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I want to know where Google Play stores downloaded .apk files. I've heard that Google Play doesn't send you an .apk file and installation is completely online. Is it true?

migrated from superuser.com Jun 19 '13 at 15:26

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  • Android saves .apk files in system folder, installs the package and deletes the file. Not sure about what I have said, but I saw it happen with file explorer that was capable to open system folders and partitions. – Little Helper Jun 19 '13 at 6:20
  • Nope, installed apps from the play store (.apk) aren't stored in the system folder. The file is also not deleted and stays in the /data folder. – ce4 Jun 19 '13 at 15:38
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.apk files are downloaded and stored in subfolders under a location on your device called /data.

By default, you do not have permissions to read from that location. In order to read/write in that location, you will need to root your device.

  • For readers: the sub-folder is usually /data/app but don't forget /data/app-private and /mnt/asec. – Firelord Nov 22 '15 at 17:01
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For now, Google sends you APK file and once it is finished downloading it installs it.

Seems the location of temp files is likely to change from time to time and can vary based on OS, as well as what you're downloading. I'm Presently, using MIUI 8.5.3

Downloads from Google Play Store go into different location for New and Existing apps.

New apps (as in you don't have previous version), go into:
Folder: /data/data/com.android.providers.downloads/cache
Filename is:

  • While it's downloading: download.bin.midownload (mostl likely OS-specific name)
  • Once complete: download.apk (file is deleted some time after the download, usually not immediately after)

Updates to Existing apps
Folder: /sdcard/Android/data/com.android.vending/files
Filename is:

  • While it's downloading: #######.midownload (extension is likely OS-specific as well)
  • Once complete: ??

Also, the following folder is created when you download new app or an update to existing one (## are numbers): /data/app/vmdl#####.tmp
It's empty during the downloading.

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