Play store, so you can't count on a thorough check and the necessary security. Android malware infections mainly occur through installations outside the Play Store. Still, you can safely put separate installation files on your Android device, as long as you use reliable sources and check the APK files.
You do that by using VirusTotal. This is a website (funnily enough acquired by Google) that scans your file for viruses for free, without you having to register. More than 70 different virus scanners are used, so you can be pretty sure that your file is okay.
In addition, your app no longer receives the standard updates such as apps via the Play Store, so that means that you have to download the apk file again and again when there is a new version. You cannot update a single apk. What you can do is enable a Pushbullet via APKMirror.
You will find on the app's page on APKMirror a button called push bullet and that app makes it possible to subscribe to certain apps, so that you get a notification when a new version/update is ready for that specific app.