Is APK an abbreviation for Android Package Kit? What about the file itself? Is it an archive such as ZIP where during install the installer extracts and copies the files onto the file system?

  • 4
    Yes, APK = Android Package. It is an archive. This is a good question for the google.
    – gary
    Sep 22, 2010 at 10:10
  • Ironically, the google search is inconsistent on what "apk" actually stands for.
    – jhocking
    Jul 23, 2017 at 7:09

2 Answers 2



APK files are a variant of the JAR file format, which are built on the ZIP file format, with a .apk file extension.

  • 1
    in fact, you can unzip any APK with any program that can read the standard .zip format. To do the reverse though, requires running the zip through a converter to ensure that the zip file has the appropriate metadata and signature (and folder layout).
    – Lie Ryan
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:47
  • incidentally, being the APK de facto just a renamed ZIP file, the first bytes (magic / header) are PK, so that's a reference to the extension too.
    – Ju Tutt
    Nov 27, 2019 at 10:32

APK (Android Package) file is a file format which is created by Google. This format is one of the group members of Executable Files (similar to EXE, MST, AIR).

APK file extension is in the Open Handset Alliance which is a mobile phone platform based on Linux. This file extension is especially created when using Google's Android SDK. APK files contain the code files, resource files and the AndroidManifest XML file extension. For more detail http://edugoing.com/qna/index.php?qa=14&qa_1=describe-the-apk-format#a171

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