Perhaps the best thing about using an Android device is the Google Play Store which gives you access to millions of apps. This includes VPN apps that you can use to protect your personal information online. However, what can you do if the app that you want isn’t accessible on the Play Store? Your version of Android may no longer support the latest version of the VPN app, or Google has removed it from the marketplace altogether. In any case, you can still get the app on your Android device by installing a VPN APK for it.
So how do you install a VPN APK on your Android smartphone or tablet? Well, it’s not as difficult as you might think and, in this article, we’ll show you how to do just that in a few simple steps.
What Is an APK?
APK is short for “Android Application Package” and it contains all the files necessary for an app’s distribution — source codes, images, videos, icons, etc. It’s similar to an installer for PC except that APKs are designed exclusively for Android.
APKs are different in that they must be downloaded onto your Android device. Unlike the apps that you download from the Google Play Store, APKs must be installed manually before you can run them on your Android device. This process is called “sideloading” and can be done offline without the need to download any additional resources over the Internet.
Why Use a VPN APK?
As mentioned earlier, there are various circumstances wherein sideloading your desired app is the only option. For one thing, Google may have removed the VPN app from the Google Play store, so you won’t be able to install it directly on your Android device. This can happen due to licensing disputes or violations of Google’s ToS (Terms of Service).
Another reason wherein sideloading apps can be necessary is when the latest version of the VPN app isn’t compatible with your version of Android. This is generally not the case for recent models of Android smartphones and tablets. However, if you’re using an older device, then you will find that many apps on the Google Play Store are no longer compatible. In this case, you can sideload an older version of the app to circumvent such restrictions.
It is also possible that your desired VPN app is not available in your region. Similarly, you can download the APK from the VPN’s official website and sideload the app to your Android device to get around the restriction.
Check out our recommended VPNs for Android: 5 Best Android VPN to Use in 2020 [updated]
Some people use APKs to sideload premium apps without having to pay for them. That said, we strongly discourage everyone from doing so as it’s an act of piracy and can come with serious legal ramifications. More importantly, most pirated APKs downloaded from questionable sources contain malware that can infect your Android device.
How to Download a VPN APK for Android
- Configure your Android device to install and run APKs
By default, Android does not allow the installation of apps outside of the Google Play Store. You’ll have to enable the option to do so.
The steps may vary depending on the make and model of your Android device. For this example, we’ll be referencing a Lenovo Z6 Android smartphone. You will find the option under settings then security. Look for “Unknown Sources” and tap on the toggle switch right next to it to enable the feature.
- Download the APK VPN from official sources
For the next step, you will need to download the APK of your desired VPN. Again, you would want to be careful where you get this file from. Do some research and choose a reputable source. If possible, download the APK from the VPN’s official website.
For this example, we’ll be referencing the APK of the VPN app called Tunnelbear, which we’ve downloaded from a site called APK Pure. You will also find older versions of the VPN app on their website.
Tap on “Download APK” to start downloading the APK file to your Android device.
- Run the APK on your Android device
The next step is to install the APK file you’ve downloaded to your Android device. Tap on the file, and your device will ask you whether you want to install the app. Tap on “Install” to begin the process.
- Run the VPN App
At this point, you’ve finished sideloading the VPN app on your Android device. The application will automatically open, and you just need to key in your login information to start using the VPN on your mobile device.
- Secure your device
To be safe, don’t forget to turn off “Unknown Sources” from the security options on your Android device. As much as possible, you’d want to install apps only from official sources like the Google Play Store or the VPN itself.
So there you have it — everything that you need to know about installing a VPN APK for Android. As you may have already realized, the process isn’t at all complicated and a good workaround for apps that you can’t get directly from the Play Store. You just need to be careful about where you source the APK files from and that it doesn’t contain any malware.