Decompile Android Apps

An essential tool when it comes to modifying Android files is Apktool. This tool, originally created by Brut.all and now taken over by iBotPeaches, is a tool for reengineering 3rd party, closed, binary Android apps. It can decode resources to nearly original form and rebuild them after making some modifications; it makes possible to debug smali code step by step. Also it makes working with app easier because of project-like files structure and automation of some repetitive tasks like building apk (Quoted from Brut.all). Put simply, it allows you to decompile an Android app and rebuild it. This tutorial will instruct you on how to use the tool, and my other tutorials will show you how to use this tool for certain other mods.

  1. Download the Apktool ZIP file here (updated 18/06/13).
  2. Extract to the root of your hard drive so that you’ll have the extracted folder at C:\apktool
  3. Pull framework-res.apk from the rom you’re working on and copy it to C:\apktool
  4. Open a command prompt and navigate to C:apktool. Type : cd C:\apktool
  5. Now you will need to install the framework-res for apktool to work. This only needs to be done once unless you are working on a different rom. Type : java -jar apktool.jar if framework-res.apk
  6. We will now decompile the framework-res.apk. Type : java -jar apktool.jar d framework-res.apk (This may take over a minute. Be patient.)
  7. The process is the same to decompile any other apk. Just put the apk in C:apktool and enter the above command replacing framework-res.apk with the name of the apk you want to decompile.
  8. Now you should make any changes to the decompiled apks. You can find the decompiled resources in the apktool folder in a folder with the apk name (Example : A decompiled SystemUI.apk will create a SystemUI folder in C:apktool)
  9. It is now time to rebuild the apk. Once you have made the necessary changes to the decompiled apk, rebuild by entering : java -jar apktool.jar b framework-res . This might take a while so wait for the program to finish rebuilding.  As with decompiling, the process is the same for other apks. Just replace framework-res with the name of the apk you want to build. (Note : This time it is important to not include .apk after the name of the apk)
  10. The new built apk will be in : C:\apktool[decompiled apk name]\dist.

The new .apk found in the dist folder should reflect on any changes done once the apk is decompiled. This allows you to make a number of changes you coulndt make if the apk was not decompiled. Just remember to change the apks if you are working in a different rom and you should have no problems.

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Posted on September 23, 2012 in Tutorials

  • Uffa

    Download the Apktool ZIP file here > link not working…

    • modstorm

      Fixed the link. Sorry for that

  • Lucas Zhou

    doesn’t work. command prompt doesn’t recognize java

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