Android Package Kit often abbreviated as APK is generally a type of archive file, specifically in zip format packages based on the JAR file format. (dot)apk is the extension of this file. Used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of mobile phone application. Or, in layman’s term, it is the outcome or the product which comes out after processing an Android app. Just like there is an .exe for installing programs in your windows operating system or .dmg for your Mac, we have apk for android. When you install any app from the Play Store you don’t see this apk file anywhere because this is hidden from the users for security purposes. You can go on to download various apk files and install them on your mobile phone with on your own risk, but, Android won’t allow them unless you tick away the “Unknown sources” from the settings.

Why would someone want to extract apk file contents? There are many reasons, to start with you could share the app over to another mobile without even downloading or any sort of internet connectivity. Ain’t it amazing? Having a backup of your favorite apps, saving your phone memory or installing apps that aren’t any more available on the Play Store. You you liked the earlier version of any app, you could go on to install that version from your backup.

A little piece of advice before we do with the extraction of any apk file: You should not extract the apk of a paid android app. This is software piracy and generally not promoted. People can sue you if you do so. Now, extracting the apk of any installed application is not that tough as you might have thought. Without rooting your device you can easily extract the apk of any installed application on your android phone. Here are a couple of methods:

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1. Download any APK Extractor

It is very simple, just follow this link and download the apk extractor app on your android system. It is a very simple tool and easy to use. Requires no ROOT access and saves the extracted apk file automatically to your SD card. The home page of this app shows you all the installed application in your system or you can search for the required app. Just click on it and it will be automatically saved to your storage system.

You can setup backups for your APK, that to totally automatic. Surf through the settings of this app and it has lot of option. One of the coolest feature is sharing the apk directly !


2. Using an Explorer

ES File Explorer is a a very powerful and popular file managing app that lets you safely and efficiently manage your files. It is a full featured file manager, lets you run on networks also. To extract apk file form this app, install it and toss it. In three simple steps you will have your apps extracted:

a) Click APP on the home screen

b) Select the apps

c) Click Backup

Wasn’t it a cake walk? You could use other explorers also just remember they should have an option of backing up the apps. Such an app is Solid Explorer File Manager, but it doesn’t come free.

3. Using Airdroid

If you want to store the apk directly to your computer, this is the best method for you. This can actually save you a lot of work and compatible with any platform be it Linux or Mac. While the extraction is too easy, you may be confused with the connection process. Download the app and then the following series of steps will get you through:

a) Once you have downloaded the app, make a hotspot from your mobile.

b) Connect your system i.e. computer or whatever devices where you want the backup to the hotspot.

c) Go on to the home screen of this Airdroid app, you will find a address like 192.x.x.x:8888. Type this in the address bar of the browser in your system (in which you want the backup).

d) A pop up will come flash to your mobile screen, accept the connection.

e) Now you are connected to the mobile, click on the apps button on the computer screen, select the apps and download.

Airdroid will extract all the apk files and save it in a single zip file on to your computer. Wasn’t that simple? You can use Airdroid for various other purposes like wireless transfer of data from your mobile to your computer or vice-versa.

4. Simply extract

Yeah, as the name of the method suggests, it just simply extracts. This APK Downloader just takes the address of the app from google play store and extracts it for you. Simply copy the URL and paste. As this is an online tool you can either use it on your mobile or any other device with internet connection, hence this gives you flexibility. Also, reliability as it directly downloads from the Google Play Store itself. Go ahead, try it for yourself


5. How to extract APK file in PC : Using Android debug tool

This is the complex way and I suggest this method only if you have an ability in developing else do on your own risk. Download the tool from here. Once you downloaded it, extract the zip file and open up the folder in the command line. Make sure your phone is connected to your computer with USB debugging turned on. Just execute the following commands to extract:

a) adb devices, this is to check whether your devices is connected or not

b) adb shell pm list packages, this lists down all the packages name. Select whatever package name you want to extract.

c) adb shell pm path package-name, selects the package you want to extract, this will give you the full path of the package, copy it down in the next step.

d) adb pull /data/app/package-path desired/path, extracts the package to the desired specified location.

That is all and the apk file should be stored at your desired path. Go ahead and look for it.

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There are still so many methods for how to extract apk file to source code which couldn’t be covered in this article, but above methods were some of the best methods which you can rely on. It totally depends on you, how you want to go ahead. But do let us known what would your method be? the easy one or the complex way out. Share your responses in the comments below !