Can't Open APK Files

Can’t Open APK Files? Reasons, and Solutions

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I have seen people of all ages (even the ones who handle technology well) struggle with downloading, installing, and opening APK files. In my view, downloading and opening the APK files is a little trickier than installing them.

Regular users have found a million ways to deal with such issues but not every solution works for everyone. A lot of us know how to download and install the APK files but quite a few can deal with the “can’t open APK files” issue.

In this article today we will specifically be discussing how to open the APK files and what are the possible reasons. I dealt with the same problem a few days ago, now that I’m successful in opening the file that has been displaying the “can’t open the file” message back, I decided to help you as well. 

But first of all, let me give you a hint of what exactly happened? Here is how I downloaded it and how and when the message appeared, when it usually appears.

I went to the security tab as per the instructions, enabled the unknown source, downloaded the app, looked for the downloaded file in downloads, tapped on it to open it, the message “Can’t open the file” appeared. This message usually appears when the user tries to open the recently downloaded app file.

How to open the apk file?

If this has been happening to you lately, here is the solution

The APK files that are downloaded and installed correctly do not display such messages.  If for some reason it’s showing “can’t open the file”, try browsing it again with one of the following file managers.

The file managers are lightweight tools that help you in administering the APK files you have installed on your Android device. 

Opening the APK file with the file manager is the most common and effective way of dealing with this problem. It’s common for Android users to face such issues if they are not using suitable software to access the APK file. 

The Android phone can also be referring to this problem with the following warning ” you may not have a proper app for viewing this content.” In both cases, only the File Manager app can resolve the issue.

can't open apk

Can’t Open APK Files Solutions

How to use the File Manager to deal with this problem?

To resolve the matter with the File Manager, you must have the File Manager app downloaded on your Android phone. The File Managers can be downloaded from the Play Store just like the usual Play Store apps. Once the file manager is downloaded and installed, here’s how you can access the desired file;

  • Uninstall the previous version
  • Go to settings
  • Scroll down to security settings
  • Look for the “Allow installation from unknown sources”
  • Enable the allow installation from unknown sources option
  • Go to the file managing app
  • Search for the desired apk file
  • Install
  • Follow the directions to open it

The File Manager is a solution to all possible problems the Android users usually face while downloading and opening the apk file. However, if still with the apk installer app, you are facing the same issue, how can you resolve the issue then?

If the apk file downloaded with the apk installer app is showing the same issue, it is highly unlikely to have any other reason except that the file is broken. In this case, try looking and downloading the newer version. 

The other least known solutions to the problem

If, after trying all the possible solutions, the problem persists, try rebooting the phone, playing with the settings, or clearing the cache.

Now that you know, the only 100% working solution to this problem is downloading and installing it with a File Manager app. So, go ahead, download any of the above-mentioned file manager options, and download the apk file to fix the problem. 

Problems, to be able to be resolved, need to be identified first. If one fails to identify the problem it’s impossible to find the solution. Now you know the cure let’s look at the causes.


What is the reason for this problem?

In between finding the solution a lot of you might have understood the reasons for this problem but for the slow learners here I am stating the reasons separately.

So, the reasons could be;

  • You are trying to download and access the file without a file manager
  • The Android phone does not support the version installed
  • The phone needs to be rebooted
  • The file is broken, needs the updated version to be installed.

Remember! You can only fix this problem with the file manager app if your phone supports the file or it doesn’t need a reboot.  But if the phone doesn’t support the function or the file is broken, the file manager may not help.

Bonus Tip

What’s the safest way to download and open the apk file?

Since the apk files are downloaded from unknown sources so they can harm the Android device. The best way to have the apk file on your Android device is by downloading it from trusted websites via file manager. The rest of the procedure is the same, enable installing from unknown sources, browse, download, and install. 


Android users are often seen complaining that the apk file is not working, showing “can’t open the file.” The possible reasons for this problem could be, the user is trying to access the apk file without a file manager, the file is broken or outdated, or the device doesn’t support the version.

The 100% working solution to this problem is downloading the file using the file manager.  There are some other underrated solutions as well like rebooting the phone or clearing the caches.

In the end, I would like to confess that I’m not a professional and have never dealt with such problems professionally. This article is solely based on my knowledge and experience and I hope it helps.

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