Android application package
|Internet media type||
|Type of format||Package format|
|Container for||mobile apps|
|Extended from||JAR and ZIP|
APK files are analogous to other software packages such as APPX in Microsoft Windows or a Debian package in Debian-based operating systems like Ubuntu. To make an APK file, a program for Android is first compiled, and then all of its parts are packaged into one container file. An APK file contains all of a program's code (such as .dex files), resources, assets, certificates, and manifest file. As is the case with many file formats, APK files can have any name needed, provided that the file name ends in the file extension ".apk".
APK files are a type of archive file, specifically in zip format-type packages, based on the JAR file format, with
.apk as the filename extension. The MIME type associated with APK files is
APK files can be installed on Android-powered devices just like installing software on a PC. When a user downloads and installs an Android application, from either an official source (such as the Google Play Store), or from an unofficial site, they are installing an APK file on to their device. A user or developer can also install an APK file directly to a device (that is, not via download from the network) from a desktop computer, using a communication program such as adb, or from within a file manager app in a process known as sideloading. The installation of APK files downloaded outside the Google Play is disabled by default. Users can install unknown APK files by enabling "Unknown sources" from "Accounts and Security" in Settings.
An APK file is an archive that usually contains the following files and directories:
Signature-Version: 1.0 Created-By: 1.0 (Android) SHA1-Digest-Manifest: wxqnEAI0UA5nO5QJ8CGMwjkGGWE= ... Name: res/layout/exchange_component_back_bottom.xml SHA1-Digest: eACjMjESj7Zkf0cBFTZ0nqWrt7w= Name: res/drawable-hdpi/icon.png SHA1-Digest: DGEqylP8W0n0iV/ZzBx3MW0WGCA=
lib: the directory containing the compiled code that is specific to a software layer of a processor, the directory is split into more directories within it:
armeabi: compiled code for all ARM based processors only
armeabi-v7a: compiled code for all ARMv7 and above based processors only
arm64-v8a: compiled code for all ARMv8 arm64 and above based processors only
x86: compiled code for x86 processors only
x86_64: compiled code for x86 64 processors only
mips: compiled code for MIPS processors only
res: the directory containing resources not compiled into resources.arsc (see below).
assets: a directory containing applications assets, which can be retrieved by
AndroidManifest.xml: An additional Android manifest file, describing the name, version, access rights, referenced library files for the application. This file may be in Android binary XML that can be converted into human-readable plaintext XML with tools such as AXMLPrinter2, apktool, or Androguard.
classes.dex: The classes compiled in the dex file format understandable by the Dalvik virtual machine and by the Android Runtime.
resources.arsc: a file containing precompiled resources, such as binary XML for example.
- Android Runtime
- Android software development
- Dalvik (software)
- .ipa (file extension)
- .deb (file format)
- "Inside the Android Application Framework" (video). Google Sites. Google. 2008.
- Hatem Ben Yacoub (20 April 2018). "Tips: How to install apk files on Android Emulator". Open Handset Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008.
- "The Structure of Android Package (APK) Files". OPhone SDN. OPhone Software Developer Network. 17 November 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2011.
- chibucks (28 May 2010). "Learn to Fish: General Structure of an APK". SDX-Developers Forum. Simple Machines Forum. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012.
- "Developer description of MIME type for .apk". Androidguys.com. 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "What is an APK File and How to Install it?". Android Picks.
- "ABI Management | Android Developers". developer.android.com. Retrieved 16 June 2018.