Learn to install an App from a 3rd party source using an APK file directly.

Android basics

Android application package [APK] is the package file format used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of mobile apps, mobile games and middleware.


  • A smartphone with Android OS Pie or newer
  • Downloaded APK file for the App that you wish to install. For the purpose of this guide, we are going to be installing non-Google version of Kontalk, a community driven free/libre IM application and network.

Let’s roll.

1. Once the APK is downloaded, open it from Downloads in browser or Notification tray itself.

Once open, built-in security warns you and won’t let you install it from Browser until specifically allowed from this source.

Tap ‘Settings’ to continue. Toggle the radio switch to enable ‘Allow from this source’ and go back.

Voila! It is allowed to install Kontalk from APK now. Tap Install and Done to finish the installation process.


2. Once installed, you might want to turn it back off for security reasons.

Open Android Settings and navigate to ‘Apps & notifications’ settings therein


You can scroll down to enter ‘Special app access’ settings under Advanced section of ‘Apps & Notifications’ settings

In ‘Special app access’ settings, tap on ‘Install unknown apps’ to continue.

Since you just allowed Browser to install unknown apps, select ‘Browser’ therein to undo what we allowed in above step.

Tap the radio switch to turn it to OFF in order to deny the access like before.

Thanks for reading!

Manish Gehlot

I am a privacy, security, encryption and software freedom enthusiast. I am into VPNs, TLS security. Recently I also got into technical writings including guides.

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