There are several ways to open APK files on a computer, which really means to install APK files on Windows, but currently the most stable and practical is to use an emulator. There are several on the market, and here we tell you how to open APK files with two of the best and most popular – BlueStacks and Nox Player.


BlueStacks is an Android emulator. What it does is to install a kind of virtual Android which is totally functional, and allows you to connect to the Internet, have access to Google Play, and install apps to use in Windows. Start off by downloading BlueStacks using the following green Download button.

Once the download is complete, double click on the file to launch installation. If the operating system asks you for confirmation press accept.

BlueStacks requires permissions to be installed on WindowsBlueStacks requires permissions to be installed on Windows

You will go to the installation’s start window. Press the button Install Now (make sure the Accept software license box is checked). The system installation path can be modified by pressing Customize installation.

Press Install Now to start the installationPress Install Now to start the installation

Downloading of the remaining software components will commence, the length of time you will have to wait for the download to complete will depend on your connection (if you’re using a firewall or antivirus, you might be better off disabling it temporarily). Once this is done, the software will be launched on the screen and will take another two or three minutes to configure everything, given that it is the first time it has been run on the system.

The first thing that will appear on the screen is a Google Play notification asking if you want to start the session with your Google account. Click on I’ll do it later if you want to do it later or on Sign in to go straight into your account, where you will have to introduce your user name and password.

Log in to Google Play through BlueStacksLog in to Google Play through BlueStacks

Once in the main window, search in the top-left corner for Installed Apps. If you look closely, there are three small vertical buttons on the right, click on them and in the pop-up menu, select Install APK.

Menu to install APKs from BlueStacksMenu to install APKs from BlueStacks

A Windows explorer window will instantly open, locate the APK file that you want to install and which you have previously downloaded onto your hard drive (it will now show the BlueStacks icon, letting you know that it is a supported file) and click Open in the bottom-right corner.

Select the APK to be installed on BlueStacksSelect the APK to be installed on BlueStacks

You will see your new app’s gray icon with a loading animation in the main BlueStacks window, where installed apps are shown. After a few seconds, the icon will turn to its normal color, indicating that the app has been installed. Click on the icon and the application will launch on the screen.

Android app APK installed on BlueStacksAndroid app APK installed on BlueStacks

Nox Player

Nox Player is another popular Android emulator for Windows that allows you to install apps and use them on your desktop. If you go for this option, the first step is to download the installation file; to do so, click on the green Download button.

Once the transfer is complete, search for the file in your download folder and double click on it. If the operating system requires any additional permissions, press accept.

Nox Player requires permissions to be installed on WindowsNox Player requires permissions to be installed on Windows

After a few seconds the installer window will open. Click on the install button (you can make customized adjustments to the installation process in the bottom-right corner). Make sure that the box in the bottom-left corner is checked.

Button to install NoxButton to install Nox

During the installation, several windows to install additional software will probably pop up. Simple decline by pressing Reject.

Opt out of installing promotional softwareOpt out of installing promotional software

As we mentioned, you’ll probably have to deal with more than, press Reject or Decline.

Press Decline to avoid the installation of adwarePress Decline to avoid the installation of adware

After a few minutes, while Nox Player is completing the configuration of all its components, you will see the Start button, click on it.

Press Start to run NoxPress Start to run Nox

Next, log into your Google account using the Log In button or postpone this step by pressing Login later.

Log into your Google account or skip this stepLog into your Google account or skip this step

With Nox Player now on the screen and completely open, in the options menu in the right-hand margin search for a square button with the letters Apk Instl and click on it.

Button to install APKs on NoxButton to install APKs on Nox

A Windows explorer window will open so that you can locate the APK file of the app you are going to install. Select and click on Open in the bottom-right corner.

Locate the APK file with Windows ExploreLocate the APK file with Windows Explore

After a few seconds, your new app’s icon will appear on the Nox desktop and in the start window that shows all installed apps. The apps usually open right away. In this case we have installed Snapchat.

The APK you’ve just installed opens automaticallyThe APK you’ve just installed opens automatically

You now know how to install Android apps on your computer by using two different emulators, so start enjoying the advantages of using a larger PC screen!