How to Use Off-Market APK Files to Install Android Apps

By Steve McFarlane

Even though the Android Market is the best place to discover Android applications, there are still lots of apps that aren’t listed there. That may be the case if the developer hasn’t gone through the trouble of listing the app yet or the app may have been removed for some reason.

In some instances you may be able to find, download and install an off-market copy of the app, which is normally packaged in the APK file.

Installing Off-market APK Apps from PC

There is more than one way to install Android APK files. For example, you can copy the APK to the SD card and use ASTRO file manager to browse for the APK and install it.


You can use a simpler solution that involves using the free service found at; it has a 30 MB APK file limit, but it works well.

Before you start, you may need to change a setting on your Android so you can install from non-Market sources. Click “Menu” > “Settings” > “Applications” and then select “Unknown Sources”.

Using the APKinstall service:

  • Download the app’s APK onto your computer
  • From the same computer, visit this website, and click  “Browse files”; select the APK you had downloaded
  • The website will upload the file and create a QR code for you to scan
  • To install the app, use your Android’s QR code scanner to scan the code. Please note that you must scan the code within 15 minutes of uploading the APK file to the site, otherwise the download to your phone will fail. This is because the file is deleted from the website after 15 minutes
  • If you don’t get onscreen directions from here on, click the “Open browser” button, to download the app onto your Android
  • Tap on the downloaded app to install it, then the “Install” button to complete the process.

The app should now be installed and ready for you to start using.

Tip: If your phone is set to block the installation of apps that aren’t sourced from the Market you may get an error message saying: “Install blocked; For security, your phone is set to block installation of applications not sourced in Android Market”

To work around this issue try rooting the phone. A great place to find the instructions for doing so can be found at the XDA forum.
Sources: TechJournal, APKinstall

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