One of the main blessings (and curses) of Android is how open and free the operating system is. People are free to do just about anything with the code, and this includes extracting the APK files for apps. Well, Xiaomi doesn’t like this, so the company wants people to stop extracting those APK files.
What are APK files?
Well, if you don’t know what APK files are, then you’ve probably never strayed outside of the Google Play Store for your apps. APK stands for Android Package or Android Package Kit. Think of APK files as the EXE files you download to your Windows computer to install an application.
They contain all of the files that your phone needs to extract and install so that you can start playing your game or using your app. When you download an app from the Google Play Store, that file is downloaded and installed for you, so you don’t actually have access to the APK file.
However, if you’re tech-savvy enough, you can actually extract the APK file from the app. This way, you can copy that file and install it onto another device without needing to go through the Play Store.
But, Xiaomi doesn’t like people extracting APK files
There’s a large market of people who extract and redistribute APK files on the internet. Xiaomi, one of the major Chinese smartphone OEMs, wants to put a stop to that. According to 9To5Google, the company took to the Android OSP (Open-Source Project) and added a proposal.
The entry reads:
Do not allow shell to obtain data apk
Apk may include some private resources, so we should not allow others to pull it.
This would mean that people wouldn’t be able to extract APK files from apps. Why did the company do this? Well, the reason was to “protect privacy”. It does make sense, as downloading apps from sources other than the Google Play store puts you at a higher risk of contracting malware.
However, this proposal won’t stay. A Google employee shot down this entry and said why. Xiaomi’s method would stop people from extracting the APK file using a regular build of Android. However, if the user was able to get a debug build of Android, they would still be able to take out the APK file.
While Xiaomi wants to stop extractions, it doesn’t mean that they will stop. People will continue to extract APK files and redistribute them. If you want to, you can search up APK sites to download apps without using the Google Play Store. Just be sure to only download from trusted sites.