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Inspect APK files with the APK Analyzer on Android Studio

The Android Studio 2.2 added a new tool called the APK Analyzer.

It lets you look at packaged apps, those APK files that are in zip archive format that you use to deploy an application.

Using the APK Analyzer, you can see inside the APK file and see what files and directories are largest so you can decide how you can shrink down that APK.

The example application

I’ll show you how to use the Apk Analyzer tool with an existing project that is available on my GitHub, where you can clone or download and try to follow the below steps on your own Android Studio.

The application uses a RecyclerView to display a list of data. Each data item is associated with an image file and when you click on the item, you see the image file in a larger size.

Now in order to accomplish this, all of those image files are actually being packaged with the application.

I’ll open my Android Studio and from the welcome screen and open the CoffeeMenuSample project which you can download on the above link.

Then, I’ll go to my Project window to the application and then to the assets directory and we’ll see a whole bunch of JPG files, as we can see on the below image.

There will also be a copy of one of those JPG files in the drawable directory under resources and that’s used for Design Time.

Building the APK file

Now I’m going to build an APK file. I’ll go to the menu and choose Build, Build APK.

That will creates a debugged version of the application.

I’ll click on Show in Explorer when the notification appears and that shows me the location of the APK file.

Analyzing the APK file

Now that we created the .apk file, we can use the APK Analyzer.

First, we need to stop the application if it’s running and then go to the menu and choose Build, Analyze APK.

When presented with the directory tree, it defaults to selecting that new APK file. It’s called app-debug.apk.

I’ll click OK and here’s the breakdown of the APK file:

It shows me the sizes of each of the directories and I can immediately see that my assets directory is taking up more space than just about anything.

And I’ll click on the tree icon over here and that expands and it shows me the sizes of the actual files.

As there is many images with the JPG extension, for this example we could convert these images to WebP files.

WebP files are smaller than JPGs or PNGs, and like PNGs, they support transparency, but I think that this kind of information may stick to an upcoming article, so we wont’ mix up the things.

Checking the .dex file information

The Analyzer will also show you information about your dex file.

This is where your Java classes are compiled in an Android app.

The dex file is broken down by Java package and it includes Java code not just for your custom application but for all of the libraries that your application depends on.

And this includes a lot of code from the core Java Runtime. To find your own files for the project, you can go to your package.

For this example, mine starts with com.coderade.android and I’ll drill down until I see my actual classes.

Here we can see the listing here of the Defined Methods. This can be a hint for ways you could optimize your application and you can keep on clicking to find calls to various methods.

So that’s the APK Analyzer. If your APK file is getting too large, this tool can help you figure out where you might be able to reduce the APK and where there are possible optimizations.

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