Xiaomi wants to end Android APK mining, Google doesn’t
Xiaomi, one of the biggest phone makers in China, wants to prevent APK files from being extracted from Android devices, but luckily Google does not agree with this idea.
Over the years, the ease of extracting and sharing APK files (used to install apps) has been a significant benefit to the Android ecosystem. For example, if a recent app update is causing major issues, you can go to a crowdsourced website like APKMirror to download an older version until the problem is solved. Or, if you only have a limited amount of data, you can ask a friend to locally send you the APK file of a game or app update to install. Our APK Insight team will also use these same files to find hints of new features.
That said, not all companies seem to feel the same way about people viewing their app’s code and files. As shared by Mishaal Rahman on Twittera Xiaomi developer has submitted a proposal to the Android Open Source Project that would outright prevent Android device owners from copying APK files from their phone. The reason given is a desire to protect “private resources”.
Don’t allow shell to get apk data
Apk may include some private resources so we must not allow other people to extract it.
Instead, the Xiaomi developer suggests that apps should only be available on the Google Play Store or another trusted app store. Fortunately, Google seems to be directly opposed to the proposal, but not always for the reasons one might expect.
A Googler takes the time to point out the flaw in Xiaomi’s proposal, which is that it would and should only prevent the extraction of APK files on a normal (“user”) version of Android. In this situation, according to Googler, enthusiasts would simply install a debug build of Android and continue to extract APKs as normal. By this line of logic, they oppose Xiaomi’s method of protection because it would not be Actually protect anything.
Going further than that, several Googlers have spoken out against the idea that the content of an APK file can be considered secret.
Can an APK be considered private?
I don’t think you should expect the contents of an APK file to remain secret. I don’t know why we would even want that, and even if we did, there’s really no way to guarantee that, even with this change
Overall, it seems very clear that Google isn’t receptive to making it harder to extract APK files from your device, a good sign for the open future of the Android app ecosystem. ‘Android.
More on Android:
FTC: We use revenue-generating automatic affiliate links. After.