Android Bundle

Android Bundle

Android Bundle

Android Bundle – Wondering how to make your Android app smaller, lighter, more flexible and modern? Application packages are the answer.

App bundles are a new packaging and publishing format for Android and are designed to offer a more efficient way to create and publish apps.

Android Bundle

Android Bundle

They are here to replace universal APKs, which are large monolithic packages that include many things that are not needed (eg hardware architecture support) or not used at all (eg multiple languages).

Sign Your App

An app bundle consists of several key files and directories. The base directory contains classes, resources, and anything else required for a particular module, along with a variable number of property directories.

Unlike APKs, packages also distribute manifests and dex files per module. There are lots of other files floating around, like bundle-metadata and module protocol buffer (.pb) files, but they’re mostly used by Google Play and shouldn’t bother you too much.

We won’t go into details about the last two, but feel free to learn more about Instantly Enabled App Bundles or Dynamic Feature Modules.

Dynamic Delivery is the new Google Play app delivery model supported only by app bundles. Its main purpose is to create and deliver an optimized APK for each device configuration.

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If you’re already following code and project structure best practices, supporting dynamic serving is as easy as creating an app bundle and uploading it to Google Play.

APK distribution is nothing new, it’s actually been a thing since Android 5.0 Lollipop. A distributed APK is like a regular APK with its own manifest, DEX bytecode and resources.

This is how AppBundle manages to make your app lighter. Initially, it finds every piece of code that can be shared by all devices and application configurations. These include manifests, DEX files, and anything that is not dependent on device display, architecture, or location.

Android Bundle

All of this is then combined into a single base APK, which is served to all users, along with other distributed APKs, called configuration APKs, that provide different configurations whenever possible.

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By installing your app on a device, Google Play analyzes your app’s configuration and offers the base APK as well as additional split APKs if needed. The result is a more efficiently packaged app than a universal monolithic APK.

But what if the user has an Android version older than Lollipop? Since these versions do not support APK distribution, the user gets the same APK, but with unnecessary resources removed.

One thing to note: these APKs will not be optimized for locale settings as this will result in creating too many individual APKs.

Replacing your APK with an app bundle is a relatively simple process that requires almost no changes to your project structure or code. The only condition is that you enable app signing through Google Play.

Creating, Testing, And Uploading An Android App Bundle

With app signing provided by Google Play, Google manages and protects your app’s signing key for you. You need to enable app signing from Google Play before installing your bundle, as app bundles delay APK generation and signing on the Play Store.

You can follow the instructions at this link, as setting it up could be a blog post in itself.

Now that we’ve covered the theory, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Installation is very simple and can be described in just two steps:

Android Bundle

As mentioned in the previous section, an APK can be divided into 3 factors (native architecture, screen density, and location). By default, all these factors are enabled. If you want to change these options you need to go to your build.gradle file and add the following code inside the android block.

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Setting one of these fields to false means that all resources in that category will be included in all APKs. For example, if your app has 3 languages ​​and you set the language pane to false, then every instance of your app will contain all 3 languages, ignoring the device locale.

However, what if you enable language distribution, the user only downloads one language and then changes the device language? Whenever a user changes the device configuration, Google Play detects it and automatically tries to magically download the new configuration APK for all installed apps.

If the device is not currently connected to the Internet, the entire process is delayed until a connection is established.

You can use the Android Studio GUI or your CLI to create an app bundle instead of an APK. When starting a build from Android Studio, you proceed as you would with APKs. This means go to build menu and select generate signed package/apk and select package option.

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This dialog is followed by the all too familiar keystore selection/creation dialog and finally the build variant selector.

Creating a package via the CLI is again similar to creating an APK. The only difference is that the keyword is no longer bundle but bundle, optionally followed by a construct variable.

OK, you have successfully created an app bundle. Now what is this? Let’s test locally first, then test in a closed channel on Google Play, as we know better than to test in production.

Android Bundle

An easy way to do this is to modify your run/debug configuration to deploy the app to your test device by first putting together the app bundle and then extracting the APK for the device at hand. All you have to do is select the APK from App Bundle from the Deploy dropdown and you’re good to go.

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Another thing you can do locally is to manually extract APKs from the built-in app bundle. To do this you’ll need to install the bundle tool, a CLI tool used by Gradle, Android Studio, and Google Play to convert app bundles to all the different APKs available. For more information about it and how to use it, take a look here.

Finally, you should test the distribution in one of the closed channels in the Play Store. After setting up app signing through Google Play, you can drag and drop your app bundle just like your regular APK.

A new feature here is the App Bundle Explorer, a Play Store tool for reviewing installed bundles and app size savings, as well as viewing app download sizes for each configuration.

The whole story of app bundles has some limitations. Full Compressed APK (Basic + Configurations) is limited to 150MB download size. This also applies to all other dynamic modules and their configurations.

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Also, app bundles do not support APK extension (.obb) files. If you get this error, try enabling all configurations, shrink your application and consider moving some features to dynamic modules.

As with everything, packages aren’t perfect. One of the problems you run into is when users install your app through a channel other than the Google Play Store (like APKMirror), which is called sideloading. The problem here is that the sideloaded APKs don’t match the configuration of the user’s phone, resulting in apps crashing left and right.

Since version 1.6.0, the Play Core library has been able to detect malicious app installations. Implementing it is a simple matter of plug and play. Add the dependency to your build.gradle file:

Android Bundle

So! When your app launches, a dialog pops up asking the user to reinstall the app through the Google Play Store.

Google’s Android App Bundle

Finally, here are some things we noticed while moving our apps to app bundles and want to share with the world:

I hope this article has helped you better understand how Android App Bundles work and why they have become so popular. Moving your app to use app bundles can take just a few clicks, resulting in happy users using less data to download and store your app.

Additionally, Google announced that from 2021 it will be mandatory for all new apps to support app bundles. It’s the perfect time to switch!

Learn how JavaScript contributed to Apple’s biggest security breach, responsible for 2 million incidents of privacy breaches.

Aircall Journey To Android App Bundle 📦

Security is a priority when developing an app, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive user information.

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Android Bundle

Advertising and analytics service cookies that generate daily statistics and display advertisements on our sites and the websites of our advertising partners. In order to reduce piracy, Google will say goodbye to the APK format of apps this August.

Build Android Release With Android App Bundles (issue 3381) (solved)

Most Android users have at some point downloaded an app on their phone in APK (Android App Bundle) format. This is possible when we go to other stores other than Google Play Store to download applications and games on the phone. is a useful feature for

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