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What the heck is an XAPK?

nickdalzell

Extreme Android User
Jun 17, 2011
6,610
2,106
Owensboro, KY
If anyone knows me well enough, the first two things I do on a new Android phone (or good used old one) is remove the Play Store and disable the Download Manager (to keep Play Services from updating/forcing server side updates on other apps or allowing them to force updates on me/respawning the Play Store/etc)

I'm an old school Android guy. I didn't need app stores then, and don't need them now. My browser is Dolphin Mini from 2009 (ironically it works on all modern sites thanks to System WebView being used by it)

Though I no longer believe in updates for various reasons, there's 4 apps I often have to update to use them and I tend to do those updates twice yearly to avoid the annoying, flow-breaking 'you must update this app to keep using it' prompt. Those apps are Walmart, Kroger, Little Caesar's and Burger King. However, many sites listing APKs like APKPure, APKMIRROR and so on, tend to only list the most recent app versions of those apps as 'XAPK'.

I tried to install one, and it failed acting like it had no idea what an XAPK is. I agree. I never heard of it and I can't find much info online about it. All's I know is I cannot just tap and install from the file explorer like I'm used to doing, so now I'm stuck on the last APK only variants from May 2022. Does anyone know what I'm supposed to do with an XAPK or know of anywhere I can download the regular APK or is this just another 'future' I'm unprepared for?
 
Here you go:
https://support.uptodown.com/hc/en-us/articles/360061856571-How-to-install-an-XAPK-file

The XAPK standard is a packaging format for Android that contains an APK file along with other elements necessary for the app to work correctly. Unfortunately, the package installer included in the Android operating system does not support the XAPK standard, so a tool that does support it is required

...

Option D - Manually copying the required files

It is possible to install some apps packaged as XAPK manually, but only if the content of the app consists of a single APK and additional OBB data files. Any other combination of files involving multiple APKs in the same app will cause an installation error with this method. The process is as follows:


  • Use a mobile file explorer to locate the downloaded XAPK and rename it to .zip.
  • Unzip in any folder.
  • Create a new folder in the local folder system of your device, namely /sdcard/storage/emulated/0/Android/obb/<OBBname>/, where <OBBname> is the OBB file name itself without the extension. That is, if the file is called myapp.developer.obb, the folder should be called myapp.developer.
  • Copy the OBB to the folder you just created.

  • Install the APK that was found in the XAPK as usual.

 
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It is a new format, used to circumnavigate around the limits of the size of apks.
(I believe these limits were made by Google in the first place.)

Often, an older spp will gave started life as an apk, then later on an xapk version will come out.

Usually the install is seamless, but on occasion I have had issues.

There is an excellent package installer from ApkPure that I use on all of my devices...
Xapk Installer.

https://m.apkpure.com/xapk-installer/com.apkpure.installer

Fyi, UpToDown has something similar built right into its appstore app.

I am totally with you on ditching Google wherever and whenever possible, and they really do have the most annoying habit of forcing updates (especially of apps you do NOT want updated) at 3AM.

Not much worse way to start of the day than when this happens and reminds you that your device is really not your own.
 
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My issue with Google stems back when they replaced the excellent 'Android Market' with 'Play Store. I never forgave them for that. In fact, the way it keeps changing things around today ensures I'll never use it. In fact, I watch any purchased Google Movies content via YouTube given they EOL'd the Play Movies and TV app recently.

But the final nail was them re-enabling or even circumventing the switch to 'do not update any apps' to either turning it on, or ignoring it. Usually Play Store defaults to 'update apps at any time (this might cause network charges)'. First run used to be change it to 'do not auto update apps' then I noticed they had recently updated a good number of apps despite that switch being flipped. Sometimes I catch a download icon randomly appearing saying 'google play' which cannot be cancelled. The only way to disabled all that was to kill both Download Manager and Play Store (Dolphin Mini, old UC Browser, and even Amazon Music have their own download managers anyway). I leave Play Services intact so apps that depend on it like banking apps, YouTube Music, Youtube, and various GPS apps remain working.

That said, it seems rather complicated to get an XAPK to install. I wonder if the 'XAPK Installer' is at least an APK otherwise I'm in a similar conundrum where I need an XAPK installer to install an XAPK but the XAPK Installer app is also an XAPK and I'm screwed.

Gotta love Google for messing things up as usual...First they killed Android Market for no real reason, secondly they killed USB Mass Storage making file transfers a pain, thirdly they do this. What's next? Me finding hopefully another mobile OS in the future to meet my needs? What happened to Android being for geeks?
 
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That said, it seems rather complicated to get an XAPK to install. I wonder if the 'XAPK Installer' is at least an APK otherwise I'm in a similar conundrum where I need an XAPK installer to install an XAPK but the XAPK Installer app is also an XAPK and I'm screwed.

Yes it can be, and may not always work for all XAPK package installs. I've obtained apps from APKmirror, and I've just used their app for searches, downloads, and installs. So I never have to actually see an XAPK.
 
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I'm seeing XAPKS at APKMIRROR as well for the mentioned apps, as the only 'variant' available. It's getting increasingly harder to find any APK today; most have become XAPK only, or at least make it nigh impossible and rare to find the APK itself. It's a future I do not look fondly towards.

Also, APKMIRROR hates my phones. If I'm on mobile data and not wifi (my phones tend to crash my router for some reason!) It hangs at some type of crazy CloudFlare (god I hate them!!!) DDoS protection crap that never progresses. Any time I've downloaded recently from that site, it's been via the Internet Archive of an older app I lost the copy of or mistakenly deleted. Just another solution in search of a problem (XAPKs). Right up there with USB-C and losing features whilst still calling it an upgrade. That's another thing I despise. The losing features. I mean what's the upgrade? Remember when each upgraded model crammed even more features in? Imagine the amazing tech we'd have today if we kept that up?

I don't want an app either. I don't like app stores at all. They always want to update, change and ruin my workflow, oftentimes at the most inoppurtune moment.
 
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I'm seeing XAPKS at APKMIRROR as well for the mentioned apps, as the only 'variant' available. It's getting increasingly harder to find any APK today; most have become XAPK only, or at least make it nigh impossible and rare to find the APK itself. It's a future I do not look fondly towards.

Software bloat. Apps and games have grown much is size and complexity over the years, like most software and OSs, and I guess the original APK packaging format could no longer cut it.

Also, APKMIRROR hates my phones. If I'm on mobile data and not wifi (my phones tend to crash my router for some reason!) It hangs at some type of crazy CloudFlare (god I hate them!!!) DDoS protection crap that never progresses. Any time I've downloaded recently from that site, it's been via the Internet Archive of an older app I lost the copy of or mistakenly deleted. Just another solution in search of a problem (XAPKs). Right up there with USB-C and losing features whilst still calling it an upgrade. That's another thing I despise. The losing features. I mean what's the upgrade? Remember when each upgraded model crammed even more features in? Imagine the amazing tech we'd have today if we kept that up?

Of course I can't do a lot about that myself, and don't have those issues. But might be useful to see XAPK be included in future Android versions, instead of having to rely on third-party tools.

I don't want an app either. I don't like app stores at all. They always want to update, change and ruin my workflow, oftentimes at the most inoppurtune moment.

I use a few apps where one must have the latest updates, otherwise they don't function, e.g. WeChat, Alipay, DiDi, etc.
 
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As far as disabling the download manager on devices, that is a no-go for me.
I download way too much stuff to not have that.

Disabling Google Play Services used to work great.
Newer devices, however, make it about impossible to use them if this spyware/pest is not running.

I even have one device that will not keep connected to wi-fi if Google Play Services is not running.
'Wi-Fi Manager needs Google Play Services to work'.
Well, I call BS, because wi-fi works just fine when I turn off Wi-fi Manager, at least until it auto restarts.

Then it will disconnect the wi-fi again if Google can't tickle my device's rear end.

My solution was to let Google Play Services run, but also use a firewall to block the POS fron internet access.

With that done, the Play Store disabled (good riddance), and Automatic System Updates disabled in developers options, the forced updates have ceased altogether.
Just to be safe, anything to do with such irritants is also blocked from the internet with the same firewall.

This can also be used to great effect to block all the crap that wants to drop from the Google bird in the sky when you get a new device and connect online the first time.
I block everything until I have set up my device and disabled the Play Store along with others.

Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and others are all apps that never got downloaded but were 'supposed to'.
 
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Netguard No-root Firewall is also a great way to stop unwanted communication in the background. Case in point, a good number of apps that I use don't need internet except for one thing: to display an annoying ad bar at the bottom. Kill that via NetGuard and no more ads, app works perfectly fine.

As I mentioned I leave Play Services intact. But the Download Manager is obsolete these days--only used by Play Services to update itself or enforce server-side changes to apps that you refuse to update (you WILL have our flat UI and you will LOVE IT!).

Many third party apps, web browsers, music players, stores have their own download managers so disabling the system download manager only breaks downloads via Chrome which I never use anyway. It just ensures nothing can download/sneak in behind my back.
 
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Those apps are Walmart, Kroger, Little Caesar's and Burger King.

Luv me some double whopper with fries ! ! !


eat
 
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