Apktool v2.5.0: A major update for reverse-engineering Android 11 apps
Apktool X: A Powerful Tool for Reverse Engineering Android 11 Apps
If you are interested in reverse engineering Android applications, you may have heard of Apktool, a tool that allows you to decompile and modify APK files on your desktop. But did you know that there is also an Android version of Apktool that lets you do the same thing on your phone? In this article, we will introduce you to Apktool X, an Android port of Apktool that supports decoding and rebuilding apps built for Android 11. We will also show you how to install and use Apktool X on your device, as well as discuss some of the benefits and challenges of using it. Finally, we will mention some alternatives to Apktool X that you may want to try.
What is Apktool X and why do you need it?
Apktool X is an Android port of the popular desktop tool Apktool
Apktool is an open source tool developed by XDA Senior Member ibotpeaches that allows you to reverse engineer APK files, which are the binary files that contain Android applications. With Apktool, you can decode resources such as images, layouts, strings, and manifest files to their nearly original form and rebuild them after making some modifications. You can also convert .dex files, which contain the executable code of the app, to .smali files, which are human-readable assembly code that can be edited and converted back to .dex files.
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Apktool has been available for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems since its initial release, but Android support was missing for a long time. The official Android version of Apktool stopped working on Android Q due to some changes in the system. However, a developer named Andro Black has been independently releasing updated versions of Apktool for Android under the name Apktool X. Apktool X is based on the same codebase as Apktool but has some additional features and fixes.
Apktool X allows you to decompile and modify APK files on your phone
One of the main advantages of Apktool X is that it allows you to reverse engineer Android apps on your phone without the need for a computer. This means that you can decompile and modify any APK file that you have on your device or download from the internet. You can also extract APK files from installed apps using a file manager or a backup tool. Apktool X gives you full control over the app resources and code, so you can customize them to your liking or fix some bugs or errors.
Apktool X supports decoding and rebuilding apps built for Android 11
Another benefit of Apktool X is that it supports decoding and rebuilding apps built for Android 11, the latest version of the Android operating system. Android 11 introduced some changes in the app structure and format, such as the use of AAPT2 (Android Asset Packaging Tool 2) and APK Signature Scheme v4. These changes made some older versions of Apktool incompatible with Android 11 apps. However, Apktool X has been updated to work with these changes and can decode and rebuild Android 11 apps without any issues. You can also choose between different versions of AAPT and Apktool depending on your preference and compatibility.
How to install and use Apktool X on your Android device?
Download and install Apktool X APK from a trusted source
The first step to use Apktool X is to download and install the APK file on your Android device. You can find the latest version of Apktool X on the official GitHub page or on some reputable Android forums such as XDA Developers. Make sure that you download the APK file from a trusted source and scan it for any malware or viruses before installing it. You may also need to enable the installation of apps from unknown sources in your device settings.
Grant root access and select the AAPT and Apktool versions
The next step is to grant root access to Apktool X, as it requires root privileges to decompile and recompile APK files. You can use any root manager app such as Magisk or SuperSU to grant root access to Apktool X. Once you grant root access, you will see a screen where you can select the AAPT and Apktool versions that you want to use. You can choose between AAPT, AAPT2, or AAPT3, and between Apktool 2.4.1, 2.5.0, or 2.6.0. You can also change these settings later in the app settings menu.
Decompile an APK file using the "d" command
To decompile an APK file using Apktool X, you need to use the "d" command followed by the path of the APK file that you want to decompile. For example, if you have an APK file named "example.apk" in your downloads folder, you can type "d /sdcard/Download/example.apk" in the command line interface of Apktool X and press enter. This will decompile the APK file and create a folder named "example" in the same directory as the APK file. The folder will contain all the decompiled resources and code of the app.
Edit the decompiled files using a text editor or IDE
After decompiling an APK file, you can edit the decompiled files using any text editor or IDE that supports editing XML, smali, or other file formats. You can use a built-in text editor such as QuickEdit or an external app such as DroidEdit or AIDE. You can also use a desktop IDE such as Android Studio or Eclipse if you transfer the decompiled files to your computer. You can edit any aspect of the app, such as changing images, colors, texts, layouts, permissions, activities, services, etc.
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Recompile the modified APK file using the "b" command
Once you are done editing the decompiled files, you can recompile them into a new APK file using the "b" command followed by the path of the folder that contains the decompiled files. For example, if you have edited the files in the folder named "example" in your downloads folder, you can type "b /sdcard/Download/example" in the command line interface of Apktool X and press enter. This will recompile the files and create a new APK file named "example.apk" in a subfolder named "dist" inside the folder named "example". The new APK file will contain all your modifications. What are the benefits and challenges of using Apktool X?
Benefits of using Apktool X
Using Apktool X can have many benefits for Android enthusiasts, developers, and modders. Here are some of them:
You can port apps to unsupported devices or themes
If you have an older or incompatible device that cannot run some of the latest or popular apps, you can use Apktool X to modify the app resources and code to make it compatible with your device. You can also change the app appearance and theme to suit your preferences or match your device's UI.
You can inspect app resources and strings for future updates or translations
If you are curious about what an app contains or what features it may have in the future, you can use Apktool X to decompile the app and inspect its resources and strings. You can also use Apktool X to translate an app to another language or improve its existing translations.
You can learn from the app logic and code structure
If you are an aspiring or experienced Android developer, you can use Apktool X to learn from the app logic and code structure of other apps. You can see how they implement certain features, functions, or algorithms, and use them as inspiration or reference for your own projects.
Challenges of using Apktool X
However, using Apktool X also comes with some challenges and risks that you should be aware of. Here are some of them:
You may encounter errors or crashes during decompiling or recompiling
Apktool X is not a perfect tool and may not work with every APK file that you try to decompile or recompile. Some APK files may be encrypted, obfuscated, or protected by anti-tampering mechanisms that prevent Apktool X from decoding or rebuilding them. You may also encounter errors or crashes during the process due to incompatible versions, missing files, corrupted data, or other issues. You should always backup your original APK files before modifying them with Apktool X.
You may violate app licenses or terms of service by modifying them
By modifying an APK file with Apktool X, you may be violating the app license or terms of service that the original developer or publisher has set for the app. This may result in legal consequences, such as lawsuits, fines, or bans. You should always respect the intellectual property rights of the app owners and only modify apps for personal use or educational purposes. You should also avoid distributing modified apps without permission from the app owners.
You may need additional tools or skills to edit the decompiled files
Editing the decompiled files with Apktool X requires some additional tools or skills that you may not have or be familiar with. For example, you may need a text editor or IDE that supports editing XML, smali, or other file formats. You may also need some knowledge of Android development, programming languages, assembly code, XML syntax, etc. You should always research and learn about the tools and skills that you need before attempting to edit the decompiled files with Apktool X.
What are some alternatives to Apktool X?
Apktool X is not the only tool that you can use to reverse engineer Android apps. There are some other tools that have similar or different features and functionalities that you may want to try. Here are some of them:
APK Editor Studio: a cross-platform IDE for editing APK files
APK Editor Studio is a free and open source IDE that allows you to edit APK files on Windows, Linux, or Mac operating systems. It has a graphical user interface that lets you browse, extract, edit, and save APK files with ease. You can also use it to sign, align, and install APK files on your device. APK Editor Studio supports editing resources, manifest, certificates, permissions, signatures, and more. You can also use it to convert .dex files to .jar files or .smali files.
APK Easy Tool: a Windows GUI tool for decompiling and recompiling APKs
APK Easy Tool is a Windows GUI tool that allows you to decompile and recompile APK files with a few clicks. It uses Apktool as the backend engine but provides a simpler and easier interface for users. You can also use it to sign, zipalign, and install APK files on your device. APK Easy Tool supports multiple Apktool versions and frameworks, as well as batch operations and drag-and-drop features.
Jasi Toolkit: a powerful tool for modifying Android apps
Jasi Toolkit is a powerful tool that allows you to modify Android apps without decompiling or recompiling them. It uses a technique called "patching" that injects code into the app at runtime. You can use it to change app resources, strings, icons, permissions, activities, services, etc. You can also use it to clone apps, remove ads, bypass license verification, spoof device info, and more. Jasi Toolkit works on both rooted and non-rooted devices.
In this article, we have introduced you to Apktool X, an Android port of Apktool that supports decoding and rebuilding apps built for Android 11. We have also shown you how to install and use Apktool X on your device, as well as discussed some of the benefits and challenges of using it. Finally, we have mentioned some alternatives to Apktool X that you may want to try.
We hope that this article has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thank you for reading!
What is the difference between Apktool and Apktool X?
Apktool is the original desktop tool for reverse engineering Android apps, while Apktool X is an Android port of Apktool that works on your phone.
Do I need root access to use Apktool X?
Yes, you need root access to use Apktool X, as it requires root privileges to decompile and recompile APK files.
Can I use Apktool X to hack or crack Android apps?
No, you cannot use Apktool X to hack or crack Android apps, as it does not provide any tools or methods for doing so. You can only use it to modify app resources and code for personal use or educational purposes.
Is Apktool X safe and legal to use?
Apktool X is safe and legal to use as long as you download it from a trusted source and scan it for any malware or viruses before installing it. However, you should be careful about modifying apps with Apktool X, as you may violate app licenses or terms of service by doing so.
Where can I find more information or support for Apktool X?
You can find more information or support for Apktool X on the official GitHub page or on some reputable Android forums such as XDA Developers.