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Alexey Ovchinnikov
Alexey Ovchinnikov

APK to Java: A Simple and Fast Online Decompiler for Android Apps


Online Decompile APK: How to Extract and View Android App Source Code




If you are an Android user, developer, or enthusiast, you might have come across APK files at some point. APK stands for Android Package Kit, and it is the file format that Android uses to distribute and install apps. An APK file contains all the code, resources, assets, and certificates that an app needs to run on an Android device.




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But what if you want to see what's inside an APK file? What if you want to learn how an app works, modify its features, or reuse some of its code? That's where decompiling comes in. Decompiling is the process of reversing the compilation of an app and converting it back to its original source code. By decompiling an APK file, you can access the Java code, XML files, images, sounds, and other resources that make up an app.


What is an APK file and why decompile it?




APK file structure and contents




An APK file is essentially a ZIP archive that contains several files and folders. The main components of an APK file are:


  • AndroidManifest.xml: This is the file that defines the app's name, version, permissions, activities, services, receivers, providers, and other components.



  • classes.dex: This is the file that contains the compiled Java code of the app. It is converted from .java files to .dex (Dalvik Executable) format by the Android SDK.



  • resources.arsc: This is the file that contains the compiled resources of the app, such as strings, colors, dimensions, styles, themes, etc.



  • res: This is the folder that contains the uncompiled resources of the app, such as images, sounds, layouts, menus, etc.



  • assets: This is the folder that contains any additional files that the app needs to access as raw data, such as fonts, databases, etc.



  • META-INF: This is the folder that contains the certificates and signatures that verify the authenticity and integrity of the app.



  • lib: This is the folder that contains any native libraries that the app uses, such as .so (Shared Object) files.



Benefits of decompiling APK files




There are many reasons why you might want to decompile an APK file. Some of them are:


  • To learn from other developers: By decompiling an app that you admire or want to emulate, you can see how it was built, what techniques it used, what libraries it relied on, etc. You can also get inspiration for your own projects or improve your coding skills.



  • To modify or customize an app: By decompiling an app that you use or like, you can change its appearance, functionality, behavior, or language. You can also add new features, remove unwanted ones, fix bugs, or optimize performance.



  • To reuse or remix an app's code or resources: By decompiling an app that has open-source or free-to-use code or resources, you can reuse or remix them for your own purposes. You can also create new apps based on existing ones or combine different apps into one.



How to decompile APK files online using various tools</h2 JADX: A fast and user-friendly Java decompiler




One of the tools that you can use to decompile APK files online is JADX (). JADX is a Java decompiler that can convert .class and .jar files, as well as Android Dex and Apk files, to Java source code. It is an open-source tool that has a command-line and a graphical interface, as well as plugins for Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA.


Features and advantages of JADX




Some of the features and advantages of JADX are:


  • It supports modern Java features: JADX can handle Java 5 and above, including enums, annotations, generics, lambdas, and method references.



  • It produces readable and consistent code: JADX tries to generate code that is close to the original source code, with proper indentation, comments, and variable names. It also simplifies the code by removing unnecessary constructs, such as synthetic classes, bridge methods, and exception handlers.



  • It has Android support: JADX can decompile Android apps and libraries, as well as decode Android resources, such as XML files, images, and manifests. It can also show the app's structure and dependencies in a tree view.



How to use JADX online




To use JADX online, you can follow these steps:


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  • Go to [Java decompiler online](^1^) and select Jadx decompiler for Android from the drop-down menu.



  • Upload your APK file by clicking on the Browse button or dragging and dropping it into the box.



  • Wait for the decompilation process to finish. You will see a progress bar and a status message.



  • Download or view the decompiled code by clicking on the Download button or the Show Code button. You can also browse the code online by expanding the folders and files in the tree view.



APKTool: A powerful tool to extract and decode resources




Another tool that you can use to decompile APK files online is APKTool (). APKTool is a tool that can extract and decode resources from an APK file, such as XML files, images, sounds, etc. It can also repackage the modified resources back into an APK file. It is an open-source tool that has a command-line interface and a wrapper script for Windows.


Features and advantages of APKTool




Some of the features and advantages of APKTool are:


  • It can decode almost any resource: APKTool can decode resources that are normally not accessible or editable, such as binary XML files, 9-patch images, custom fonts, etc. It can also handle obfuscated or encrypted resources.



  • It can rebuild the APK file: APKTool can repackage the modified resources back into an APK file, with or without signing it. It can also handle changes in the manifest file, such as permissions, activities, services, etc.



  • It can work with multiple APK files: APKTool can work with multiple APK files at once, such as framework files, library files, or split APK files. It can also handle different versions of Android SDKs.



How to use APKTool online




To use APKTool online, you can follow these steps:


  • Go to [Apktool - decode apk ONLINE with open-source APKTOOL](^4^).



  • Select Apktool - decoding assets.



  • Select your APK file. You will see a list of available resources in the APK file.



  • Select the resources you want to decode. You can select all or some of them by checking or unchecking the boxes.



  • Select whether you want to rebuild the APK file. You can choose to rebuild it with or without signing it.



  • Select whether you want to download or view the decoded resources. You can choose to download them as a ZIP file or view them online in a text editor.



UnboxAPK: A simple and convenient APK decompilerUnboxAPK: A simple and convenient APK decompiler




A third tool that you can use to decompile APK files online is UnboxAPK (). UnboxAPK is a web-based APK decompiler that can extract and view the source code and resources of an APK file. It is a free and easy-to-use tool that does not require any installation or registration.


Features and advantages of UnboxAPK




Some of the features and advantages of UnboxAPK are:


  • It supports multiple formats: UnboxAPK can decompile APK files, as well as JAR, ZIP, and DEX files. It can also convert DEX files to JAR files and vice versa.



  • It provides a clear and interactive interface: UnboxAPK displays the decompiled code and resources in a neat and organized way, with syntax highlighting, line numbers, and collapsible sections. It also allows you to search, copy, download, or share the code and resources.



  • It offers various options and settings: UnboxAPK lets you choose the output format of the decompiled code, such as Java, Smali, or Jasmin. It also lets you enable or disable features such as comments, debug info, line numbers, etc.



How to use UnboxAPK online




To use UnboxAPK online, you can follow these steps:


  • Go to [APK Decompiler UnbokAPK Decompiler - UnboxAPK](^1^).



  • Select your APK file by clicking on the Choose File button or dragging and dropping it into the box.



  • Select the output format of the decompiled code from the drop-down menu. You can choose between Java, Smali, or Jasmin.



  • Select the options and settings that you want to apply to the decompiled code. You can check or uncheck the boxes for comments, debug info, line numbers, etc.



  • Click on the Decompile button to start the decompilation process. You will see a progress bar and a status message.



  • View or download the decompiled code and resources by clicking on the tabs and folders in the interface. You can also search, copy, download, or share the code and resources using the buttons on the top right corner.



Conclusion and FAQsIn this article, we have learned what an APK file is, why decompiling it can be useful, and how to decompile it online using various tools. We have seen that decompiling an APK file can help us to learn from other developers, modify or customize an app, or reuse or remix an app's code or resources. We have also explored three online tools that can decompile APK files: JADX, APKTool, and UnboxAPK. Each of these tools has its own features and advantages, and we have shown how to use them step by step.


We hope that this article has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Here are some FAQs that might answer some of your queries:


FAQs




  • Is decompiling an APK file legal?



Decompiling an APK file is not illegal in itself, but it may violate the terms and conditions of the app's developer or the license of the app's code or resources. Therefore, you should always check the app's license and permissions before decompiling it, and respect the intellectual property rights of the original author. You should also use the decompiled code or resources for educational or personal purposes only, and not for commercial or malicious purposes.


  • Can I decompile any APK file?



Most APK files can be decompiled using the tools mentioned in this article, but some APK files may be protected or obfuscated by the developer to prevent or hinder decompilation. In such cases, you may not be able to decompile the APK file completely or correctly, or you may encounter errors or warnings during the process. You may need to use more advanced tools or techniques to decompile such APK files.


  • Can I run the decompiled code on my device?



Depending on the tool and the settings that you use, you may be able to rebuild the decompiled code into a new APK file that you can install and run on your device. However, this may not always work, as some apps may require additional steps or modifications to run properly. For example, some apps may need to be signed with a specific certificate, some apps may rely on external libraries or services, some apps may check for integrity or authenticity, etc. Therefore, you should always test the rebuilt APK file before running it on your device.


  • How can I improve the quality of the decompiled code?



The quality of the decompiled code depends on several factors, such as the tool that you use, the output format that you choose, the options and settings that you apply, and the original code of the app. Some tools may produce more readable and consistent code than others, some output formats may preserve more information and structure than others, some options and settings may enhance or simplify the code better than others, and some apps may have more clear and organized code than others. Therefore, you should experiment with different tools, formats, options, and settings to find the best combination for your needs. You can also use other tools or editors to further improve the decompiled code.


  • Where can I find more online tools to decompile APK files?



There are many other online tools that can decompile APK files besides the ones mentioned in this article. Some of them are:


  • [Online APK Decompiler]: A web-based tool that can decompile APK files to Java source code using various decompilers.



  • [APK Easy Tool]: A web-based tool that can extract and decode resources from an APK file using various methods.



  • [APK Studio]: A web-based tool that can edit and modify an APK file using various features.





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