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How can I install an app given only its APK file?

First, as I understand, if I do not have the SD card slot on Android phone (e.g. Samsung Nexus S), the only way that I can install the .apk file is to either download from Android Market or use the SDK (description is e.g. here http://www.talkandroid.com/guides/install-apk-files-on-android/) and the USB cable (With SD card I'm copying the .apk to SD card and then I'm using the ASTRO file manager).

Installation by sending .apk file over Bluetooth (like it is done on Symbian) is not possible, I guess - at least I was not able to send an .apk on any Android phone (the Bluetooth transfer was always rejected by the phone).

How can I install an .apk file on an Android Phone which does not have a SD card slot?


4 Answers 4


You can also place an .apk file on a web server and then using the built-in web browser on your android phone, navigate to that URL which will cause the browser to download the apk file. You will then have the ability in the downloads window to click on the downloaded apk file which Android will then try to install.

I forgot to mention to make sure the content-type is:

Content-Type: application/vnd.android.package-archive
  • 1
    Make sure under Settings > Applications the "Unknown sources" box is checked or you won't be able to install it
    – Cameron
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 21:31

I don't have a Nexus S, but I'm sure that the internal storage has a publicly accessible folder. Where does the browser save files to? Put an APK on a website, download it with a browser, and then open it. That will do the trick.

Same thing with Bluetooth. Store the APK somewhere (in the same path, or create a path and chmod 777 it), and then use something like OI File Manager to open it.

Btw, check Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory() and related methods for a path to store data in.

  • The Nexus S saves external storage in \sdcard, and the browser saves to \sdcard\download
    – jakebasile
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 1:15

I have a Windows 7 64-bit laptop and a Samsung Spica running v2.1 Eclair. I've paired the phone with the laptop and frequently transfer APKs via bluetooth to the phone. Especially when my cable isn't nearby.

The APK is placed in the /sdcard/bluetooth folder and I can then install it using a File Manager of choice like Astro / Root Explorer etc.

This may be new behaviour that is being displayed.


Probably .apk files are not allowed to transfer over bluetooth (not sure)

but you can change the extension from .apk to some other format and after transfering again change it back to .apk - work around solution


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