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Zinovy Khokhlov
Zinovy Khokhlov

How Apktool 1 Can Help You Modify and Debug Android APK Files


Apktool 1: A Tool for Reverse Engineering Android Apps




If you are an Android developer, hacker, or enthusiast, you might have wondered how some apps work under the hood. You might have wanted to modify some features, add some functionality, or analyze some code. But how can you do that if the app is closed-source and binary-only?


That's where Apktool 1 comes in handy. Apktool 1 is a tool for reverse engineering Android apps. It can decode resources to nearly original form and rebuild them after making some modifications. It also makes possible to debug smali code step by step.




apktool 1


Download File: https://tinurli.com/2urnoz



In this article, we will explain what Apktool 1 is, how to install it, how to use it, and what are its benefits and limitations.


What is Apktool 1 and what can it do?




Apktool 1 is a tool for reverse engineering Android apps. It is based on the original Apktool project by Brut.all, but it has been updated and improved by iBotPeaches and other contributors.


Apktool 1 can do the following things:


  • Disassemble resources to nearly original form, including resources.arsc, classes.dex, 9.png and XMLs.



  • Rebuild decoded resources back to binary APK/JAR.



  • Organize and handle APKs that depend on framework resources.



  • Smali debugging: Debug smali code step by step. Also baksmali/smali patches.



  • Help with repetitive tasks.



Apktool 1 is not intended for piracy and other non-legal uses. It could be used for localizing, adding some features or support for custom platforms, analyzing applications and much more.


How to install Apktool 1 on different platforms




Apktool 1 is a Java-based application, so you need to have Java installed on your system. You can download Java from [here](https://www.java.com/en/download/).


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You also need to download the latest version of Apktool 1 from [here](https://github.com/iBotPeaches/Apktool/releases). You can choose between the Windows wrapper script (apktool.bat), the Linux wrapper script (apktool), or the jar file (apktool.jar).


Windows




If you are using Windows, you can follow these steps to install Apktool 1:


  • Download the Windows wrapper script (apktool.bat) and the jar file (apktool.jar) from [here](https://github.com/iBotPeaches/Apktool/releases).



  • Put both files in the same folder (e.g. C:\Apktool).



  • Add that folder to your PATH environment variable.



  • To test if Apktool 1 is installed correctly, open a command prompt and type apktool. You should see something like this:



C:\Users\user>apktool Apktool v2.6.0 - a tool for reengineering Android apk files with smali v2.6.0 and baksmali v2.6.0 usage: apktool [-advance] <command> [<arg>...] commands: d[ecode] [options] <file [assistant](#continue) >apk>output folder>] - Decode apk/jar file (use -r to keep resources). b[uild] [options] <file >[>output file>] - Build apk/jar file from the decoded folder. ifinstall-framework <framework >[>tag>] - Install framework file to your device. p[ublicize-resources] <file >[>output file>] - Publicize resources of the apk. empty-framework-dir [<tag>] - Remove all installed framework files. list-frameworks - List installed framework files. decode-resources [<tag>] - Decode the resources of the apk. version - Displays the version of apktool


  • If you see an error message, make sure you have Java installed and the PATH variable set correctly.



Linux




If you are using Linux, you can follow these steps to install Apktool 1:


  • Download the Linux wrapper script (apktool) and the jar file (apktool.jar) from [here](https://github.com/iBotPeaches/Apktool/releases).



  • Put both files in the same folder (e.g. /usr/local/bin).



  • Make sure both files are executable by running chmod +x apktool and chmod +x apktool.jar.



  • To test if Apktool 1 is installed correctly, open a terminal and type apktool. You should see something like this:



user@linux:$ apktool Apktool v2.6.0 - a tool for reengineering Android apk files with smali v2.6.0 and baksmali v2.6.0 usage: apktool [-advance] <command> [<arg>...] commands: d[ecode] [options] <file >apk>output folder>] - Decode apk/jar file (use -r to keep resources). b[uild] [options] <file >[>output file>] - Build apk/jar file from the decoded folder. ifinstall-framework <framework >[>tag>] - Install framework file to your device. p[ublicize-resources] <file >[>output file>] - Publicize resources of the apk. empty-framework-dir [<tag>] - Remove all installed framework files. list-frameworks - List installed framework files. decode-resources [<tag>] - Decode the resources of the apk. version - Displays the version of apktool


  • If you see an error message, make sure you have Java installed and the PATH variable set correctly.



Mac OS




If you are using Mac OS, you can follow these steps to install Apktool 1:


  • Download the jar file (apktool.jar) from [here](https://github.com/iBotPeaches/Apktool/releases).



  • Put the jar file in a folder of your choice (e.g. /Users/user/Apktool).



  • Create an alias for Apktool 1 by adding this line to your /.bash_profile or /.zshrc file:



alias apktool='java -jar /Users/user/Apktool/apktool.jar'


  • Reload your shell by running source /.bash_profile or source /.zshrc.



  • To test if Apktool 1 is installed correctly, open a terminal and type apktool. You should see something like this:



user@mac:$ apktool Apktool v2.6.0 - a tool for reengineering Android apk files with smali v2.6.0 and baksmali v2.6.0 usage: apktool [-advance] <command> [<arg>...] commands: d[ecode] [options] < >file >apk>output folder>] - Decode apk/jar file (use -r to keep resources). b[uild] [options] <file >[>output file>] - Build apk/jar file from the decoded folder. ifinstall-framework <framework >[>tag>] - Install framework file to your device. p[ublicize-resources] <file >[>output file>] - Publicize resources of the apk. empty-framework-dir [<tag>] - Remove all installed framework files. list-frameworks - List installed framework files. decode-resources [<tag>] - Decode the resources of the apk. version - Displays the version of apktool


  • If you see an error message, make sure you have Java installed and the alias set correctly.



How to use Apktool 1 to decode and rebuild APK files




Apktool 1 can decode and rebuild APK files, which are the packages that contain Android apps. By decoding an APK file, you can access its resources, such as images, sounds, layouts, and smali code. Smali code is a human-readable form of Dalvik bytecode, which is the executable code that runs on Android devices. By rebuilding an APK file, you can apply your modifications and create a new app.


To use Apktool 1 to decode and rebuild APK files, you need to follow these steps:


Decoding an APK file




  • Find an APK file that you want to decode. You can download it from the Google Play Store, extract it from your device, or find it online.



  • Copy the APK file to a folder of your choice (e.g. /Users/user/Apktool/input).



  • Open a terminal and navigate to that folder.



  • Type apktool d <apk-file-name> and press enter. For example, if the APK file is called com.example.app.apk, type apktool d com.example.app.apk.



  • Wait for Apktool 1 to finish decoding the APK file. You should see something like this:



I: Using Apktool 2.6.0 on com.example.app.apk I: Loading resource table... I: Decoding AndroidManifest.xml with resources... I: Loading resource table from file: /Users/user/Library/apktool/framework/1.apk I: Regular manifest package... I: Decoding file-resources... I: Decoding values */* XMLs... I: Baksmaling classes.dex... I: Copying assets and libs... I: Copying unknown files... I: Copying original files...


  • You should now see a new folder with the same name as the APK file (e.g. com.example.app) in your input folder. This folder contains the decoded resources of the app, such as res (images, sounds, layouts), smali (smali code), AndroidManifest.xml (app manifest), etc.



Rebuilding an APK file




  • Make any changes you want to the decoded resources of the app. For example, you can edit the smali code, change the images, modify the manifest, etc.



  • Open a terminal and navigate to the input folder.



  • Type apktool b <folder-name> and press enter. For example, if the folder is called com.example.app, type apktool b com.example.app.



  • Wait for Apktool 1 to finish rebuilding the APK file. You should see something like this:



I: Using Apktool 2.6.0 I: Checking whether sources has changed... I: Smaling smali folder into classes.dex... I: Checking whether resources has changed... I: Building resources... I: Building apk file... I: Copying unknown files/dir...


  • You should now see a new file called <folder-name>.apk in your input folder (e.g. com.example.app.apk). This is the rebuilt APK file with your modifications.



  • If you want to install the rebuilt APK file on your device, you need to sign it first. You can use tools like [jarsigner](https://docs.oracle.com/en/java/javase/11/tools/jarsigner.html) or [apksigner](https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/apksigner) to do that - You can also use tools like [Zipalign](https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/zipalign) to optimize the APK file for faster loading and less memory usage. - After signing and aligning the APK file, you can transfer it to your device and install it. You might need to enable the option to install apps from unknown sources in your device settings.



How to use Apktool 1 to debug smali code step by step




Apktool 1 can also help you debug smali code step by step. Smali code is a human-readable form of Dalvik bytecode, which is the executable code that runs on Android devices. By debugging smali code, you can understand how the app works, find bugs, or inject your own code.


To use Apktool 1 to debug smali code step by step, you need to follow these steps:


Setting up a smali debugger




  • Download and install [Android Studio](https://developer.android.com/studio), which is the official IDE for Android development.



  • Download and install [Smalidea](https://github.com/JesusFreke/smali/wiki/smalidea), which is a plugin for Android Studio that allows you to debug smali code.



  • Open Android Studio and create a new project with any name and package name.



  • Copy the decoded resources of the app you want to debug (e.g. com.example.app) to the src/main folder of your project.



  • Open the build.gradle file of your project and add these lines:



apply plugin: 'smalidea' smalidea dexPath = 'src/main/classes.dex'


  • Sync your project with Gradle files.



  • Create a new run configuration by clicking on the Run menu and selecting Edit Configurations.



  • Click on the + button and select Smalidea.



  • Name your configuration and select the module of your project.



  • Click OK to save your configuration.



Debugging smali code with breakpoints and variables




  • Open the smali file that you want to debug in Android Studio. You can find it in the src/main/smali folder of your project.



  • Set a breakpoint on a line of code that you want to inspect by clicking on the left margin of the editor.



  • Click on the Debug button on the toolbar and select your configuration.



  • Wait for Android Studio to launch an emulator or connect to a device and install your project as an app.



  • When the app reaches the breakpoint, Android Studio will pause the execution and show you the Debug window.



  • In the Debug window, you can see the values of the variables, registers, and fields in the Variables tab. You can also evaluate expressions, watch variables, or modify values in the Evaluate Expression tab.



  • You can use the buttons on the toolbar to resume, pause, stop, step over, step into, or step out of the code execution.



  • You can also set conditional breakpoints, log breakpoints, or exception breakpoints by right-clicking on a breakpoint and selecting Properties.



What are the benefits and limitations of Apktool 1?




Apktool 1 is a powerful tool for reverse engineering Android apps, but it also has some benefits and limitations that you should be aware of.


Benefits of Apktool 1




  • It can decode resources to nearly original form, including resources.arsc, classes.dex, 9.png and XMLs. This allows you to access and modify almost any aspect of an app.



  • It can rebuild decoded resources back to binary APK/JAR. This allows you to create a new app with your changes applied.



  • It can organize and handle APKs that depend on framework resources. This allows you to work with system apps or apps that use custom frameworks.



  • It can debug smali code step by step. This allows you to understand how an app works, find bugs, or inject your own code.



  • It can help with repetitive tasks. This allows you to automate some processes or tasks that you do frequently.



Limitations of Apktool 1




  • It cannot decode obfuscated or encrypted code or resources. This means that some apps might be protected from reverse engineering by using techniques like ProGuard, DexGuard, or encryption algorithms.



  • It cannot sign or align APK files. This means that you need to use other tools like jarsigner or apksigner to sign and align the rebuilt APK files before installing them on your device.



  • It cannot run or test the app on your device. This means that you need to use other tools like adb or Android Studio to run or test the app on your device.



  • It cannot guarantee that the rebuilt APK file will work as expected. This means that some apps might not work properly or crash after being modified by Apktool 1.



Conclusion




Apktool 1 is a tool for reverse engineering Android apps. It can decode resources to nearly original form and rebuild them after making some modifications. It also makes possible to debug smali code step by step. Apktool 1 has many benefits, but it also has some limitations that you should be aware of.


If you are interested in learning more about Apktool 1, you can visit its [official website](https://ibotpeaches.github.io/Apktool/) or [GitHub repository](https://github.com/iBotPeaches/Apktool). You can also find some tutorials, guides, and examples online.


We hope this article has helped you understand what Apktool 1 is and how to use it. Happy hacking!


FAQs




  • What is the difference between Apktool and Apktool 1?



Apktool is the original project by Brut.all, which has not been updated since 2015. Apktool 1 is a fork of Apktool by iBotPeaches and other contributors, which has been updated and improved with new features and bug fixes.


  • Can I use Apktool 1 for legal purposes?



Yes, you can use Apktool 1 for legal purposes, such as localizing, adding some features or support for custom platforms, analyzing applications and much more. However, you should respect the intellectual property rights of the app developers and not use Apktool 1 for piracy and other non-legal uses.


  • How can I learn smali code?



Smali code is a human-readable form of Dalvik bytecode, which is the executable code that runs on Android devices. To learn smali code, you need to have some basic knowledge of Java and Android development. You can also refer to the [official documentation](https://github.com/JesusFreke/smali/wiki) or some online tutorials and guides.


  • What are some alternatives to Apktool 1?



Some alternatives to Apktool 1 are:


  • [JADX](https://github.com/skylot/jadx) - A tool for decompiling Android apps to Java source code.



  • [Bytecode Viewer](https://bytecodeviewer.com/) - A tool for viewing and editing Java and Android bytecode.



  • [Dex2Jar](https://github.com/pxb1988/dex2jar) - A tool for converting Android dex files to Java jar files.



  • [JD-GUI](http://java-decompiler.github.io/) - A tool for viewing Java source code from jar files.



  • How can I contact the developers of Apktool 1?



You can contact the developers of Apktool 1 by visiting their [GitHub repository](https://github.com/iBotPeaches/Apktool) or [Twitter account](https://twitter.com/iBotPeaches). You can also report issues, request features, or contribute to the project on GitHub.




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