This might sound conundrum process but to your astonishment, it is not. The fact is that the exact method of getting these things done has not been properly brought to picture. Well, not anymore. Here is a simple, easy and straightforward process which will ease up your work.
Download APK Tool
You need to start with app teardown and for that, you will be in need of APK tool which is free and allows you to easily reverse engineer Android APK files rapidly. You can make use of it on almost any device even those which are not from Google proper. If you have any teeny weeny experience of mobile app development then you will easily get that this will be a .jar file and how to use it further, if not then here’s how.
How to use APK tool?
There are several ways you can integrate the use of this .jar file for decompiling Android apps but let me show you the easiest way to assist those who are a newbie in development or programming.
1) Install Java
For those who are just entering the Android app market, it would be preferable to install the Java Runtime Environment along with the Java SE Development Kit. Ensure that you are installing the correct versions for your OS.
2) Set the environment up
Well, this is not something very essential if you are familiar with the know how of the app development functions but you are not, follow this step. A folder named teardowns should be made on your desktop and drag the APK Tool .jar file in that folder. To enable easy command entry, rename the file with something easy.
3) Download APK to be decompiled
Use APKMirror and download the APK that you want to teardown. Rename it to something easy which would eradicate the complications while inserting the command while running APK tool. Put the .apk file for the app in the same folder where you placed the apktool.jar file.
4) Run APK Tool
Open the terminal app on a Linux or Mac. Spotlight can be taken into use to find the app rapidly. Go the directory which contains both these files. If you are using Mac then use ‘Is’ command i.e type ‘Is’ and press enters for seeing the files in the current directory and then you can use the ‘cd’ command to alter it to a folder which is present in the current directory. You can now type the command here to decompile the app. Here is the basic command used for this process, ‘java-jar apktool.jar d allo.apk’. You can also get variations of this command, you just have to visit the APK tool website. When you are finished with this process, you will get a new folder having the decompiled app.
5) Direct to strings.xml
The best information you want can be availed from a file named as strings.XML. If you intend to know what’s new then it is possible by comparing the strings.xml file of the previously released build of the app with that of the newly released strings.XML file of the app. You can get this file in the /res/values/directory.
How to use unreleased features
Some of the apps are build by the app development agency in a way where there are methods to start the features which are in the development phase. Well, of course, you will not get full fledged features as they are work in progress but it’s still fun to use them.
1) Root your phone
If you intend to have in-development features in your phone then, the primary thing you need to do is root your device. Well, covering rooting process of different devices won’t be possible in this article, you will have to learn this process based on the type of device you have. Rooting your device will be much easier if you are having a development-friendly phone like Google Pixel or Nexus 6P.
2) File browser app installation like solid explorer
After you are done with rooting your device, you will have to carry on with a fire explorer app. You can use solid explorer file manager which can be downloaded from play store. However, this can cost you a bit for making the full features available after the trial period ends.
3) Transfer to data/data
You will make use of solid explorer from root to transfer from root to the data/data. You will get a list of installed apps from there, you will have to pick one app for which you want to initiate the features for.
4) Navigate it to the shared prefs and modify its values
From data/data, now you have to navigate to the shared prefs and then scroll through the XML files to hunt for the features which you want to enable. Save the file after making the changes.
5) Relaunch app
Once you scroll the files in the shared prefs and then activate the features that you intend to enable. After that, save the file and go back to the launcher and make the app force quit. Launch the app again, what you will find is a new feature that is activated. Well, yes, this will take ample amount of work and trial and error and you have us for that to entail you with a full proof result.