Android: what are the differences between applications in apk, aab and apkm formats?

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Discover the most important details about the different formats that exist when installing applications on your mobile device: apk, aab and apkm formats

Google is constantly striving to optimize the experience of its users, and applications are a big part of that.

Did you know that there are several formats for Android applications?

In this article we explain the main differences between .apk, .aab and .apkm formats, which are essential for knowing how the download and installation process works.

Differences between apk, aab and apkm formats

apk format

An apk (“Android package”) file is an executable package that contains enough components to install an application on Android devices. To better understand how it works, it is similar to the Windows .exe file.

Moreover, it is the current format of the Android applications you download from the Google Play Store, although they will soon be replaced by the .aab format. The reason is that .apk files are taking up more and more space on devices.

Also, they can be downloaded via alternative stores and installed on your Android. However, this can be a problem, as the file would contain a virus that affects the performance of your mobile, so you should carefully analyze where the download comes from.

The new aab format


A few years ago, Google announced App Bundles as the new Android application format, which aims to offer users faster installations, as well as smaller programs.

The aab includes the code and resources of the application, but the Google Play Store is responsible for generating the APK file with only the necessary elements for it to work on each device. In other words, the store acts as an intermediary and leaves out the data that is not useful. In this way, the download is light and the installation much faster.

The apkm format


Application packages make it difficult for application hackers to survive. However, those responsible for the APKMirror store have designed a format to continue offering the installation of applications external to the Google Play Store.

The APKM includes the APK file of each app, with the resources it needs to run on each device. To install these apps, you need the APKMirror installer . You can get this platform for free from the Google Play Store. It does not break any rules, since it is an installer.

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