There is a lot of confusion in the community about ‘free’ versions of Minecraft PE. These downloads are called free APKs or APK file downloads.
What are APK Files?
APK files are not specific to Minecraft PE. When speaking about APK files, one is talking about the .apk file extension which is specific to the Android Operating System. APK packages are used to as a single container to distribute Android applications. For simplicity, you can think of an APK file as an archive format, like a ZIP or RAR archive, which contains all the code an application needs such as resources, assets, manifests and certificates. Every time you install an app from the Play store, you are installing an APK package or .apk file on your Android device.
What is Sideloading?
APK files that are obtained from outside the Google Play store are installed using a process called sideloading. Sideloading is not illegal. There are many scenarios where applications are sideloaded onto Android devices in a legal manner.
Sideloading in simple terms is installing apps and games on the Android from any source other than the official Play Store. That’s it, if you just Google and download an APK file of an app and install it manually on your Android device, you’re sideloading that app. Even the apps obtained from third-party stores fall into that category. – Guiding Tech
Sideloading is illegal when the file that is installed is pirated, or provided without payment when it is a paid application.
What are Free Minecraft PE APK Downloads?
Free Minecraft PE APKs or APK files are pirated versions of Minecraft PE that can be downloaded an installed on an Android device. Distribution of APK files circumvents the user from having to pay for the application.
Are Free Minecraft APKs Illegal?
Yes. There is no discussion on this point. If you download APK files as opposed to purchasing an App or Apps you are effectively stealing the software, which is called piracy. Piracy not only cheats the contributions of the creators of an App like Minecraft PE, but also stifles evolution of an app as it introduces more time that must be devoted to security patches (to prevent illegal APK distribution) as opposed to focusing on evolving App functionality.
Can APK Files be Dangerous?
In and of themselves APKs or APK files are not dangerous. The concept is a core to distribution of Android OS apps. However, downloading APKs from sources beyond authorized app stores introduces the potential for dangerous downloads. Since APK files that are distributed outside of traditional app stores lack security scrutiny malicious code can be included in APK files, and often is. When a person installs an APK package that is out in the wild, the potential exists for malware to be installed in addition to the App, such as Minecraft PE, that the user is installing.
RemoveFree (Illegal) APK Files from your Android Device
If you have a ‘free’ APK version of Minecraft PE, or any other App for that matter that was not legally obtained, our recommendation to you is to remove it from your Android device. We hope you do so from an ethical standpoint. However, if ethical grounds escape you for some reason, remove it for the potential of malware being on your device.
- Android application package – Wikipedia
- Is getting MCPE for free using an apk file illegal? – Minecraft Forum
- Is sideloading APK files considered piracy? – Android Central
Last Updated Feb 14, 2017