How to Extract Media Contents Contained Within Android Apk App File

How To Extract Contents Contained Within An Apk File

How do we extract media contents of any Android Apk file or application, the audio and picture files contained within without using any software? First, we think you should know what Android APK file is.

What is Android APK? In a simple term, APK can be describe as an extension of Android application file, just as .jar is an extension of Java and .sisx/.sis are extensions of Symbian file. The extension here means, the unique characters that appears after period (.) in a full file name specific to a certain program, in this case which is Android. In another point of view, the codes, files and data contained in an Android apk file is what makes it an application.

While an Android application only appear as a single apk file, there are combination of codes (mostly encrypted) and data inside that gives it a structure. The codes contains a set of rules that triggers and guide the delivery of what the application is based upon. Because APK extension is specific to Android operating system, only device on Android platform can runs applications with apk file extension. For the Android apk file to unleash what it is made for, it must first be install as an application on the Android-capable device.

Now that you know what Android APK file and extension (.apk) is, how do we get into the contents within its wall (I mean the data part here and not the codes) without installing it, without any software? You might ask, what are the benefits and advantages involved. Let me put it this way. You download and install an Android game, launch it, and you discover you love the song or instrumental playing in the background while kicking the bad guys. You realize you won't mind doing anything just to get your hands on the song. That's where this tutorial comes in.

Unlike other mobile operating system extensions, apk seems the most easiest to break through. Just get yourself any file explorer with zip/rar compression and extraction feature and the job is half done. Most File manager or explorer can penetrate into any apk file to reveal contents within just like zip and rar file. Android file manager such as ES File Explorer, MiXplorer, X-plore just to mention few can do the trick. The good news is root is not required.

Before we proceed, it is necessary to warn you that making use of other peoples, companies or groups data for personal gain or commercial use without permission is illegal and punishable under law. This tutorial is meant to educate only. We will not be held responsible for any event that may precede the information given below.

We will be using ES File Explorer for Android as our file manager in this tutorial (version 3.2.5.3 to be specific). We recommend you use ES File Explorer as well. If you already have the app you want to break-through installed on your Android device, you will need to first get its Apk file before you can dive into its core. Fortunately, you do not need to download its apk file again as we will help you to achieve that by simply following the steps below. If you already have the apk file or apk installer, just jump to the next step.

  • Launch ES File Explorer from App Menu on your device
  • Click Menu button at the top left corner or simply swipe a finger from far-left to the right (gesture)
  • Select Library from Menu that opens and click on APP
  • List of Applications installed on your phone will be displayed
  • Click and hold Application you want to have its apk file (you can select multiple apps at once)
  • Click Backup from menu that shows under the screen. The process will start

To view apk file of application you've just backup, simply go to SD Card root folder -> Backups -> Apps and you'll find it there.

How to extract media files contain within an Android Apk file/installer

Before we proceed, there is something you should know. In most Android apk file or application, the media files such as picture and audio are usually placed within the assets and res folder. Look for these two folders first before you check other folders within the Apk file. In rare occasion, you may find two res folder inside the apk file, check both folders. The res folder inside assets folder in most cases usually contains media files. Inside the asset folder you may also find a folder named data, this sometimes also contains the media files.

1.) Locate the Android Apk app file you want to extract its content in ES File Explorer
2.) Click on it and hold, a menu will show at the bottom of the screen
3.) Click "More" from the menu that shows and select "Open"
4.) In next screen that shows up, select "EZ Zip Viewer"
5.) Locate "assets" from lists of folders that display, if you find res within this folder then you are on the right path
6.) Click and hold the res folder, then click the extract button that shows under the screen
7.) Choose path and select the folder in which you want to extract the contents

Thats it.

Now that you have extract the res folder where media contents of the apk file is located, the next part is to identify the media files among other files within the res folder. This requires skills as most time the media files are named in alphanumeric or in random letters that mingles well with other files within the folder. Also, in most cases, the extension of media files are removed, so, it's hard to tell which of the files are media files and which are not. But don't worry, we will give you a head-start.

File size is one of the factors that can reveal those that are likely to be a media file and those that are not. An ordinary file that contains codes shouldn't weigh more than 500 kilobytes. You should start from the heaviest files in the folder to the lightest files. This will be easier to do on PC than on smartphone, but if you are good with mobile phone then that's fine. Just click and open each file within the res folder until you identify those that are media files.

It is easy once you know how to do it. Hope we've helped.

Please Note: Some games that requires additional data to be downloaded before they can work usually store their media files in a separate folder located in the phone external storage and NOT in the game apk installer. E.g Fifa game series. Getting media files of such games is also easy. You'll need to catch up with us on our next tutorial to learn that.

Update

If you are yet to understand how to track and extract media files contained within apk files when reading this tutorial, we are here to make it easier for you to grab. We feel the need of updating this post because many still don't get it right, and this time with a real example.

You will need to read the article from the beginning to understand this part.

How to Extract APK using ES Explorer

In the picture above, the apk file in number "1" is Candy Crush Saga (version 1.63.0.2). That's the app we will be using as an example. ES File Explorer is the file manager.

1.) The Candy Crush apk file is placed in one of the folders on the phone storage. ES File Explorer is used to navigate to where the apk file is. Long-clicking on the file brings out menu which can be seen below the screen, among the options is "More". Selecting "More" brings out another options which includes "Extract to".

2.) The "Extract to" is clicked and that brings out a tiny window with three options:
i. Candy Crush Saga
ii. Current Path
iii. Choose Path
In this case the "Current Path" was chosen. Selecting this option will extract the contents within the apk to the same folder where Candy Crush apk file is.

3.) The extraction has began. This might take some time.

4.) The extraction is complete. Now in the same folder where the Candy Crush Saga is we have four new folders and three files:
i. assets
ii. lib
iii. META-INF
iv. res
v. AndroidManifest.xml
vi. Classes.Dex
vii. resources.arsc
The "res" folder doesn't contains what we are looking for so we dive into the "assets" folder.

5.) In the "assets" folder there is another folder named "res_output". We look into this folder.

6.) And here we are, we have what we are looking, the "Sound" folder.

Media Contents in APK

7.) Diving into the "Sound" folder leads to two new folders, "sounds" folder and "music" folder, and two files "music.xml" and "sounds.xml". The "music" give us a clue that we are near to our target. In this case we opened the "music" folder.

8.) And there we have them, all the music files in the game. ES recognize these files as audio files because they all ends with ".ogg" which is an audio file extension. Some Android apps may choose to use ".mp3" or even ".mp4". In rare cases, the audio extension file may be removed. If removed, it might be difficult to know which is an audio file and which is not. In this case, you might "sort" the files by "size" and start from the heaviest, then open it one by one with a music player.

9.) Clicking on one of the audio files, ES brings out audio players that can play the file. In this case we choose "Music" which is our Android pre-installed audio player.

10.) The file is playing.

Hope these gives you a clue on how to locate and extract audio files in an Android apk file. Have a question? Drop it using the comment form.
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12 comments:

  1. Can you please teach me how to extract media and audio files that are not located in the apk installer?

    ReplyDelete
  2. If we get more request we may decide to.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "the next part is to identify the media files among other files within the res folder. This requires skills as most time the media files are named in alphanumeric or in random letters that mingles well with other files within the folder. Also, in most cases, the extension of media files are removed, so, it's hard to tell which of the files are media files and which are not. But don't worry, I will give you a head-start."

    This part was super vague and confusing, so now that I know the files named in random alphanumeric letter/number combinations are probably media files, how do we turn them into actual media files?

    your guide say "Just click and open each file within the res folder until you identify those that are media files." but clicking and opening the file doesn't do anything. It still asks you to choose a program to open it, are we just supposed to try every program available ....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Chuwei.

    Glad you ask that question. We believe many may have same question in mind when reading this article, it is good you let us know.

    Due to some policies on ground that may held us accountable for wrongdoing and treading on private property, we are unable to "fully" uncover the mystery behind the contents within the apk. However, to make this more understandable for visitors who are likely to arrive to this page in the future with same question as yours in mind, we'll be updating the article in the next few days.

    More info and detail explanation including real-life example will be added. Watch out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The post has been updated.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mohammed10:16 AM

    First of all I'm sorry if you see this comment is duplicated into other place I didn't notice the redirected of the browser on my phone) :D
    Still wondering how to get the media that doesn't located in the apk installer

    ReplyDelete
  7. How about when the images and songs aren't in the apk installer?

    ReplyDelete
  8. If the apk requires extra data such as obb file to work, then it maybe in the obb file and not in the apk. Also, in rare cases, the media may be located in the apk but in encrypted format. Most developers do this to prevent people from stealing their work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous2:33 AM

    What if the audio file has an odd extension such as '.swf'? None of my players can open that type of file but I'm 100% positive that it's the audio file.

    ReplyDelete
  10. .swf is not an audio extension, it is a flash-based extension. You can easily open it on PC that has flash player installed.

    ReplyDelete
  11. when i selected my apps and tapped the backup option on the bottom of screen it popped up a screen (And this apparently only showed up the 1st time so im assuming it simply defaulted my command) but it said the filename or app already exists would you like to : Rename, Remove, a 3rd option i cant remeber, and a dot option along the lines i believe of "Skip to all", being dumb-founded about it, i just hit my phones back space bottom and it simply started backing up as how here explains it should do.

    My Question is: What if one DOES NOT have an sdcard? does it matter? it still showed as backed up to sdcard root folder, but when i link up to my PC, i cannot find this sdcard folder, just a Phone root folder to an Android folder with 3 folders inside: data, media, obb. Where can i find this sdcard folder once linked to my PC? All else appears to have worked

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Austin It seems you are commenting on the wrong thread. The comment you made is related to this post http://www.ccnworldtech.com/2014/09/how-to-auto-backup-android-apps-when.html

    Regarding your question, if your phone does not have a MicroSD slot or does not have a SD card inserted, ES has the ability to sense it and will auto create a folder named "Backups" at the root of external partition available on your device. While most Android phones has multiple partitions, ES File Explorer most time chooses the partition with largest capacity for backing up files, that is "if" SD card is not inserted.

    To view all backed-up application files on PC, locate the folder named "Backups" in the root of your MicroSD card or internal storage, right inside you will see another folder named "Apps", this is where all the backed-up apps are saved.

    ReplyDelete

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