What is an APK File? Difference Between Building an Android APK and Generating Signed APK file.

Learn more about Android APK files

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Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

After you develop an Android Application, you should test it properly before releasing it in the market. Therefore, in this blog, I will be discussing when to build an unsigned APK file and when to generate a signed APK file. Also, I will be differentiating the purpose and use of both of these files. So, before diving into the difference between building an android APK and generating a signed APK file, let’s obtain knowledge about APK files.

What is an APK File?

APK refers to the Android Package Kit (also Android Application Package) which is used in the Android operating system for the distribution and installation of mobile apps. For instance, you tend to use .exe file for installing software in your PC, similarly, .apk files are used to install Android application on your phone.

Difference Between Building an Android APK and Generating a Signed APK file

As for the developer, an unsigned APK file is developed mainly for local testing purposes. Furthermore, these APK files can be made publicly available. However, Google Play Store does not accept these files as unsigned APK files are not secure. Here, an unsigned APK is more like a zipped file that can get unzipped easily without any security. So, in case if the unwanted individuals unzip the files and unzip the APK file, they can have access to the code because of which you may lose your authority to the files.

Now, talking about generating signed APK files, it is secured by a Keystore credential made by the developer and includes a password for the security purpose. Therefore, Signed APK cannot be easily unzipped and mainly used for production purposes. In conclusion, if you are generating a signed APK file, it is more secure and also acceptable in Google Play Store.

References

https://www.nextpit.com/android-for-beginners-what-is-an-apk-file

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-is-apk-file/

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