Pull apk from device

Have you ever wanted to save an old version of an app you got on your phone that is no longer offered by the Android Market in a usable version?
Either to save for later, before replacing with a newer dubious version (e.g. K9 destroyed their good app), or to use on another device.

First of it is important to notice that this does not work for all apk. I do not know any way to find out if it does, other than simply to try… (and I have no workarounds)


Common initial steps (fetching or pushing)

  1. Fetch the ADB software suiting your OS.
  2. Activate the phones “Developer mode”
    (Slightly dependent on device and Android version but similar to: Settings►About, tap Buildnumber about 7 times. then Settings►System►Developer Options, enable “USB Debugging”)
  3. Attach the cable, (accept any confirmation box to allow that pc to attach in developer mode).


Guide for fetching

  1. Find package name, e.g. by 3c All-In-One ToolBox, Apps, (browse and find), Open, Details
    e.g. QuickPic 5.0.0 :  com.alensw.PicFolder
  2. adb shell pm path com.alensw.PicFolder
  3. This outputs something like
  4. Use the full path from this to pull to a local file
  5. adb pull /data/app/com.alensw.PicFolder-5uHdR7QVpulcz3aSf91WwQ==/base.apk  YourLocalNameForQuickPic.apk


Check why it is gone

If it is not just a matter of a bad version replacing a good one, then it could be worth digging a little into why it is no longer in the Android Market for your device, before adding it.

First check if the app is at all still available in the Android Market (with its new silly name), but just is not shown on your other device (for whatever reason). In a browser try

  •  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alensw.PicFolder

IF it is still available there, it might simply be Google hiding it for your device because they doomed that it can not run on it (that being true or not).

If it is completely gone, try to google a bit and see if people mentions it as e.g. malware or spyware, so there might be good reasons for it being removed. It could also merely be an app Google do not like, because it helps in keeping their bloat down, or try to channel sales out of Googles greedy hands, or something else they dislike.


Guide for pushing it to device

  1. To push the apk to the Download folder, run
  2. adb push YourLocalNameForQuickpic.apk storage/emulated/0/Download
  3. With your favourite file-explorer on the device go to Download, find the .apk and install it.
    (dependent on the file explorer, some tapping it. but you are likely to be asked if you want to give your explorer access to install packages)