The Ultimate Starter Guide to Editing APK Files with APK Editor

How to Edit APK Files with APK Editor

Editing Android apps is easier than ever before. Even if you’re a newbie to the world of app coding and development, you can still edit and create apps with ease.

Sound too good to be true? It isn’t! And we’ve got the ultimate guide to learning how to edit, change, improve, and delete different elements of apps with ease.

Let’s dive in, shall we? First, we’re going to cover some common questions associated with learning to edit APK files.

Can You Edit APK Files?

Of course! Editing APK files, depending on what you want to change, can either be easy or a bit difficult. Much of what we’ll be covering in this guide involves using APK Editor and APK Editor Pro from SteelWorks to modify simpler tasks in an APK file. You’ll need to learn the simple and easy basics before moving on to more complex app development.

What is APK Editor and APK Editor Pro?

It’s all in the name! APK Editor is an application app developers can use to modify Android apps. It runs on Android 3.1 or higher. If you have an Android tablet or smartphone with this version, you can start editing APK files right away.

APK Editor allows users to edit an APK file saved to an Android device. If you don’t have the APK itself, APK Editor allows you to extract APK files from any installed app.

You can choose between two different kinds of editing: Full Edit and Simple Edit. Full Edit allows you to rebuild files from an APK completely. Simple Edit allows you to replace files within any particular APK. We won’t dive too much into Full Edit for this guide, since it’s fairly complex for a starter guide.

By using Simple Edit, you can do everything from changing backgrounds to adding languages to deleting permissions.

Is APK Editor Pro Worth It?

APK Editor is free to use, and we suggest using this version first to see if app development is right for you.

If you are able to get the hang of it and want to upgrade to an application with more advanced editing capabilities without the nuisance of ads, we’d suggest purchasing APK Editor Pro. It’s a standalone cost, not a membership, and it’s fairly affordable for any budget.

Where Can I Get APK Editor?

You can download APK Editor for free via APKMirror. You can purchase APK Editor Pro for $4.99 from the Google Play store.

How to Edit APK Files with APK Editor

We’re going to start with the basic step-by-step process of installing and enabling functions of APK editor via an Android device.

There are three steps you’ll need to follow before starting the editing process. These are very important, so follow them closely!

Step 1: Activate Developer Mode

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the device you’d like to use for APK editing. You’ll be able to do all of your app editing from within one device without the need for an external computer.
  2. Select “About device.” For Android 8.0 or higher, select “System.” Both items are located towards the bottom of the “Settings” screen.
  3. Scroll down to “Build number.” Select this several times, usually around seven or eight times. You’ll see a pop-up notification that says something along the lines of “Developer mode activated.”
  4. Go back to the main “Settings” page. You’ll now see a tab listed as “Developer options.”
  5. Select “Developer options.” There will be a list of different options for you to toggle. All you really need to worry about is “USB debugging.” Toggle this feature to “ON.”
  6. Click “OK” under the usage warning that pops up.

Step 2: Download APK Editor

  1. Visit the link we listed above via APKMirror. It’s important to do this via the same device.
  2. Scroll down to where it says “Verified safe to install (read more)” in green text.
  3. Click “Download APK.” A warning will pop up that, depending on your Android version, will say something along the lines of “This type of file can harm your device. Do you want to keep it anyway?”
  4. Select “OK.”
  5. Wait for the download to complete, then select the APK file.
  6. Select “Install.” Once the installation is complete, you can select “RUN” to launch APK Editor.

Step 3: Download an App For Testing

This step is easy. It’s virtually up to you which app to download. If you’re interested in game application development, try downloading a game app via the app store. If you’re interested in adding languages or editing permissions, you can pretty much download any application you’d like, and so on.

The only purpose of downloading a random app from Google Play is to practice what we’ll be covering in this guide before moving on to the apps you’re really interested in editing.

  1. Download and install any app of your choice from the Google Play store.
  2. Go back to APK Editor.
  3. Select “Select APK from App”
  4. Scroll through the list until you find the app you’d like to edit.
  5. Select the app from the list.

At this stage, you’ll see three options to continue, including “Full Edit,” “Simple Edit,” and “Common Edit.” APK Editor Pro will also include “Edit Data.” The next section of our guide will cover different things you can do with APK Editor, and each will require a different Edit Mode for each desired function.

4 Different Ways to Use APK Editor

Now that we know the basics of installing and using APK Editor, let’s dive into a few different things you can do with the application.

A very important note: Back up your apps! Since we’ll be testing out these APK Editor hacks on throwaway apps, you won’t need to do this right away. Once you start editing your actual apps and APKs of choice, though, make sure you back them up after each and every edit.

Alright, lecture over. Let’s get into these edits and hacks.

How to Use APK Editor to Change App Logos

This is quite a niche edit to make. Still, if you want to change the aesthetic of your home screen with monochromatic icons and logos, this hack will get you there.

  1. Select “Full Edit.”
  2. Select the “Files” tab in the center bottom part of the page.
  3. Select the “drawable” folder listed towards the top of the page.
  4. Scroll through the “drawable” files and folders until you locate an image file with an icon that is the same as the app’s logo. You must be in “Files” mode or else you will not be able to see the icon.
  5. Long-click the file.
  6. Select “Replace.”
  7. Browse through the pop-up file explorer to find your prepared saved replacement icon and select it. Note that whatever icon you may have prepared should have similar dimensions to the original icon. It also has to be the same file type. If the icon is in .png form, its replacement icon must be in .png form as well.
  8. Select the “Build” button in the upper righthand corner.
  9. Wait for APK Editor to save the modified app.
  10. Uninstall the original unedited app.
  11. Locate the updated APK via the File Explorer app.
  12. Install the new app by opening the APK and selecting “Install.”
  13. Run the edited app and locate it on your screen to verify whether or not the icon was successfully changed.

If the resolution looks a little funky, double-check the resolution of the original file. The resolution in pixels will be listed underneath the file name in APK Editor. The resolutions have to be the same in order to look correct.

How to Use APK Editor to Remove Ads

Removing ads from Android apps used to be quite a difficult process that often involved rooting one’s Android device. APK Editor makes it totally easy without the need for rooting and possibly bricking your phone.

Free apps almost always come with in-app advertisements, which can be mildly annoying to downright infuriating with their frequency. Let’s look at how we can chop them from just about any app.

  1. Select “Full Edit.”
  2. In the lower middle section, select “Files.” A list of various folders and individual files will pop up.
  3. Select the “res” file. This is usually at the very top of an app’s list of files.
  4. In this folder, select the “layout” folder. There will probably be several of these types of folders labeled “layout-v17,” “layout-v21,” etc. There should be a basic “layout” folder that precedes them, and that will be the folder you select.
  5. Look for “activity_main.xml.” You can scroll until you find it or you can type “activity_main.xml” in the search bar towards the bottom of the screen.
  6. Edit “activity_main.xml” by selecting the pencil icon to the right of the file name.
  7. Select the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen.
  8. In the “Find” box, do a search for “wrap_content.” You’re more than likely to find several of these in the document.
  9. In the “Replace” box on the righthand side of the screen, type in “0dip” and select the white magnifying glass.
  10. Select the “a-b a-b” button. This will replace all of the “wrap_content” codes in the file.
  11. Select the “Save” icon.
  12. Go back to the “Layout” folder.
  13. Select the “Build” button in the upper righthand corner.
  14. Wait for APK Editor to save the modified app.
  15. Uninstall the original unedited app.
  16. Locate the updated APK via the File Explorer app.
  17. Install the new app by opening the APK and selecting “Install.”
  18. Run the edited app and test it.

It’s worth noting that some applications do not have “activity_main.xml.” This is likely due to new and evolving security measures.

How to Use APK Editor to Make Apps SD Compatible

Anybody with a smartphone has been through this. Your phone storage is depleted and you want to install a new app to your SD card, but it isn’t budging. Luckily, this common problem has a quick and easy fix with APK Editor.

  1. Select “Common Edit.”
  2. Towards the bottom of the app page, select the dropdown menu underneath “Install Location.”
  3. There will be several options listed, including “Default (Not Specified),” “Auto (OS Make Decision),” “Internal Only,” and “Prefer External.”
  4. Select “Prefer External.”
  5. Select the “Save” button. You may have to wait a few moments for the edits to take place.
  6. Once APK Editor saves the modified app, uninstall the original unedited app.
  7. Locate the updated APK via the File Explorer app.
  8. Install the new app by opening the APK and selecting “Install.”
  9. Go to the “Settings” app.
  10. Go to the “Apps” section.
  11. Locate the app you’ve just edited and select it.
  12. Select “Storage” at the top of the screen.
  13. Under “Storage used,” select “CHANGE.”
  14. You will now be able to select “SD card” as the preferred storage method.

It’s worth noting that some apps will not recognize this edit and detect it as a “tampered version” of the app. This is uncommon, however.

How to Use APK Editor to Remove Unwanted Permissions

App companies can get a little frisky with the permissions they require. What’s the point of, say, a photo-editing app requiring access to your calls? It’s certainly suspicious and could possibly be unsafe. If you’re uncomfortable with permissions an app is requesting, you can easily remove them.

Unfortunately, this can only be done with APK Editor Pro. Still, if you’ve purchased the app, it’s a very quick and easy process.

    1. Select “Full Edit.”
    2. At the bottom right-hand side of the screen, select “Manifest.”
    3. Browse through each line of code until you find one that starts with “<uses-permission” followed by a space. There will probably be several of these, and they usually start four to five rows from the top.
    4. Select each one until you find the code labeled “android.permission.INTERNET.”
    5. Once you find it, long click the label. A new pop-up screen will appear.
    6. Select “Delete this Line” on the pop-up screen.
    7. Select “Save” and wait a few moments for the APK to be updated.
    8. Uninstall the original unedited app.
    9. Locate the updated APK via the File Explorer app.
    10. Install the new app by opening the APK and selecting “Install.”
    11. Run the edited app and test it. The permissions prompt that appears when apps are launched should disappear.

How was our guide to editing APK files with APK Editor? We hope that our guide was thorough enough for all you newbies out there who want to get into app development. If you found it helpful, please share! 

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