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Zinovy Abramov
Zinovy Abramov

Apktool Tutorial: How to Decompile and Recompile Android Apps on Mac


How to Use Apktool on Mac to Decompile and Compile Android Apps




If you are an Android developer or enthusiast, you might have wondered how to decompile and compile Android apps on your Mac. Maybe you want to modify an app, analyze its code, or debug an issue. In this article, we will show you how to use Apktool, a powerful tool that allows you to do all that and more.




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What is Apktool and Why You Need It




Apktool is a tool that allows you to decompile and compile Android apps




Apktool is a command-line tool that can decompile an Android app (APK file) into a folder that contains its resources, code, and manifest. It can also compile the folder back into a new APK file. Apktool works with both binary XML files and DEX files, which are the formats used by Android apps.


You can use Apktool to modify, analyze, or debug Android apps




By using Apktool, you can access and edit the files inside an Android app. For example, you can change the images, icons, colors, texts, or layouts of the app. You can also view or modify the source code or the manifest of the app. This can help you understand how the app works, find bugs, or add new features.


How to Install Apktool on Mac




You need to install Java and Homebrew first




Before you can install Apktool on your Mac, you need to have Java and Homebrew installed. Java is a programming language that is required by Apktool. Homebrew is a package manager that makes it easy to install software on your Mac. To install Java and Homebrew, follow these steps:


  • Go to [Java download page] and download the latest version of Java for Mac.



  • Run the downloaded file and follow the instructions to install Java.



  • Open a terminal window and type /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)" and press enter.



  • Follow the instructions to install Homebrew.



You can install Apktool using Homebrew with a simple command




Once you have Java and Homebrew installed, you can install Apktool using Homebrew with a simple command. To do so, follow these steps:


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  • Open a terminal window and type brew install apktool and press enter.



  • Wait for Homebrew to download and install Apktool.



  • Type apktool -version and press enter to check if Apktool is installed correctly.



How to Decompile an Android App with Apktool




You need to have the APK file of the app you want to decompile


You can use Apktool to decompile the APK file into a folder




To decompile an Android app with Apktool, you need to have the APK file of the app you want to decompile. You can get the APK file from your device, from the Google Play Store, or from other sources. Once you have the APK file, you can use Apktool to decompile it into a folder that contains its files. To do so, follow these steps:


  • Copy the APK file to a folder on your Mac.



  • Open a terminal window and navigate to the folder where you copied the APK file.



  • Type apktool d name-of-the-apk-file.apk and press enter. Replace name-of-the-apk-file with the actual name of the APK file.



  • Wait for Apktool to decompile the APK file into a folder with the same name as the APK file.



  • Open the folder and explore its contents. You should see folders like res, smali, assets, and others.



How to Edit the Decompiled App with Apktool




You can use any text editor or IDE to edit the files in the folder




After you have decompiled the app with Apktool, you can edit the files in the folder using any text editor or IDE of your choice. For example, you can use Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code, Android Studio, or Eclipse. You can also use tools like apk-editor-studio or apkstudio to edit the files in a graphical interface.


You can modify the resources, code, or manifest of the app




The files in the folder contain the resources, code, and manifest of the app. You can modify them according to your needs. For example, you can:


  • Change the images, icons, colors, texts, or layouts of the app by editing the files in the res folder.



  • Change the source code or logic of the app by editing the files in the smali folder. Smali is an assembly language for Android apps. You can learn more about it [here].



  • Change the permissions, activities, services, or other components of the app by editing the AndroidManifest.xml file in the root folder.



How to Compile the Edited App with Apktool




You need to use Apktool to rebuild the folder into a new APK file




After you have edited the files in the folder, you need to use Apktool to rebuild them into a new APK file. To do so, follow these steps:


  • Open a terminal window and navigate to the folder where you have the edited files.



  • Type apktool b name-of-the-folder and press enter. Replace name-of-the-folder with the actual name of the folder.



  • Wait for Apktool to compile the files into a new APK file.



  • The new APK file will be located in a subfolder called dist inside the original folder.



You need to sign the new APK file with a key before installing it




The new APK file that you have created with Apktool is not signed with a key. This means that you cannot install it on your device or upload it to the Google Play Store. To sign it with a key, you need to use a tool like jarsigner or apksigner. To do so, follow these steps:


  • Create a key using a tool like keytool or Android Studio. You can learn how to do that [here].



  • Copy the new APK file and the key to a folder on your Mac.



  • Open a terminal window and navigate to that folder.



  • Type jarsigner -verbose -sigalg SHA1withRSA -digestalg SHA1 -keystore name-of-the-key.keystore name-of-the-apk-file.apk alias-name and press enter. Replace name-of-the-key with the actual name of your key file, name-of-the-apk-file with the actual name of your APK file, and alias-name with the name you gave to your key when you created it.



  • Enter the password for your key when prompted.



  • The new APK file will be signed with your key.



Conclusion and FAQs




In this article, we have shown you how to use Apktool on Mac to decompile and compile Android apps. You can use this tool to modify, analyze, or debug Android apps. You can also learn more about Apktool from its [official website] or its [GitHub repository]. Here are some FAQs that might help you:


Q: How can I install the new APK file on my device?




A: You can install the new APK file on your device using a tool like adb or Android Studio. You can also transfer the file to your device and install it manually. However, you might need to enable unknown sources in your device settings before installing it.


Q: How can I watch YouTube videos on how to use Apktool?




A: You can watch YouTube videos on how to use Apktool by searching for "apktool mac youtube" on YouTube. You will find many tutorials and guides that will show you how to use Apktool on Mac.


Q: How can I update Apktool on Mac?




A: You can update Apktool on Mac using Homebrew. To do so, open a terminal window and type brew update and press enter. Then type brew upgrade apktool and press enter. Homebrew will update Apktool to the latest version.


Q: How can I uninstall Apktool on Mac?




A: You can uninstall Apktool on Mac using Homebrew. To do so, open a terminal window and type brew uninstall apktool and press enter. Homebrew will remove Apktool from your Mac.


Q: How can I get help or support for Apktool?




A: You can get help or support for Apktool by visiting its [official website] or its [GitHub repository]. You can also join its [Telegram group] or [Discord server] to chat with other users and developers of Apktool.


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