Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Open APK Files in Ubuntu 18.04

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In this article, we will provide a detailed guide on how to open APK files in Ubuntu 18.04. APK, or Android Package Kit, is the package file format used by the Android operating system for the distribution and installation of mobile apps and middleware.

Quick Answer

To open APK files in Ubuntu 18.04, you can either copy the APK file and change its extension to .zip, then use the Archive Manager to open it, or use Apktool to decompile and inspect the contents of the APK file.

Copy and Change the Extension

One of the simplest methods to open APK files in Ubuntu is to copy the APK file and change its extension to .zip. This can be done using the terminal command:

cp whatever.apk

In the above command, cp is used to copy the file. The first parameter whatever.apk is the original APK file, and the second parameter is the name of the copied file with a changed extension.

After running the command, you can use the Archive Manager application (file-roller) to open the .zip version of the file. This application is a default utility in Ubuntu and can be accessed by right-clicking the .zip file and selecting “Open With Archive Manager”.

Use Apktool

If the first method doesn’t work or if you want a more detailed view of the APK file, you can use Apktool. Apktool is a cross-platform and open-source tool specifically designed for opening and analyzing APK files.

To install Apktool, follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest version of Apktool from the official website.
  2. Once downloaded, move the .jar file to /usr/local/bin directory of your system.
  3. Rename the .jar file to apktool.jar using the command mv apktool_2.x.x.jar apktool.jar.
  4. Create a bash script named apktool and give it execution permissions.

Now, you can use Apktool to decompile and inspect the contents of the APK file by running the following command:

apktool d whatever.apk

In the above command, d is used to decompile the APK file. The parameter whatever.apk is the APK file you want to decompile.


Opening APK files in Ubuntu 18.04 can be done through simple methods such as changing the file extension or using dedicated tools like Apktool. However, it’s worth noting that due to changes in the latest Android Studio IDE, some users have reported issues with opening APK files using the Archive Manager. If you encounter such issues, consider using Apktool for a more reliable solution.

Always ensure that you have the latest versions of the required software (such as Android Studio and SDK) installed for optimal compatibility.

Can I directly install and run APK files on Ubuntu 18.04?

No, APK files are specifically designed for the Android operating system and cannot be directly run on Ubuntu 18.04. However, you can open and inspect the contents of APK files using the methods mentioned in this article.

Can I convert an APK file to a deb package for installation on Ubuntu?

Yes, it is possible to convert an APK file to a deb package using tools like alien. However, this process may not always be reliable and may result in compatibility issues. It is recommended to use native Linux applications whenever possible.

Can I run Android apps on Ubuntu 18.04 without using an emulator?

No, Android apps require an Android runtime environment to run properly. Emulators or virtual machines that provide the Android runtime environment are necessary to run Android apps on Ubuntu 18.04.

Is Apktool the only tool available to open APK files in Ubuntu?

No, there are other tools available as well, such as dex2jar and jd-gui, which can be used to decompile and inspect APK files. However, Apktool is a popular and widely-used tool specifically designed for working with APK files.

Can I modify the contents of an APK file and repackage it?

Yes, Apktool allows you to decompile an APK file, modify its contents, and then recompile it back into an APK file. However, modifying and repackaging APK files may violate the terms and conditions of the app’s developer or distributor, so it is important to use such tools responsibly and for legitimate purposes.

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