Google is preparing to adopt Android App Bundles (AAB) as a new file format and bids farewell to APK (Android Package) format. From August 2021, this new file format standard will start rolling out for apps downloaded from the Play Store. However, .AAB format is only applicable for new apps / games.
An Application Bundle (AAB) installs only the files that your phone requires to run a particular app or game. This means only updated files and not all files many of which may not be relevant to your phone.
Read the article to learn more about the new .AAB files and the ways in which you can install app bundles on your Android phones. Let us check it out.
How are AAB files different from APK files
First, let’s take an in-depth look at what .AAB files are and how they differ from APK files. The .AAB format helps app or game developers to split their apps into multiple files and only those relevant to the Android phone requesting the update. .AAB files also include important core APK files.
Then there are installation files which make up the various attributes of the app or game. When you download a standard APK file from play store or any other source, it installs the whole APK.
The whole APK includes application codes, resource files like images, audio, language pack. However, since the developers are developing a universal app, not all files installed through APKs may be relevant for all devices.
On the other hand, Android App Bundle installs the basic APK, codes and resource files needed to run on a specific Android phone. This means less use of data and storage.
Best Apps to Install AAB Files on Android Device
.AAB files may look nice and advantageous over APK because of their advantages in data and memory usage. However, for many users, this might make the sideloading process a bit difficult.
To make it easier for you, we have listed five apps that will help you install .AAB files on your Android phone. Note that .AAB files are available in different formats, including .XAPK, .APKM, and .APK.
The good thing is that all of the apps below can handle almost any type of .AAB file format. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
1. APKMirror installer
One of the best ways to install Android app bundles on your Android device is through the APKMirror installer. It has a lot of apps or games. Most importantly, these files are safe for installation. In addition to normal APK files, you can use this installer to install .APK, .XAPK, and .APK application files.
To download the Android app bundle file using APKMirror installer, you need to search for the app. Then click on the “Install package” button. It will start to download the .AAB file and install this file on your Android phone using the installer.
2. Installer for the application set
App Bundle Installer is another alternative you can opt for installing .AAB files. Although the app is free, some advertisements may appear here and there. In addition, the application is still in the early access phase. So, you may encounter some bugs or issues while using it.
The problem with using the App Bundle Installer is that it doesn’t come with its app repository. This means you need to download the .AAB file to your Android phone first. Then you can use this installer to install the app on your device. The user interface of the app is minimal and clean.
3. Split APKs Installer (SAI)
You can use Split APKs Installer app to install .AAB file format along with others including .APK, .XAPK, split APK files and unencrypted .APKM files (from APKMirror). It is an open source application which can also upload .APK files to your Android phone.
Install Split APKs Installer from the Play Store and run it. First, find the Android app bundle file using the file picker. The Split APKs installer will then automatically select the appropriate files suitable for your device. Split APKs Installer allows you to choose which files you want to install along with the .APK file.
4.Package Manager & Split APK / App Bundle Installer
Package Manager & Split APK / App bundle Installer is a powerful app which can manage multiple .AAB files. For some advanced features like uninstallation of an individual or a batch of files, activation / deactivation of an individual or a batch of apps, you need to grant root access on your device.
But for all the basic things including installing .AAB files, you can keep your device unrooted. The app has a nice and clean list view interface. The app also allows you to explore the contents of app bundle files, view app information, uninstall apps, etc.
5. XAPKS installer
Finally, we have the XAPKS installer. You can use the XAPKS installer for batch installation of .APK, .XAPK, .APKM, and .OBB files. In particular, it does not include an application repository. You can also use it to install .AAB files from your phone’s internal or external storage.
It also has a backup and restore function using which you back up .APK and .AAB files. XAPKS installer also offers dark mode, can display app features and installer dialogs. It is available for free in the Google Play Store.
New file format, some changes
Sideloading application bundles is not an easy process. Fortunately, the apps mentioned above will allow you to do this quite easily on your device. Moreover, .AAB file format saves data and storage space and provides more optimized downloads to user by preventing installation of unwanted files on your phone. So it’s very interesting to see if more developers would switch to app bundles compared to the standard APK and what the future holds for .AAB files.
Last updated on August 11, 2021
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