Google has decided to make some fundamental changes on how apps will be deployed and distributed on Android devices by releasing all the new play store apps in the Android App Bundle in (AAB) format instead of the previous APK format. 

This change would be done from August 2021. Since we all are going to stay with this change, why not teach/educate ourselves on the difference between APK vs AAB. 

In order to know more about it, we have researched and educated ourselves with everything there’s to know. So, do yourself the favor, save your time and just read this article. You will know everything about it. 

What are APK and AAB (Android App Bundle) and what is the key difference between them? 

APK (Android application package), is essentially a file that can be installed on the user’s device. It contains all files and application code. You can think of it as a zip file, but it has its own extension. Just as you can find compressed files with extensions in .rar or .zip, you can also use .apk. 

APK has been an Android distribution application package since its inception. An APK is mainly composed of a large number of resources such as application code, pictures, audio, and the application signing key created by the developer. Also, android gadgets are available in diverse shape elements and specifications. 

In comparison to APK, the AAB format is not totally a new distribution package. In fact, AAB is a box that hosts a base APK and more than one split-APKs. Basically, AAB is a publishing layout that a developer submits to the Play Store whilst APK is the packaging layout for an Android application that you install on your device.

Ideally, developers should create multiple APKs and upload them to the Play Store, depending on the user’s region, processor type, and screen density. When the user clicks the correct and most appropriate “install” button on the Play Store, the APK will be installed on their device, however, all this poses a major challenge for developers. In addition to developing apps, they must also manage Multiple APKs to support a large number of devices.

To avoid this time-consuming work, most developers create a universal APK that contains all resources (language packs, codes, etc.), although you may not need most of these resources on a particular device. This causes huge APKs with large applications to take longer to install and use more bandwidth. 

Google hopes to clear up this hassle and endure maximum of the weight of builders/developers via the Android App Bundle (AAB). This in turn helps reduce application size, installation time, and bandwidth consumption. The company launched AAB on Google I/O in 2018, and now, almost two years later, Google requires it to submit new AAB applications to the Play Store.

Google can now create optimized APKs and provide them to users based on their device settings. You can create a much smaller AAB package that is compact, ready to install, and uses less data for small devices. Therefore, this is the main key difference between APK vs AAB. 

Also, android application packages cannot exist outside of Google Play like APKs, nor can they be distributed outside of Google Play. This means that developers who migrate from APK to App Bundle will no longer be able to provide exactly the same packages or features in other app sources unless they keep a separate APK version.

Conclusion: 

Android App Bundle is a brand new layout for building applications that are more efficient than regular APKs. Although the device will eventually receive an APK, each APK is tailored specifically for the operating system version, device shape, and active language. 

While App Bundles ought to be welcomed through maximum Android users, they’re now no longer a great answer for builders and the broader Android ecosystem. The application package model allows Google to better control application distribution by requiring disclosure of signing keys that enable mandatory application updates and may threaten third parties. 

Therefore, at last, hope this article was helpful for you and could provide you some knowledge about APK vs AAB. 

Founder, editor, and contributor at Technosoups. Shubham has been a gadget freak since longer than he cares to admit and loves everything to do with technology. He loves to address tech issues​es and write tech how-to's in a way that it can be followed by everyone.