How to Transfer Android Apps Between Phones Over Bluetooth

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android-logo Almost all the friends in my social circle own an Android phone and those who don’t have it yet are planning to get one shortly. So with so many Androids around, we frequently talk about new apps and how they are helping each of us in our daily life, and thus we have situations where I may like an app on one of my friend’s phone and would want to quickly install it on mine as well.

Of course, I can open Google Play and download the application but why waste the bandwidth when I can ask my friend to transfer it to me over Bluetooth. Sounds interesting, right? This can accomplished through 2 nifty apps: Astro and Bluetooth Transfer App.

Astro is a leading file explorer for Android, and I am sure most of you have come across it. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best Android file explorers one can use, but there’s a lot more to it than that. One of the features of Astro is that it lets you backup your installed apps on the memory card as an APK file so that you can restore them at the time of crisis. What we will do is, we will see how we can create an APK of an individual file and send it over Bluetooth to another device using this tool.

Steps to Send App APKs Over Bluetooth

After you have downloaded and installed Astro on your Android, run the application, press the settings soft key and select tools to open a pop-up window.

Astro  (2)

Select Application Backup from the popup tool window and wait for Astro to make a list of all the applications installed on your Android. In the list select the application you want to send over Bluetooth and click the backup button to create the APK file. You can select multiple applications as well. Once the backup is complete, press the back soft key to return to the Astro Home.

Astro  (1)

On the home screen, you will see all the files and folders in your mounted SD card. Navigate to the folder Backups—>Apps to find the APK files you have created above.

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Astro  (3)

Well, our journey with Astro completes here. We will now use Bluetooth File Transfer app for Android to transfer these files over Bluetooth as APK access to Bluetooth are locked by default on most of the devices. Once you have downloaded and installed Bluetooth File Transfer app on your Android, launch the application.

In Bluetooth File Transfer application, navigate to the same folder Backups—>Apps and select the file you want to send. After selecting press the Bluetooth button, search for the device and send the file. Once the receiver receives the file, he will be able to install it.

Bluetooth FIle Transfer  (1)Bluetooth FIle Transfer  (2)

Note: If you are thinking, you can send paid apps to your friend, you are wrong because as soon as the receiver runs Google Play, it will be reverted back to free version.


Here’s a video tutorial for easier understanding.

My Verdict

This method of transferring the APK file can really come in handy when you want an application that’s installed on another Android phone, and you are on a train or flight from where you cannot access Google Play.

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Show archived comments (37)

Archived Comments

  1. Jailerj says:

    ASTRO File Manager has a bluetooth module on the Google Play site which appears to do the same thing as adding the Bluetooth Transfer App to your device.

  2. Mike O says:

    Great tip Ashish. Clear,clean and works. Thank you.

  3. kundan says:

    :p u cn directly snd apps frm blutut file transfer.. By clikin option .. Snd app!!no need to use astro:P

    • T. W. says:

      Most phones will not accept certain file types via bluetooth it will send but not receive. Tried many times to send .mobi, .apk, .epub from my windows7 PC to my ICS tablet and it fails, rename it .JPG and it succeeds

  4. myfriendmike says:

    Thanks to you, I am TOTALLY EXCITED to get a new phone. I really thought I would have to leave 2-3 of my “Non-marketplace” apps behind, because I couldn’t find them anymore. Anywhere. NOW, I have those apps all backed up, and I’m ready to load them onto my new phone (whenever that happens). This article, and ASTRO, have totally changed my perspective on upgrading!

    I also have ES File Explorer on my phone, and used that to email myself the backed up apps, so they are saved in the cloud as well! I even emailed a backed up app to a friend who opened it on his phone, and it installed perfectly! (Once he clicked settings, Applications, and the checkbox for “Allow Non-marketplace apps.”)

  5. codifex says:

    Bluetooth File Transfer worked like a champ! Haven’t tried Astro as I have another File Manager but… I think I might just give it a try too.


  6. mayur says:

    grate man

    i wanted this type information from long time …
    so thanx friend .
    and you done such a grate job yarr.
    thanx again

  7. tejas says:

    Nice Ashish. You have just solved a big problem for me.
    Many Thanks.

  8. Joe Labroco says:
  9. viral says:

    i have done the same procedure as prescribed earlier using astro file manager but in the back up folder when i am selecting apps which i want to share still buletooth option is not available in sharinng…………….i am using sony experia j……… me regarding this

  10. Shubham Nigam says:

    i did everything as prescribed above with astro,but I do not get bluetooth option when i share a file.I am using xperia tipo

  11. Jonas says:

    You are a life saver! I had an app installed on to an old phone that was erased on google play. Now, I have it installed and working fine on my new phone. Thank you!

  12. a says:

    What if I speaking hypothetically here had a illegally downloaded file. Can this be sent via Bluetooth?

  13. Phil says:

    Android HTC Desire X. When i choose an app in Astro and and press “Backup” I get an error saying “Could not write file”. Anyone know a solution?

  14. Ashish says:


  15. Priyanka says:

    hi ashish, i follow the same steps but some problem has occurred, i transfer apps from sony xperia s to samsung fit. i prepared apk file then transfer through bluetooth file transfer . the receiver mobile(samsung fit) receive file and install successfully but on opening the apps it say sorry and close to apps. is their also need to install astro and bluetooth file transfer in receiver device also or any other setting u can know and want to share….

  16. Harsh sinha says:

    Need not to this… A great soln is that dwnld App monster then launch there u will see the list of your installesd apps ,the app which whixh u want to send so click on it then click backup.. then again click that app and then share via bluetooth.

  17. ChrisH says:

    When you package the App, can you include the data that it has downloaded (e.g. documents, etc)?

  18. Felix says:

    Thanks for the fantastic guide.
    I happend to have a tablet wich cant access Google Play by default (Disgo 8100).
    What I did to get the apps was to copy the programs i liked from my Galaxy S3, copy them to a SD card and then install it on the tablet.
    Works like charm..

    Thanks again

  19. IK says:

    Hey Ashish! great job! There is this another wayout where you don’t have to go through any complication at all. There is an App manager called AndroAppLink which can transfer apps using bluetooth in a couple of taps! It only needs to be installed in the sender’s phone, so is great! it uses non of your phone memory or storage while transfering, so all in all, it’s awesome. Try it: the download site:

    Do share about it in your write up 😀 I’m sure it will be helpful to a lot more people :)

  20. Pankaj says:

    hey ashish,
    installed both the apps after reading this informational post. but there is no setting softkey in Astro..
    m using samsung galaxy S duos.

    • Mojo says:

      Swipe right to left from the home screen of Astro. Click on the application manager, then select the app from the list and click back up. That should do the trick!

  21. Raj says:

    I found a little shorter way.. Anybody can try and let me know…
    1. Create a .apk file using Astro
    2. Create a zip file of it and Send it to your friend.
    3. Ask them to use Androzip to extract and install

    Have fun

  22. happy says:

    thank u so much for this idea..

  23. The Wizard of Odd says:

    I can’t even get settings softkey to shoe up, let alone the rest.

  24. goku says:

    hahahaha to hard. easy way is whit huawei acent g300

  25. goku says:

    huawei acent g300 send apps whitaut that software,

  26. arjun says:

    Hi… im using samsung grand I wanna know how to install a game which is sent through bluetooth. .

    • Hi Arjun
      just follow these steps My files > Sd Card > Bluetooth and click on game which you want to install after that you got two more option Verify installer and package installer you have to select package installer…if you got any other pop up..then you have uncheck one option in security > unknown resource

  27. mergon says:

    Why is it when you get a Bluetooth app the whole contents of your device is open to the supplier of the app ?

  28. Guest says:

    Even more short way
    1. Get ‘BluetoothFileExplorer’ from play store
    2. Connect to other phone & option to send apps is directly available there.

    No need for backups

  29. Rosenabeth Egina says:

    hi in samsung galaxy v. it cannot sent apps from other devices -_- please help me