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Is there such thing as an APK archive?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Double44, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Double44

    Double44 Member
    Thread Starter

    I'm looking for a site that manages a reputable, safe archive of Google Play store apps. Is there such a thing?

    I've tried backing up apps using SystemPanel Pro and ES File Explorer, but all paid apps cannot be backed up due to copy-protection. I'm assuming is all thanks to Google. On a stock ROM, is there any way to dig and copy these copy-protected apk's using a file explorer?

    funpig likes this.

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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Well the reason for copy protection on paid apps is fairly obvious, so it's only "thanks to Google" in that they provided the developers a little bit of protection against piracy.

    If you are running Android 4 then the Carbon backup app might be your best bet for backing such apps up. I assume you want to keep a copy of older versions, since you can always re-download the latest from the play store.

    I don't know of a site which does what you want (which I'm assuming means older versions, or copies of apps withdrawn from the play store, because otherwise you just use the play store itself). For some apps the developers' own site might have older versions available. Otherwise what you are asking for is effectively an alternative app store (i.e. has developers' permissions to distribute their apps, and a means of taking/checking purchases before allowing downloading of paid apks - because if a site doesn't have both of these it's piracy and we can't discuss it here) which also allows you to install older versions. There are alternative app stores (amazon, appbrain, getjar) but I don't know of one which has that last feature.
  3. jefboyardee

    jefboyardee Extreme Android User

    With AppMonster Pro Backup Restore, all versions are stored as APKs in its folder. With any file manager you can dig them up and install them over the current version. I have backdated about twenty apps that way just so they fit in my eensy Ascend.
    Hadron, Double44 and funkylogik like this.
  4. Double44

    Double44 Member
    Thread Starter

    I bought these copy-protected apps. Shouldn't the person who bought into the product get to do whatever he/she wants with the APK? I understand that this isn't a perfect world, but those who pirate have got to be part of a very small majority.
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Usually you don't buy software, you buy a license to use the software, subject to condions. It's not quite the same thing.

    So no, while ways of bypassing this do exist, the developers do have the right to copy-protect if that's what they choose.
    valorian and mikedt like this.
  6. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog

    Actually Pirating apps is a major thing. In China for instance pirating is a very big deal. There is a lot more pirating than you would think. Even Free Apps get pirated usually for malicious purposes.
    Stannis the Mannis and mikedt like this.
  7. John Bean

    John Bean Happy Wanderer

    Absolutely. And in the case of most Android apps the licence is far more liberal than on most platforms, usually allowing use on multiple devices on a single Google account simultaneously.

    I'm hard pressed to think of any convincing reason to want to circumvent copy protection of any app available from the Play store; I see no need for a sideways copy when the original is always retrievable by the legitimate user should the need arise.
  8. Slug

    Slug Check six!
    VIP Member

    A bad update springs to mind. Case in point.... Titanium Backup was recently updated but a bug caused it to fc whenever an app was selected for backup/restore. Without a previous working version to revert to, users had no option but to wait for a fix, which fortunately appeared within hours.
    argedion, mikedt and Hadron like this.
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Yeah. Personally I also use Titanium in case an app update is (in my opinion) retrograde - allows me to simply roll back to an earlier version. There are definitely reasons you might want to keep your own backup copies. But that doesn't mean that copy protection is illegitimate.

    However, Titanium requires root. That's why I suggested giving Carbon, which doesn't, a go.
  10. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Sometimes malicious yes, there was a thread this morning concerning a copy of Asphalt 8, that apparently didn't come from Google Play. Had suspicious permissions in it that weren't put there by Gameloft. What often happens with pirated free/ad-supported aps is that the ad code will be changed. So that the pirate gets the ad money and not the original devs.
    argedion likes this.
  11. John Bean

    John Bean Happy Wanderer

    Indeed. Keeping personal backups for any software has always been (and still is) a sensible thing to do and rarely infringes the software licence.

    This isn't what the OP was asking about though, and my response was addressing the OP question about public archives ("I'm looking for a site that manages a reputable, safe archive of Google Play store apps") which is a completely different thing from personal backups.
  12. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Not likely to happen, not without the express permission of Google. And then there's the issue of copy protection on paid apps, ahem DMCA*. We have a "safe archive of Google Play Store apps" here in China though...reputable!!...AARR! :rolleyes::D

    * 17 USC
  13. codesplice

    codesplice Elite Recognized Moderator

    The app is actually Helium (Koushik had to change the name from Carbon thanks to a nasty letter he got from Carbonite), and while it doesn't require root it also is unable to back up copy-protected APKs.
    Hadron likes this.
  14. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Damn, I knew about the name change but picked the wrong one :banghead:
  15. Sandgoose

    Sandgoose Member

    I like google less and less recently so was looking for something similar.

    I found https://f-droid.org/ lets you download apk files right to your pc without having an account but there library is somewhat limited and I beleve it is also only free software (some may be ad monetized) not sure who runs it but it seems ok.

    alternative(and I was thinking of doing this one myself)
    get a cheap rooted china tablet, The spec does not matter much as long as it has the google play.
    make a throw away google account on the thing (all you need to provide is a username,password and capcha)
    install titanium backup.
    install the apps you want to put on your main device

    I have not done this but how I understand it titanium will then let you save the installed apps as apk files so you can install them on other devices that don't have google accounts.

    I also hear the amazon store is ok too, and they give out a daily (or was it weekly) free app if your just looking to replace google with another store but I afaik they don't give apk files and it may just be as bad as using google play (I have not tried it)

    Good luck

    edit:after rereading this again I'm not sure it is what you want? I think you can backup your legit apps with titanium though ?
  16. !on

    !on Android Expert

    I use appcombine (not sure if still available) to backup apks to sdcard. One or two apps are paid ones & I got them working after flashing many roms.

    Perhaps it is a limitation of the actual app(s) that won't let you refresh it into it's paid state (ie: has payment history in the app). Surely when you select "allow google to backup your data & settings" your google account remembers what apps are paid?
  17. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Many apps start as free versions that get installed to the unprotected area of the system. When you pay, the additional features may be unlocked with a key or a full paid version gets installed into protected memory. Those you won't be able to save.
    !on likes this.
  18. dibblebill

    dibblebill Android Expert

    I've actually yet to run into an app that Titanium Backup won't restore. Some apps actually have a backlog of old versions, like Titanium Backup and ES File Explorer, on their respective websites, but most don't. I've wanted to roll back to old versions of apps before when I ran into issues with new updates (Asphalt 7 comes to mind), and TiBa saved me.
  19. icicle

    icicle Member

    I don't think there is such a thing, "safe archive of Google Play store apps", but you can always confirm if an APK you downloaded is legit by comparing the signature of the APK with those found in Play Store.

    If you don't know how, a simple way is simply install it over an legit version. Android only allow APK with same signature to install (update) over a lower version.

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