When downloading an app from the Play Store, you can expect to find a straightforward process. You click “install,” you allow permissions, and the app is downloaded onto your Android device.
However, if you’re trying to download an app manually, it may not be straightforward.
You may be trying to sideload an app from a site like APKMirror because the app you want isn’t available to you from the Play Store. Or there’s an app not available to you due to your location or your device.
This is called sideloading, and it can get confusing especially when there are multiple versions of the same app available for download. Developers create different versions to account for different types of Android devices.
There are over 24,000 different Android devices on the market. These devices vary in size, Android version, processor and DPI value. That’s a tough challenge to make one app version to fit 24,000 unique devices.
This is why there are multiple versions.
When you’re downloading an app manually, you need to match the right download to your device. If you choose any version that isn’t compatible with your device, the app won’t work correctly.
Which APK Download is Right for My Android Device?
In order to find out which version you should download, you need to know what specs to look out for.
You need to know the following about your Android device before downloading an app manually.
Going on an APK hosting site like APKMirror, you will see that you need to know your device’s architecture.
Your architecture will depend on the processor you have.
On a site like APKMirror, it lists the minimum Android version the app can work on. If your device’s version is higher than the minimum, then you’re good to go.
The Android version will be the easiest spec you can find on your device.
DPI stands for “dots per inch.” It is the measure of the pixel density of your device. It tells the app how much content it can squeeze on your screen.
If you cannot find your screen DPI with the instructions below, or if the app doesn’t support your screen DPI version, look for the APK variant that says “nodpi.”
This usually means that there is no DPI requirement and the app should work with any device regardless of DPI. Just pick the APK download that matches your architecture, Android version and that says “nodpi.”
Now that you know what to look for, you then need to go find this information on your Android
How to Find Your Android Device’s Info
Out of the three specs you need to find, your device’s Android version number will be the easiest to locate.
In your phone’s settings, scroll down until you see “About” or “About phone.”
You will find your Android version in this section.
For the other two specs, you need to locate, you will need to download an app.
There are many apps that you can try out, but an easy one to use is DevCheck Hardware and System Info.
To find your device’s screen DPI, go to the “HARDWARE: tab within the DevCheck app.
Look for the bolded words “Screen density (dpi).” This will show you the DPI number needed.
To find your device’s architecture information, go to the “SYSTEM” tab within the DevCheck app.
Look for the bolded words “Instruction sets.” This should be located under “Architecture.” There you will find your architecture version.
Now that you have all three key pieces of information, you are now ready to download the correct version of the app to your device.
There are several reasons why you may need to download an app manually. It may not be available on the Play Store, the app may not be available to you based on your location, etc.
Downloading an app manually can get confusing when you’re faced with several versions of the same app.
These versions depend on how different devices are made. Each version needs to fit a certain Android version, architecture and screen DPI. If these specs don’t match up, the app will not work on your device.
Finding out your device’s Android version, architecture number and screen DPI is easy with an app.
There are a number of apps to choose from, but we found the DevCheck Hard and System Info app to have all the information you need in one place.
Find your device’s information, match it up with the app version on an APK hosting site like APKMIRROR and then enjoy your app!