Google Play will no longer accept APKs from August and is now leaning towards apps in AAB format 

During the Google I / O the Google developers who are in charge of Android development They announced that as of August of this year the migration of applications will be carried out in Google Play to use the Android App Bundle distribution format instead of APK.

With this from August 2021, the format App Bundle must be applied to all new applications added to Google Play, as well as for the delivery of applications that run without installation (ZIP instant application).

Recall that since Android has been around, Android apps have been released in APK format A containing all the code and resources for an application, as well as some security features, such as a signature manifest. When an APK is installed, it is simply copied to a specific folder and added to an internal database of installed applications.

During installation, the application signature is also checked to make sure it is valid. If the application is already installed, Android compares the signature of the new application with that of the already installed application. If the signature is invalid or does not match, Android refuses to install the application. This signature verification is an important part of Android security.

However, in 2018 Google introduced a new format called Android App Bundles or AAB. Google touted that this new format would allow for smaller application files and easier ways to control various aspects of applications. Among the millions of apps on the Google Play Store, thousands are already using the AAB system.

The updates of the applications already present in the catalog can continue to be distributed in APK format. To offer additional resources in games, the Play Asset Delivery Service should be used instead of OBB. To certify App Bundle applications with digital signature, the Play App Signing service must be used, which implies placing keys in the Google infrastructure for the generation of digital signatures.

App Bundle is compatible from Android 9 and allows you to create a package that includes everything an application needs to function on any device: language packs, support for different screen sizes, and assemblies for different hardware platforms. When downloading an application from Google Play, only the code and resources necessary to operate on a specific device are delivered to the user's system. For an app developer, switching to the app bundle usually comes down to enabling another build option in the settings and testing the resulting AAB bundle.

Compared to downloading monolithic APKs, using the app bundle reduces the amount of data downloaded to the user's system by an average of 15%, resulting in savings in storage space and faster app installation. According to Google, nearly a million apps have switched to the App Bundle format, including apps from Adobe, Duolingo, Gameloft, Netflix, redBus, Riafy, and Twitter.

One of the best features from the Android App Bundle ands that an application can be divided into several parts, This is focusing especially on games, since with Play Asset Delivery, for example, users who start a game will only obtain the initial levels and as they progress they can download the following levels when necessary. And the Play Store will determine which resources are best suited for your device, for example without the need for high-resolution textures on a low-end device, further reducing the need for data transfer.

The requirement to use Android App Bundles only applies to new apps, according to Google.

"Existing applications are currently exempt, as are private applications published for managed users of Google Play," the company said. Existing apps can continue to provide updates as APKs, and the switch to AAB will not remove competing app stores. If you are a developer planning to release a new application, there is little time left to make sure you are using the new format.


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