What is an APK File?
An APK file (Android Package) is the file packaging format used for Android Apps that you install on your smartphone for testing purposes. The testing phase of app development is very important, this is where you can see how your app looks and functions on a cell phone, this is what the APK file is used for. Please note that the APK file cannot be uploaded to the Google Play Store, AAB is Google’s new app publishing format, and this is what you will need to send to the Google Play Store in order to publish your app.
This guide will give you easy to follow, step by step instructions for how to create an APK file.
How to create an APK for Android?
Android developers can us Android Studio to make a new app. Here is an article that teaches how to use Android Studio to create and then run your app for the purpose of testing it and debugging it.
Android Studio is a good solution for those who know how to code, however, if you do not know how to code you can still create and test an app. This is done by making an APK file using the APK generator. Creating an APK file is simple, it doesn’t involve complex processes, and most importantly, you don’t have to know how to code in order to do it. To create an app using the APK generator you simply choose a template, and then follow the instructions below. Let's look at how the AppsGeyser apk generator works:
- Choose an app template on appsgeyser.com
- Follow the proceeding instructions: upload the app content into the form fields. You can add texts, images, videos, sounds, links, etc.
- Name the APK file
- Choose an icon
- Create your app
- Download the APK file. After creating your app, you will be redirected to your dashboard. At the top bar of your dashboard, you will see a button with the label "Download APK." Click to download your APK file!
After you finish creating your app there is one more very important step that must be performed before sending your app to the Google Play Store, and that is to test your app on a real Android device. In order to do this, you must manually install the app onto your android phone, this is where the APK files come into play. The APK files are saved as a ZIP file, and is then downloaded directly to your Android phone. After this, opening the app is easy, you simply open it as you would any other file. Once the app is open on your phone you will test to see if the push notifications are working, the app pages load properly and look good, and all other settings are working correctly.
However, starting in August of 2021 the Google Play Store no longer accepts APK files. All new apps must be uploaded using the Android App Bundle or AAB format. The Google Play Store explained that the AAB format is a more versatile batch format, that allows for a reduced volume of applications that can be adapted for different devises. The AAB format first appeared in 2018, with the idea that Android devices have various hardware and language combinations that an app needs to support, and sending different code to each individual device is a waste of space.
Google uses something called app bundle to create optimized APKs, so what does this mean? The app bundle optimizes the code for each individual device that downloads the app, meaning that only the code and resources needed for the device downloading the app is included into the APK. So, users are able to get smaller optimized downloads.
The following is a list of benefits of the Android App Bundle over APK when using the Google Play Store
- Smaller Download Size
- On Demand App features
- Asset-only modules
We have covered a lot in this article, so let’s summarize. Android App bundle is a publishing format, whereas APK is a packaging format, and will be installed on the mobile device when the app is downloaded from the Google Play Store. Google uses the app bundle to generate and serve optimized APKs, these APKs are custom made for each individuals device at the time of download. Only the code and resources that are required to run the app on that particular device are included into the optimized APK. Therefore, app users benefit by receiving a smaller and more optimized app download.
Kylie Wilson is a writer and Mobile Application Tester at AppsGeyser. Kylie is fond of writing articles about the latest IT techniques and app making tools.
She also contributes in continually improving AppsGeyser’s processes.