Android world as you know it is about to change forever; iconic Google APK format for apps to be junked
Google APK format is set to be junked. This is one of the fastest ways to share apps and games offline, but APKs will be discontinued for all new apps on the Google Play Store.
The Android is the most widely used mobile operating system today, and Google APK (Android Package) for distributing Android apps is almost as popular as EXE files on Microsoft Windows. Over the years, APK has been used not only by app developers to provide apps via the Google Play Store, but also by users to quickly share apps without having to download them. However, a new report suggests that Google is ready to say goodbye to its popular APK format later this year.
APK marriage over, Google moves on
While APK remain popular among Android users, Google has moved on to a much more efficient method of distributing Android apps called Android App Bundles (or AAB files) which were introduced back in 2018. According to Android Authority, Google has made it compulsory for all new apps that are submitted to the Google Play Store to use App Bundles with the AAB format. However, according to the report, existing apps can still be distributed in APK format, even after August.
Hello App Bundles
Google introduced App Bundles to tackle a problem with APKs a few years ago -- as apps kept adding features, they kept getting bigger in size. This is because they also have to maintain support for a wide variety of devices, as well as languages and other assets. With App Bundles, the Play Store will only deliver the components required by the user. This means that a user will only download a bundle that contains support for a 64-bit processor, and English language support, instead of downloading a bulky APK. The benefit for users is highly optimised files with faster downloads and less space taken on the system.
How developers are affected
However, this does pose a challenge to app developers, who will have to re-package their apps as APK files, or export them again if they want to publish these apps on third-party stores like Amazon's App Store or the Huawei AppGallery. Developers will also need to give Google the key needed to “sign” their apps, which has raised concerns that if someone were to gain access to the signing key, they could pretend to be the developer of the app.
How it affects you
Users will have to manually export apps as APKs before sharing them with their friends.