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Philip Muravyov
Philip Muravyov

What Can You Do with 1 MB APK Apps? Find Out Here!

How to Reduce Android App Size to 1 MB or Less

Android apps are becoming more complex and feature-rich every day, but this also means that they are taking up more space on users' devices. Users often avoid downloading apps that seem too large, especially in emerging markets where network connectivity is poor or data plans are expensive. Therefore, it is important for Android developers to optimize their apps' size and performance without compromising quality or functionality.

In this article, we will explain what an APK file is and why it is important for Android apps. We will also discuss the benefits of reducing app size and how to measure it. Then, we will provide some common challenges and solutions for app size reduction, such as using Android App Bundle, reducing resource count and size, using ProGuard, compressing resources and images, minimizing resource overhead, splitting the app into multiple APKs, and using Lint. Finally, we will conclude with some examples of apps that have successfully reduced their size using these techniques.

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What is an APK file and why is it important for Android apps?

An APK file stands for Android Package Kit; also known as an Android Application Package or just as Android Package. It is a package file format used by the Android operating system for the distribution and installation of mobile apps, mobile games and middleware. A file using this format can be built from source code written in either Java or Kotlin.

An APK file contains all of a program's code (such as .dex files), resources, assets, certificates, and manifest file. It also contains a META-INF folder that contains the signature files and a manifest file. An APK file can be opened on a number of operating systems, but they are used mainly on Android devices.

The size of an APK file affects how quickly it can be downloaded and installed on users' devices. It also affects how much storage space it occupies on the device. A large APK file can deter users from downloading or updating your app, or cause them to uninstall it due to lack of available device storage. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize your app's size as much as possible.

What are the benefits of reducing app size and how to measure it?

Reducing your app's size can have many benefits for both you and your users. Some of them are:

  • It can improve your app's download speed and install success rate.

  • It can increase your app's retention rate and user engagement.

  • It can reduce your app's battery consumption and memory usage.

  • It can enhance your app's security and stability.

  • It can improve your app's ranking and visibility on Google Play.

To measure your app's size, you can use various tools and metrics provided by Google Play Console. Some of them are:

  • The App Size report shows you how your app size varies across different device configurations and markets, and how it compares to similar apps in your category.

  • The Android Vitals dashboard shows you how your app's size affects its performance and stability on different devices and Android versions.

  • The Pre-launch report shows you how your app's size affects its compatibility and quality on various test devices before you release it to production.

  • The APK Analyzer tool shows you the detailed breakdown of your app's size by file, resource, and code.

Use Android App Bundle to deliver optimized APKs for each device

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your app's size is to use the Android App Bundle format instead of the traditional APK format. An Android App Bundle is a new publishing format that allows you to upload a single artifact to Google Play that contains all of your app's compiled code and resources. Google Play then generates and serves optimized APKs for each user's device configuration, such as screen size, density, CPU architecture, language, and so on. This way, users only download the code and resources they need to run your app, and nothing more.

Using Android App Bundle can reduce your app's download size by an average of 20%, and up to 50% for some apps. It can also simplify your development and release process, as you don't need to manage multiple APKs for different device configurations. You can also take advantage of advanced features such as dynamic feature modules, which allow you to deliver features on demand or conditionally, and dynamic asset delivery, which allow you to deliver large assets such as game levels or media files more efficiently.

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To use Android App Bundle, you need to use Android Studio 3.2 or higher, and update your app's build.gradle file to use the bundle plugin. You also need to sign your app with an upload key, which Google Play uses to sign the generated APKs on your behalf. You can then build and upload your app bundle to Google Play Console, and test how it works on different devices using the internal test track or the internal app sharing feature.

Reduce resource count and size by removing unused resources and using scalable drawables

Another way to reduce your app's size is to optimize the resources that you include in your app, such as images, sounds, fonts, layouts, animations, and so on. Resources can take up a significant amount of space in your app, especially if you have multiple versions for different screen sizes, densities, orientations, languages, and so on. Therefore, it is important to remove any unused or duplicate resources from your app, and use scalable drawables whenever possible.

To remove unused resources from your app, you can use the Remove Unused Resources refactoring action in Android Studio, which analyzes your code and resources and identifies the ones that are not referenced anywhere in your project. You can then delete them safely from your project.

To use scalable drawables in your app, you can use vector graphics or adaptive icons instead of bitmap images. Vector graphics are images that are defined by XML files that describe the geometric shapes, colors, gradients, and paths that make up the image. They can be scaled up or down without losing quality or increasing size. Adaptive icons are icons that consist of two layers: a foreground layer and a background layer. They can adapt to different shapes and effects depending on the device theme and preferences.

To use vector graphics in your app, you can create them using tools such as Android Studio's Vector Asset Studio or Adobe Illustrator. You can then reference them in your XML layouts or code using the android:src attribute or the setImageResource() method. To use adaptive icons in your app, you need to create two drawable files: one for the foreground layer and one for the background layer. You then need to create an XML file that references these two files using the tag. You can then set this file as your app icon in your manifest file using the android:icon attribute.

Use ProGuard to minimize the size of code and resources

ProGuard is a tool that shrinks, optimizes, and obfuscates your code by removing unused code and renaming classes, methods, and fields with short names. This can reduce the size of your code and resources by up to 90%, and also make your app harder to reverse engineer. ProGuard is integrated with the Android build system, and you can enable it by setting the minifyEnabled property to true in your app's build.gradle file. You can also customize the behavior of ProGuard by using a file, where you can specify rules for keeping or discarding certain classes, methods, fields, or annotations.

Compress resources and images using WebP format and vector graphics

Another way to reduce your app's size is to compress the resources and images that you use in your app, such as PNG, JPEG, or GIF files. You can use various tools and techniques to reduce the size of these files, such as cropping, resizing, reducing color depth, or applying lossy or lossless compression algorithms. One of the most effective ways to compress images is to use the WebP format, which is a modern image format that supports both lossy and lossless compression, as well as transparency and animation. WebP images can be up to 30% smaller than PNG or JPEG images, while maintaining the same quality and features.

To use WebP images in your app, you can convert your existing images to WebP format using tools such as


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