Apktool is a Windows/Mac/Linux utility for reverse engineering Android apps. It allows you to decode an app, change something, rebuild it, and pray it still runs. You're going to need something like this if you're into theming apps, hacking a feature onto someone else's app, finding security holes, or just want to hunt for info.

Apktool has been freshly updated to version 1.5.1, with the new headline feature being "Android 4.2 support." Here's the full changelog.

  • Android 4.2 support
  • Added -a / -aapt command on rebuild to specify location of aapt
  • Updated unit tests for 4.2 support
  • Closed file-handler when writing frameworks to file system.
  • Updated to Gradle 1.3
  • Properly deleted tmp files after building apk ( issue #365 )
  • Added support for renamed packages via --renamed-manifest-package ( issue #252 )
  • Option to specify framework folder ( issue #175 )
  • Prevents removal of configChanges in AndroidManifest ( issue #304 )
  • Updated snakeyaml to 1.11 to fix "unacceptable character" errors. ( issue #360 )
  • Updated smali/baksmali to v1.4.1
  • Fixed reference-array problem ( pull request #53)
  • Fixed bad spacing issue on Mac OS X (pull request #49)
  • Removed maven in favor of gradle
  • Removed Maven REPOs that were used if local projects didn’t exist.
  • Merged brut.j.dir,brut.j.common,brut.j.util & brut.apktool.smali (Fork of JesusFreke’s smali) into one repo.
  • Fix –verbose mode to actually work
  • Added SDK API 17 framework

Now, I'm not entirely sure what they mean by "Android 4.2" support - the old version has always worked just fine for me, but more compatibility with the newest version can't be bad. Verbose mode sounded interesting, so I figured I'd try it out:


I'm sure it's more useful when something goes wrong.

Anyway, I'm sure you're itching to get your hands on the latest version. The download link is right here, and you'll also want to grab the new dependencies files for your platform. If you're upgrading from 1.4.x, check out the handy migration instructions.

If you find and/or make anything neat, let us know. Hopefully there will be many more updates now that a new developer has taken over the project.

Source: android-apktool on Google Code