April 21, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
If you’ve ever modified precompiled applications, you have undoubtedly spent time with XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all‘s APKTool or one of its variants. APKTool works quite well, which is why after so many years, people still use it. However, using APKTool then requires you to use a separate app such as Notepad++ to edit the decompiled binaries. Once that’s done, you then have to go back to APKTool to recompile the modified app.
In order to streamline things significantly, XDA Forum Member vaibhavpandeylive created APK Studio. Perhaps the best way to classify APK Studio would be to call it an IDE for .smali files, complete with syntax highlighting. But rather than simply allow you to edit and visualize the code, APK Studio also is able to decompile and recompile binaries from within the utility itself. Thus, it leads to a much more streamlined APK editing process, since now you only need one tool to do everything.
While ideally source-built development and app modification is the way to go, there are many times in which an app’s source code is not available, but you still wish to make a few tweaks for personal use. For situations like these, APK Studio will certainly come in handy. Head over to the utility thread to give it a shot. And if you think you can improve upon the app, download the app’s source code and have a go at it.
March 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that building a custom ROM from source is much preferred to starting from a manufacturer-provided firmware and then adding on a few modifications. Building from source allows users much more freedom to merge commits and change practically anything they’d like. However, there are times when some users would prefer to start from stock firmware in order to keep OEM-specific functionality. Sony Xperia devices are no different, as for the most part one must choose between OEM-specific functionality and source-built goodness.
Those who have taken to modifying OEM-provided ROMs on Sony Xperia devices may have noticed a few issues recently. Ever since the latest round of official firmware updates, it’s been a bit difficult to modify the framework-res.apk file. While the decompile, modify, and recompile process goes as planned, users generally face a bootloop when using the newly recompiled file.
Luckily, XDA Recognized Themer BDFreak released Advanced APKTool. This utility not only solves the framework-res.apk issue on the latest round of Xperia updates, but also incorporates a bit of automation and user friendliness into XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all‘s APKTool. It can also automatically decompile, recompile, sign, and zipalign APKs and JARs—and all this is done from the comfort of an easy and menu-driven interface.
To get started, simply head over to the utility thread, and give the latest version a whirl.
January 16, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
If you ever thought of modding an application, you’ve undoubtedly heard about smali and baksmali. These two tools can convert an APK into editable files, which can then be converted into more readable Java files by a tool such as the one we will cover today. Decompiling can be done with binary files only. But for your own comfort, some kind of kitchen is recommended.
In the past, we’ve talked about many tools able perform various operations with precompiled applications. One such tool was created by XDA Senior Member ricky310711, author of Android Kitchen and multi-tool for Nexus 5. With Quick Mod Tool 2.0, you can easily decompile, compile, and sign an application. But those are just a small portion of what you can do with this tool. You can work on classes, select compression levels to save space, and work with JAR files. At the moment, Quick Mod Tool works only with Windows operating system. The tool is very lightweight, and takes just 4 MB of disk space.
More information about this tool and a download link can be found in the original thread. If you are planning to do some theming or modify an application, you should definitely go there and give Quick Mod Tool 2.0 a shot.
January 11, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
In the past few weeks, we’ve talked about several tools to decompile application and convert the output Java code. These tools, however, are for Windows and Linux PCs, and not Android devices. Naturally, these tools are very useful if you want to modify an application for your personal use or learn how to improve your own project.
Recently, yet another tool popped up to accomplish this task, but it has a unique twist. Show Java written by XDA Senior Member niranjan94 can decompile an application and show the code directly on your Android device. It’s a perfect solution for when curiosity takes hold, and you don’t have access to your PC.
The application uses two external tools: Class File Reader and dex2jar to get the code. The output is presented in an elegant, syntaxed form. Code is then stored on the SD Card, so you can even analyze it on your PC.
The application is still in a very early stage, which is described as Alpha by developer. There are still some bugs such as a slow decompilation process and lack of support for system applications. However, using the app is very simple. Just tap on one of installed apps and wait for result. Your device does not have to be rooted or have any additional apps installed.
You can learn more about this project and grab the newest APK by visiting the application thread.
September 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re a fan of the notification toggles found in XDA Senior Member lidroid‘s series of ROMs for various Samsung devices, you may be hesitant to switch to a different ROM or even a different device. After all, as we discussed earlier, notification toggles are quite useful, and having more of them is never a bad thing. Thankfully, XDA Senior Member Adi Aisiteru Reborn has created a guide showing you how to port the toggles over to various non-Samsung Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.1 Jelly Bean ROM.
The guide first instructions you to decompile SystemUI.apk, and then it walks you through the values you will need to modify. Naturally, you need to know how to decompile and recompile APK files, but there’s a guide for that. You will also need some patience and a little bit of experience, as the guide doesn’t cover all of the basics involved in the process. However, if you’ve decompiled an APK and made some modifications before, you should be fine.
In addition to the 21 lidroid toggles, Adi Aisiteru Reborn has also added additional toggles made by Recognized Themer serajr.
we are going to port 21 Lidroid toggles :
( -Lock screen/screen-off action, -Reboot action, -Shutdown action, -Airplane mode, -Bluetoth, -Brightness, -GPS, -Flashlight, -Lockscreen, -MobileData, -Orientation, -ScreenTimeOut, -Sound, -Sync, -Wi-fi, -Wi-fi Hotspot, Battery info, Stay awake, USB Connection mode, USB Debugging, Network mode )
If you fancy creating and applying themes for your applications, you no doubt have become well acquainted with APKTool. The application, originally created by XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all has become a staple in application modification on Android. It enables the modification of app resources by allowing users to easily decompile and recompile applications.
We’ve recently featured a few tools aimed at streamlining the APKTool experience, as well as a few guides on the subject. However, sometimes a script with some optimized use-cases can useful as well. This is where XDA Senior Member dfkt_ and his script BatchAPKTool come in.
BatchAPKTool isn’t intended to take care of every need for every user. Rather, it’s intended to perform a limited subset of tasks extremely efficiently. These tasks include decompiling the application resources into a dedicated subfolder, deleting all files other than image resources, optimizing the images, compiling the NinePatch PNGs, rebooting to recovery, and performing various tasks such as pushing the newly themed app.
While BatchAPKTool isn’t a general purpose script geared at satisfying everyone’s needs, it is useful for those looking to perform certain types of application theming more efficiently. Head over to the original thread to get started.
A couple of months ago, we wrote about a tool that allows users to easily decompile and recompile APKs. Similar in functionality to the legendary APKTool (thread) by XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all, Android APKTool by XDA Forum Member Flextrick made the process extremely user friendly by adding a simple and easy-to-use GUI.
In the time since our last posting, Flextrick’s utility has been given a major overhaul in its upgrade to version 2. As before, it runs on Windows computers with Java and .Net framework installed. A temporary quirk, however, is that only the Windows 8 version of the app has been updated to version 2. The Windows 7 version is still on 1.2. Luckily, the Windows 8 version runs just fine on Windows 7, with the exception of a somewhat broken layout.
According to the developer, version 2 lands with a complete code rework, along with a folder structure for a better overview. Furthermore, modified files will appear in their own folder, and buttons were added to select between JAR and APK files. Finally, some additional UI changes were made, as well as other miscellaneous changes across the board.
If you’re looking to easily (and graphically) modify your APKs, head over to the original thread to get started.
June 23, 2013 By: Samantha
Using a command line interface is a daunting task for many novice developers and themers. So its unfortunate that one of the most popular tools for modding and theming, APKtool, requires such input. This is why we’ve featured some noteworthy guides on how to use APKtool for its many purposes, such as decompiling and recompiling APKs. However, if you are looking for a simpler, more efficient way to decompile and recompile APKs without command line, you may want to check out Android Apktool.
Developed by XDA Senior Member Flextrick, Android Apktool is a free program requiring Java that performs the simple function of decompiling and recompiling your APKs. It allows you to install your framework, decompile your APK of choice, and then recompile it with only a couple of clicks, streamlining and alleviating the process normally performed by APKtool. You’ll quickly be on your way after setting up the minimalist development environment outlined in the brief tutorial provided, as the rest of the process is quite self-explanatory. There’s also a log integrated into the tool that displays a history of activities convenient for the diagnosis of any errors that you may come across.
Coming in at a mere 2.81 MB, Android Apktool is certainly worth considering for decompiling and recompiling APKs. So if this has you interested, head over to the original thread for more information and download.
A few days ago, we covered a tool aimed at making it easier to use Baksmali/Smali, a disassembler/assembler for the Dex files used by the Dalvik Virtual Machine in Android. Another incredibly useful tool to have in your modification arsenal is APKTool, which was originally developed by XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all and is continued to this day by XDA Senior Member iBotPeaches.
While APKTool is incredibly powerful, it can also be intimidating to new themers and modders. Thanks to a guide created by XDA Recognized Contributor and Themer PulseDroid, though, this should no longer present much of an issue.
The introductory-level guide covers what files you need, your development environment, and how to actually use the tool to decompile and recompile. This is accomplished in four easy steps: installing framework, decompiling (and applying your modifications), recompiling, and inserting the new contents into the old APK to retain the old signature.
The guide steps are accompanied by copious screenshots and plenty of explanation. All in all, this incredibly easy-to-follow guide will get you on your way, regardless of how little experience you may have at the start.
Last month, we saw a new tool that made it painless to edit the contents of Classes.dex. If you were drawn in by that prospect but couldn’t quite get the pieces to work, I think you’ll appreciate following the example that XDA Recognized Themer/Contributor Rizal Lovins put together. He takes one step back to look at the bigger picture, giving a start-to-finish walkthrough for decompiling, editing, recompiling, and signing an APK file. The necessary tools are pretty much the same (Windows, Java, Android SDK, Apktool, and a text editor) so that you may pick up where you left off with your smali and Baksmali editing experiments.
To use Apktool to decompile an APK, you need to also have the support packages it uses (ie: framework-res.apk). After issuing a few commands, Apktool will spit out the files hidden within and it’s time to start editing. Rizal then goes on to show how to package everything back up and resign the edited app. Check out the original thread for full details.
The biggest benefit of publishing guides like this one is that the community can learn and improve upon them. XDA Recognized Themer Ibanez7 did just that. His thread, which mentions Rizal’s work as a reference, demonstrates how to use the same techniques to change the font color and edit the activity title bar of an app.