how do I install an APK in 2019? Something seems to have changed (resolved)

  • Hi there, I have an LG G Stylo running Android 6.0 I have used it to install APKs generated by Constructs app building service before. It's been a good year or two though and now i took the same phone with the same (i think) debug apk builds and i select the package installer and the thing starts to uncompress then just close down.

    I did a hard reset on the phone and re-enabled it's developer mode and it's still happening. Is there some other step I'm missing to get this to just work. Android compared to iOS was always very straight forward so I'm not sure what step I must have missed that has changed or maybe Android 6.0 is too old (even though it shows as an option which is even newer than 5.0

    I feel like I must have missed a step perhaps.

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  • I've had no problems with it. Likely an issue with your low end device.

  • ok cool i'll see if my coworker can install it on his, although his isn't particularly amazing either, but newer I suspect. i'm not sure i buy that its "low end" for installing an APK though. I had done it before and this devices GPU plays games from google play just fine.

    I understand it make not perform great with cordova apps (i made a video of it running apps poorly in the earlier days of C3) but flat out not installing doesn't make sense. A small test app thats like 18mb isn't going to tax anything.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35oCmxjrMvY

  • Which minimum supported OS did you select when you exported? 6.0 is old, I would call low end. Although I have a few devices, one is the worst one you can imagine and I installed the debug apk. What I mean is it must be that particular device causing problems.

  • I selected 6.0 (goes down to 5.0 still).. yea i do get that it's older, but we also shouldn't be designing our games for high end systems either as we need to be sure the games play well on as many devices as possible.

    Yea if I'd never been able to install an apk from the constuct 3 build service i would be ok.. but i do know that it's been awhile (2017) so maybe the build service got some updates that created a problem for the device.

    Isn't there other installers besides the default one? I wonder if there are others. IIRC I remember having more than the one option. I just don't remember how I got them on my device.

  • Installing APKs hasn't really changed, but the package installer app has always been a bit of a pain. It never gives you a reason why an APK cannot be installed, and there can be multiple reasons.

    Things to check:

    • Uninstall any applications with the same package ID
    • Try a fresh build and copy ( APK might have been corrupted in the copy )
    • Ensure your using a debug APK, as unsigned release APKs cannot be installed
    • Check your minimum version is lower than the target device
    • Ensure "Allow install from untrusted sources" is enabled in settings

    One other thing to look out for is Play Protect. This is Google's system for preventing malicious applications from being installed. They have 2 blacklists as far as I can tell, a global "don't install this app" list which every device has and a second list which the device maintains. If the app is on either it will silently fail to install. Sometimes when installing an APK it will ask if you trust it, not trusting it is the default action and will add it to the local blacklist. Preventing you from installing it in future ( it won't ask again, and you cannot change your mind ). I think building a new version of the APK works around this, that or it is removed from the list after awhile. But it can be frustrating when testing many APK files ( like I have to... ).

  • That sounds encouraging and I will look into those measures. My device is at my work right now.

  • One other thing that I remembered is some devices have their own restrictions. We had a bug... probably over a year ago that uppercase characters in package IDs prevented SOME devices from installing the APK. The editor now produces a warning if you try to use them. But it's possible that there are some other edge cases that we don't know of.

  • Attempt to support low end devices yes, but no need to focus on old OS. The iOS exporter is iOS 12 minimum anyway.

  • ah i didn't know about the iOS 12 cutoff. good to know. that's my next hurdle is to get all my certificates and what not renewed.

  • Thanks! I'll check that too when i do some more builds.. i just really want to get android in the bag before i hop over to the ios headaches.

  • ok so i did all those steps and it still wouldn't work but i did find a program called "apk installer" on google play and it worked so that's great. good enough.. weird it wouldn't work but this other product appears to work fine so hopefully it stays that way! Thanks for the tips and advice. I wish they helped but hopefully others will find this post useful for solutions for their situations.

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