The new adventure of “sideloading” has certainly taken on quite an evolution:
- Back since OS 2 of the Playbook and the early days of BB10, we were able to quickly sideload simple apps – but not apps using Android native code.
- Along came what has become known as “the xsacha method” to use the DebugToken to sideload apps that use native code, such as Angry Birds
- For me, there were still a bunch of apps that didn’t work until AT&T graced me with the OS 10.1 upgrade
- Along came the solid 10.2 leak which suddenly opened the door to even more Android apps that required a higher version of the Android OS than the Gingerbread that 10.1 had to offer, e.g. Feedly
- First, download and unpack the APKTool application
- Place the APK you want to modify in the same directory. Let’s call the APK Foo.apk
- Get a Command Prompt in that directory (Shift+Right-click, Open Command Window Here should work in recent versions of Windows)
- Type the following command:
apktool d Foo.apk Foo
This will create a sub-directory called Foo and decode the APK contents into it. Don’t close the Command Prompt just yet.
- Go into the Foo directory and open the AndroidManifest.xml file in your favourite text editor
- If the Google Maps API is the only problem, you are looking for the following line:
- Modify it to look like so:
(Repeat this process for any other required library which might be causing problems.)
- After saving the XML file, go back to the Command Prompt. Type the following command to repackage the APK to Foo2.apk:
apktool b Foo Foo2.apk
- I wish I could say we were done. But unfortunately, I’ve found that since the resulting, modified APK is not signed, it will fail when you try to convert it to a .BAR
- The simplest way around I found, based on this YouTube video was the SignAPK app. Follow the instructions in the video description to download and unpack the utility.
- NEW: I’ve added one step to make using SignAPK that much easier. In the the SignAPK directory, add a batch file, SignAPK.bat with the following code:
java -jar signapk.jar certificate.pem key.pk8 %1 %~n1-signed.apk
Now, simply place Foo2.bar in the same directory and drag-and-drop it onto SignAPK.bat. This will automatically produce Foo2-signed.apk. The next step is no longer necessary.
- Place Foo2.bar in the same directory and run the following command in a Command Prompt:
java -jar signapk.jar certificate.pem key.pk8 Foo2.apk Foo2-signed.apk
- (Obviously, you need to have Java on the machine for that to work but anyone who’s come this far almost certainly does.)