If I install an APK from this website, will I be able to update the app from the Play Store?
Yes, absolutely. The Play Store installs APKs it downloads from
Google’s servers, and sideloading from a site like GFX-tools.com goes through a
very similar process, except you’re the one performing the downloading
and initiating the installation (sideloading).
As soon as the Play Store finds a version of the app newer than the one
you’ve sideloaded, it will commence an update.
Security: What measures do you take to make sure all uploaded APKs are real and created by the respective developers?
- All GFX-tools.com uploads are verified prior to publishing.
- We make sure that the cryptographic
signatures for new versions of all previously published apps
match the original ones, which means we know if uploaded APKs were signed
by the real devs or someone pretending to be them.
Note: GFX-tools.com has been protected from the Janus
vulnerability in Android .
- a. For new apps that have never been uploaded to GFX-tools.com, we try to
match the signatures to other existing apps by the same developer. If
there’s a match, it means that the same key was used to sign a previously
known legitimate app, therefore validating the new upload.
b. If we see no matches, we try to obtain and compare to a version of the
same app from the Play Store or another verified location. If it’s a
beta, we will try to get into it. If we can’t, we will attempt to contact
c. If we’re unable to verify the legitimacy of a new APK, we will simply not
What is the purpose of GFX-tools.com? What APKs are accepted? I just uploaded an APK but it’s not going live.
GFX-tools.com is a highly curated community, so there’s absolutely no guarantee
we will publish your app. The site’s primary purposes are, in the
order of importance:
- Allow updates to popular apps that are rolling out slowly and may not
yet be available to you to be downloaded and installed sooner.
- Get around geo-restrictions and sideload popular apps that may not be
otherwise available in your country.
- Provide an archive of popular applications along with changelogs and
descriptions, so that you can roll back to an earlier version if a new one
starts crashing or removes features you’ve grown to enjoy. You can also use
the archive for research purposes to compare changes from one version to
another, for example.
- Allow for alternate distribution of select applications, at the
discretion of our management and editorial teams.
As you can see in the above list, #4 is in the last place. One of GFX-tools.com’s
signature features is careful curation, so, statistically, most new apps that
get uploaded will likely get denied, depending on circumstances.
If your app is new, doesn’t have a proven track record, and not unique, it will
likely not be approved.
If the app is in beta, lacks a meaningful description or any arguments for why
it should be accepted (or we can’t verify its legitimacy), it will likely
not be approved.
If you don’t have credibility as a developer (existing popular apps,
notoriety in the field, etc), your chances of getting approved go down.
We get hundreds of uploads each day, there are millions of apps out there, the
majority of which (if we’re being frank) are not very good, and we simply have
no other choice but be selective. We hope you understand why.
Why did I just get an error when trying to install an APK?
There could be several reasons for installation errors. Here are some of them. You’re
trying to install an APK:
- with a cryptographic signature that doesn’t match the
already installed one. All APKs hosted on GFX-tools.com are signed with
official release keys, so make sure the app you’re trying to update was not
- with a version lower than the one already installed. In
other words, you’re trying to downgrade without uninstalling the current app first.
- with libraries meant for a device with a different CPU
architecture. For example, if you’re using a 32-bit arm device,
you’ll get an error trying to install an APK with arm64 libs inside.
However, 64-bit OSes are backwards-compatible with 32-bit ones, so you
should have no issues installing APKs with arm libs on an arm64 device.
Disable any screen-dimming apps, like Lux or Twilight. For security reasons,
Android will gray out the Install button when an app like that is active.
HowToGeek article for more info.
I have an APK I want to upload. How can I extract it from my device and upload to GFX-tools.com?
The easiest way to extract an APK is by using an APK extractor app built for
this purpose, or a file manager with extracting capabilities. For example,
Manager APK Extractor, APK
Extractor or Apk
If you insist on going in manually, remember that pre-installed read-only
versions of system apps live in /system/app, but updates to them as well as new
apps are in /data/app.
No, you do not need root if you use an APK extractor app.
Note: If you insist on a manual method and try to browse /data or
/data/app, you’re going to have a bad time without root, as Android won’t let
you list the dirs. You’ll need to know the exact name of the APK file to
Does GFX-tools.com host paid or pirated apps?
GFX-tools.com has a no-piracy policy and does not host paid apps.
Note: There are very rare exceptions to the no paid apps rule. Sometimes,
developers make updates to paid apps available to the public, usually to
test beta releases. In such cases, there is usually a license check involved to
make sure the apps were previously purchased. MX
Player Pro is a notable example of such an exception because J2
Interactive, the app’s developer, provides
test APKs on its site.
What are these weird terms I’m seeing on some APKs – dpi, nodpi, arm, arm64, x86?
- DPI: screen density, measured in dots per
inch. Each device has a certain DPI metric, and some
APKs are optimized for specific DPIs.
- nodpi: APKs marked nodpi, or not marked with any DPI-related info at
all, are meant for all devices.
- 120, 160, …, 640 dpi: these APKs are meant for specific DPIs only.
See the next several questions for more details.
- arm (armeabi, armeabi-v7a), arm64 (arm64, arm64-v8a), x86, x86_64, mips,
mips64: these are CPU
architectures. See this
FAQ entry for more info.
Update 1/23/18: HowToGeek published a detailed
explainer here: How
to Find Your Android Device’s Info for Correct APK Downloads.
If there are both nodpi and specific dpi APKs available, which one should I download?
If you’re confident of your device’s DPI (dots per inch) value, go ahead and
download the APK that most closely matches it. If there is no exact match,
pick the APK with a higher DPI than your device, if available. If not, you’ll
probably be alright with a slightly lower DPI.
Otherwise, it’s safe to download the nodpi variant – it essentially contains
resources that should look right on any device. The only downside of a nodpi APK
is that it’s almost always larger in size since it’s not optimized for
a specific DPI.
Rule of thumb: When in doubt, go for nodpi.
How can I find out my device’s DPI, architecture, screen size, and other specs?
After trying numerous system info apps, we are currently
Hardware Info. It contains the DPI (Device tab),
architecture (System tab), Android OS version (Device tab) as
well as a plethora of other info.
Is it OK to install arm64 apps on an arm device? What about arm apps on an arm64 device? Likewise, for x86 and x86_64?
Since 64-bit operating systems are backwards-compatible with 32-bit apps, but not
vice versa, it’s safe to install 32-bit apps on both 32-bit and 64-bit OSes, but
not the other way around.
32-bit APKs installed on 64-bit devices may not be as optimized, so if you have a
64-bit device, install a 64-bit APK when it becomes available, if it exists
at all. Many developers simply don’t bother building 64-bit-optimized
- arm on arm device: OK.
- arm64 on arm device: Nope.
- arm on arm64 device: OK
- arm64 on arm64 device: OK
Same for x86 and x86_64, mips and mips64, etc.