If you used to be an iPhone user, you know the only way to install applications on your iOS device is to use iTunes. But the open source environment of Android makes it possible to download an APK file (apk is the extension of Android apps and games) and install it on Android devices without using Google Play Store.

In this AW Center article, we review 3 simple ways to install Android Apps from computer to phone. The first 2 ways is when you have the APK file and the third way is when you want to install the app from the desktop version of Google Play.

Before starting to use either first 2 ways, you need to authorize the Unknown Source Installation Permission on your device. Follow this path on your phone: Settings >> Security >> Check Unknown sources

See: How to Install Apps from Unknown sources on Android

It is strongly recommended to download APK files from trusted sources and always have an Android Anti-Virus installed on your device to minimize the risk of getting harmful viruses, malware or spyware.


Now let’s review the ways to install an Android app from Computer to Mobile:

Transfer the APK file to your Computer

In this way, you browse the APK file on your computer and then transfer it to your device’ storage by a USB cable or any other ways to transfer.

See: 5 Ways to Transfer Files From PC to Phone

When the APK file is transferred, do as follows to continue the installation process:

  1. Find the APK file in a File Manager (If you are using a Samsung device, you may use My Files, and if you already don’t have a file manager, download and install ASTRO Cloud & File Manager or ES File Explorer File Manager)
  2. Tap the APK file to start installing the app
  3. It is recommended to select the Verify & Install option
  4. Now, see the permissions and tap install to start installing the app


Using a Remote Desktop Application

AirDroid is indee d one the best Android apps to manage your phone or tablet from a computer or laptop and installing an App from a desktop browser is one of its many features.

See: Air Droid: Transfer Files From Android to PC

To start the process of installing app with AirDroid, do as follows:

  1. Open AirDroid on your device (Download AirDroid from Google Play)
  2. Write down the provided IP address (You may use the AirDroid web page which needs an account)
  3. Open a browser on your Laptop or PC and type the given IP address
  4. Wait for the connection to start and confirm it on your Android
  5. On the desktop browser, click Apps
  6. In the opened window, click Install App button
  7. Browse the APK file and click open
  8. AirDroid start transferring the file to your device
  9. When finished, you need to confirm the installation from your smart device


Using the Desktop Version of Google Play

You can also use the desktop version of Google Play Store to install free and paid apps on your Android device from your computer. You just need to make sure you have been logged in with the same Google account as the device to be installed apps on.

  1. Go to Play Store and find the application you would like to install
  2. Click the green install button (if it is a free app. Otherwise the price is shown instead of install, and you have to confirm the payment first)
  3. Now on the opened pop-up window, choose the device to install the app on (list of devices associated with the same Google account is shown)
  4. Click Install and then the installation starts on your device soon (almost immediately)


Downloading and installing apps from Google Play has 2 main advantages over the other ways:

  1. The risk of installing harmful applications reaches to its minimum level
  2. When there is an update for an installed application, you don’t have to download the entire app again