Android: What is AAPT?


Android Developers have many tools available at their command.  This is a quick introduction to a few commands that I use in AAPT.

What is AAPT?

AAPT (Android Asset Packaging Tool) is a great tool to help you view, create, and update your APKs (as well as zip and jar files).

Where is It?

On Windows, check your Android/tools folder.  For my Windows 10, it is located here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\build-tools\23.0.2

Once you find it, add it to your path Environment Variable.

Getting Your VersionCode, etc.

Let’s say you have an APK and you need to validate the App Id, Version Code, Version Number, SDK Info, Permissions, and so on.  This is rather easy to do by running the following command:

aapt dump badging my.apk

This is really helpful when delivering an APK to a client.  If a client questions the VersionCode or other information, you can easily verify the app and also explain how the client can verify it.

When running this tool the output will look similar to this:

Check Your Permissions!

It can also be used to verify what permissions are set in the app. An app that we created for a customer was mistakenly failed by a third-party security audit company. The third-party team told our customer that the app had too many permissions. Luckily, we were able to use the AAPT to determine the exact permissions the app had and prove to our customer that the third-party firm was mistaken.

aapt dump permissions my.apk

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