Google is moving to adopt Android App Bundles (AAB) as a new file format and bidding farewell to the APK (Android Package) format. Starting August 2021, this new file format standard will start rolling out for apps uploaded to the Play Store. However, the .AAB format is applicable only for the new apps/games.
An app bundle (AAB) only installs the files required by your phone to run a particular app or game. That means, only the updated files and not all the files out of which many may not be relevant to your phone.
Read on the post to know more about the new .AAB files and the ways via 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 us take a deep dive into what .AAB files are and how they are different from APK files. The .AAB format helps the app or game developers split their apps into multiple files and only the ones relevant to the Android phone that requests the update. The .AAB files also include the important ones from the base APK.
Then there are installation files that 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 entire APK.
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The entire APK includes app codes, resource files such as images, audio, language pack. However, since developers develop a universal app, not all the files installed via APK may be relevant to all devices.
On the other hand, Android App Bundle installs the base APK, codes, and the resource files required to run on a specific Android phone. That means lower data and storage use.
Best Apps to Install AAB Files on an Android Device
The .AAB files may sound nice and advantageous over APK due to their lower data and memory usage perks. However, for many users, it could make the sideloading process a bit difficult.
To make it easier, we have listed down 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 the apps below can handle almost any type of .AAB file format. Let us check them out, one by one.
1. APKMirror installer
One of the best ways to install Android app bundles on your Android device is the APKMirror installer. It has a lot of apps or games. More importantly, these files are safe for installation. Along with normal APK files, you can make use of this installer to install .APK, .XAPK, and .APK app bundle files.
To download the Android app bundle file using the APKMirror installer, you need to search for the app. Then click on the "Install Package" button. It will begin downloading the .AAB file and install that file on your Android phone using the installer.
App Bundle Installer is another alternative, which you can opt for installing .AAB files. Though the app is free of cost, some ads may pop up here and there. Moreover, the app is still in the early access phase. So, you may come across some bugs or glitches while using it.
The catch in using App Bundle Installer is it does not come with its app repository. It means you first need to download the .AAB file on your Android phone. Then you can make use of this installer to install the app on your device. The app's user interface is minimal and uncluttered.
You can use the 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 app that can also sideload .APK files on your Android phone.
Install Split APKs Installer from the Play Store and run it. First, search the Android app bundle file using the file picker. The Split APKs Installer will then automatically select the appropriate files which are apt for your device. Split APKs Installer lets you choose the files that you wish to install along with the .APK file.
Package Manager & Split APK/App bundle Installer is a powerful application that can handle multiple .AAB files. For some advanced features, like uninstalling an individual or batch of files, enabling/disabling an individual or batch of apps, you need to grant root access on your device.
But for all the basic things including installation of .AAB files, you can keep your device un-rooted. The app has a nice and clean list view interface. The app also lets you explore the contents of the app bundle files, show app info, uninstall apps, etc.
Last but not least, we have the XAPKS Installer. You can use the XAPKS Installer for batch installing .APKs, .XAPK, .APKM, and .OBB files. Notably, it does not feature an app 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 feature using which you backup .APK and .AAB files. The XAPKS Installer also features dark mode, can show app features and installer dialogues. It is available for free in the Google Play Store.
Sideloading app bundles is not an easy process. Fortunately, the apps mentioned above will let you do that pretty easily on your device. Additionally, the .AAB file format saves data and storage space and provides more optimized downloads to the user by preventing unwanted files from getting installed on your phone. So, this makes it very interesting to see if more developers would switch to app bundles over standard APK and what the future lies ahead for .AAB files.
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