Download Android install files *.apk from

Hello fellows of my blog,

this time I wanna give you a brief description how you can download (free) Android programs (*.apk) files directly to your PC. From there you can install them on your device. You would need that in case your Android device has no internet connection, by what reason ever.

Ok, several months ago, I think it was May 2012 I had the issue that in needed the install files of several Android App for a project I was working on. I googled the internet and found an extension for Chromium browser, which enables you to download *.apk filed from instead of installing the App directly to your Android device.

The extension is called apk-downloader and can be found here:

At that day I assume that I used Chromium version 17 and the extensions was version 1.2.1 and worked like a charm.
In the meantime I guess Ubuntu automatically updated my chromium browser to version 18 (18.0.1025.168 (Developer Build 134367 Linux) Ubuntu 11.10) by one of those automatical system updates running every now and then, without me noticing the update of chromium browser.

This week I tried to download some Android Application and run in some serious trouble:
I always got the “Error message: cannot download this app”.

I read almost every comment on and found that there could be serveral issues causing that.

  1. I logged out and logged in again to the extension.
  2. I uninstalled and reinstalled the extension.
  3. I double checked the shortcut parameters which were discussed in various combinations (and also got me a little confused, cause people are mixing up Windows, Linux and Mac requirenments)

All those advice had no effect. I still was not able to download any apk file.

So, here is my solution which is working for me:

  1. Chromium browser (18.0.1025.168 (Developer Build 134367 Linux) Ubuntu 11.10)
  2. uninstall apk-downloader version 1.2.1
  3. Get modified version 1.3.1 form here and follow installation steps also described on that page.
    open chrome://chrome/extensions/ in chromium browser,
    enable develop mode,
    “Load unpacked extension” and select the content of the previously downloaded zip file from apk downloader version 1.3.1)

    steps to install apk downloader

    the main steps to install apk downloader version 1.3.0 in chromium browser version >= 18

  4. provide your googlemail account data (email address and password) and your 16 digit device ID
    (open the dialer (Phone) and enter *#*#8255#*#*, find device ID where it says “Device ID: android-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”,
    see description here:
  5. create a shortcut to your chromium browser and modify the properties by adding “–remote-debugging-port=9222” to Command (Windows users have to use a different option, see official website of apk-downloader for more details)
  6. Now you can visit, search for free apps and then a google play store icon should show up at the end of you chromium browser address bar. Click that icon and the *.apk file is downloaded to your PC.

    after you have installed apk downloader 1.3.0 you get this new icon in the address bar, by clicking you can download the *.apk file of the app to your PC

Another option as I read could be to install the app you want and use a tool called “Astro” to backup the *.apk to the SD card of your phone. Haven’t tried that so far, but I think I will check it out soon.

I hope this is helpful to someone.


9 thoughts on “Download Android install files *.apk from

  1. Hi there, I think your blog might be having internet browser compatibility issues.
    Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine
    however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, excellent blog!

    • Hello, thank you for your statement. Unfortunatelly I only work with Linux and do not have any Windows machine arround to check with Internet Explorer. Though, I recommend to use either Firefox web browser or I you like I also can recommend chromium-browser.
      If you found my posts useful, you are welcome 🙂

  2. I followed your instruction, but I still got Error Message that I cannot download the app. What should I do?

    • Have you checked the websites I linked to? There are some forums dealing with that problem, maybe they can give you further help. Since I do not own an Android phone anymore, I cannot provide any help on that anymore, sorry.

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