Android Basics – Learn how the APK file Works in Android

Once you have transferred an APK file to your Android device its stored in /data/app/<package-name>

The classes.dex file is extracted from it and it’s converted to native library, when the App is run the first time, and stored in /data/dalvik-cache. This Machine Code can be run by the CPU.

Each Android device runs a process called Zygote. When an App needs to run Zygote creates a forked version of itself. Which means its a process in memory. Using this forked process and by loading the native library the App can be loaded pretty quickly.

Android Basics – Understanding Android Run Time, Dalvik and APK

If you are familiar with the Java Virtual Machine(JVM) then you will know that a JVM works on class files which are comprised of byte code. A class file is a compiled version of the Java code.

When it comes to Android then the Java code is first compiled to a class file which in turn is converted to a file called classes.dex –¬†Dalvik Executable format. This is done by a tool called dx

Like JVM in Android’s case its Dalvik which works on the dex file.

A JVM is stack based processor whereas Dalvik is register based. Both are virtual processors though.

The classes.dex file is then compressed with a bunch of other files, like resource and data files, into a ZIP file called an Application Package or APK

This is the file you will eventually upload to the Google Play Store.