[TOOL] Tickle My Android - Decompile & Recompile With Ease

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By Ticklefish, Recognized Themer on 3rd May 2012, 04:15 PM
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Announcement from Ticklefish: Version 16.5 Available Now. Link In The 1st Post.

Tickle​ My Android - Over Seven Years Old And Still Going Strong!

Download version 16.5 from here:

Click The Box Below For The Changelog:
Version 16.5 - Fixed apktool 1.5.2. usage, new future-proof option for reusing original signature [size=2]
Version 16.4 - Extra decompiling option, colour options available Version 16.3 - Apktool 2.4.1, new decompiling option, decompile then recompile option added
Version 16.2 - Bug fixes, AOSP framework integration, Java help integration
Version 16.1 - Bug fixes
Version - Complete rewrite and redesign with emphasis on speed, efficiency and ease-of-use

Click The Box Below To See The Credits:
(All The People I Have To Thank)
Big thanks go to these people, without their hard work none of this would be possible:
@Brut.all, @iBotPeaches, @scrosler and @JesusFreke.
I actually have a lot more people to thank than that.
So many, in fact, that it now crashes the website if I try to list them all!
So thank you so much to everybody who's helped over the years. You're all amazing people!

Click Here For Frequently Asked Questions And Help

TMA is a quick, powerful and easy-to-use tool that uses a piece of java called "apktool" to decompile and recompile Android app's.

Along with that, Tickle My Android offers the ability to:
  • decompile and recompile multiple files in a batch,
  • sign APK and JAR files
  • zipalign APK files,
  • create flashable ZIP files,
  • let you choose between multiple versions of Apktool
  • lets you theme up to eight different roms or devices at the same time,
  • use the tool in different languages
  • control the tool by keyboard or MOUSE!

To use Tickle My Android, you will need:
  • - a rooted Android phone or tablet with USB Debugging enabled and a custom recovery installed,
  • - any version of Android on that device,
  • - a Windows PC (XP or above) with the phone or tablet's drivers installed,
  • - Java Runtime Environment 8.0 or above installed to your PATH (http:​//www.​java.​com/en/download/help/path.​xml​),
  • - a USB cable to connect your device to the PC,
  • - patience and a little common sense
If you're running Android 4.3 or above, you'll also need to give USB Debugging permission on your phone when this sort of message pops up on the screen:

(Thanks to @carl1961​ for the picture)

Download the latest version from the link at the top of this post and run it. (Please don't look in the 'Downloads' tab - it's not working right now.) This is a self-extracting archive which, once it's extracted everything, will put on your PC a new folder called "Tickle My Android". This is where the tool runs from.

The "_WorkArea1", "_WorkArea2", "_WorkArea3", "_WorkArea4", "_WorkArea5", "_WorkArea6", "_WorkArea7" and "_WorkArea8" folders we'll talk about later.
The "tool_files" folder contains various files Tickle My Android needs to run. Don't touch these!
The "user_files" folder holds different versions of Apktool, as well as the different language files.

And the "Tickle My Android" exe file starts the tool. Double click on that and away we go!

How To De/recompile An App

If you want to know about decompiling and recompiling APK and JAR files, take a look at the second post in this thread. There's a lot to talk about!

How To Add An Application To A Flashable ZIP

Head to the third post in this thread to find out how to add APK and JAR files to a flashable ZIP!

What Happens If It Goes Wrong?

Tickle My Android has been designed to be easy to use but the very nature of Android means that things might not always go smoothly.

If you're having problems, look at the 4th post in this thread: http:​//forum.​xda-developers.​com/s...tcount=​4​ This is the FAQ post which should hopefully be able to help you out.

If you're still having trouble, please feel free to post in here. Include your "history.txt" and I'll try to get to back to you as soon as I can!

How To Say "Thanks"..

TMA is free and always will be. You can use it as much as you like, you don't owe me anything.

But, if you want to give something back, please consider placing one of the banners below somewhere in your signature.

Your support lets me know I'm doing something useful and it keeps this tool alive!! Spread the word!

XDA:DevDB Information
[TOOL] Tickle My Android - Decompile & Recompile With Ease, Tool/Utility for the Android General


Version Information
Status: Stable
Current Stable Version: 16.3
Stable Release Date: 2019-11-30

Created 2018-11-30
Last Updated 2019-12-03

XDA:DevDB Information
[TOOL] Tickle My Android - Decompile & Recompile With Ease, Tool/Utility for the Android General


Version Information
Status: Stable
Current Stable Version: 16.5
Stable Release Date: 2020-03-12

Created 2018-11-30
Last Updated 2020-03-12
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3rd May 2012, 04:16 PM |#2  
How To De/recompile An App

Decompiling and recompiling an Android app for the first time can seem quite complicated and time-consuming, but it really isn't once you know what you're doing.

First you'll need to choose which WorkArea you want to use. There are eight WorkAreas in total, which means you can easily work on up to eight different rom's or devices without having to reset the tool everytime you want to change from one to the other.

Inside each WorkArea are five folders. The '_in' folder is where files about to be decompiled go, the '_working' folder contains the results of that decompiling and the '_out' folder contains the recompiled files. There's also a "Frameworks" folder, which will contain the framework files you've installed. You can pretty much ignore that last one most of the time.

(When you first use TMA,​ you'll be in WorkArea 1 by default.)

To decompile an app, you'll first need to put the relevant APK in the "_in" folder. You can either copy this into the folder yourself or you can 'pull' it from your Android device. If you want to pull the file, this next section is for you. If you don't, skip ahead to the one after that.

How To Pull A File

First select the "Pull File[s] From Device" option.

This gives you the option of pulling some of the most commonly modified system apps, or any other file you wish.

Choose which file you want to pull and the tool will try to do that for you. If the pull fails, it could be that you don't have the adb drivers installed on your PC for your particular device, or the file doesn't exist, or any one of a number of things. Have a look in the "history.txt" file that's automatically generated to see what's going on.

That's actually all we need to know about pulling - it's really not that complicated. Once you've pulled all the files you need, you can move on to decompiling them. But you might need to install your frameworks first..

How To Install Framework Files

If you want to modify a system app (like SystemUI.apk or framework.jar) you'll need to install the right framework files. These are files that contain resources that are shared amongst most of the system apps. Those resources need to be made accessible to apktool (the program that does the actual decompiling) or the app won't decompile fully and it won't work.

There are many framework files available. Stock Android only comes with one (so far) and it's called "framework-res.apk". OEM's like to include their own, though, just to make life more interesting. Samsung used to have "twframework-res.apk" in their rom's before replacing it with "samsung-framework-res.apk". Framework files are found in "system/framework" on your devices internal memory and should be an APK file with "res" in the filename. You need to make sure you install every framework file in your rom to ensure a system app decompiles, so make sure they all are put in the "_in" folder.

Select the "Install Framework File[s]" option and choose whether you want to install all the framework files in your WorkArea or some individual ones. You can select up to five individual files to install in one go.

If the tool isn't able to install the files you'll be shown an error, otherwise you'll go back to the install menu. If you've installed all the framework files you need to, go back to the title menu because we're finally ready to do some decompiling!

How To Decompile A File

Select the "Decompile File[s]" option and choose whether you want to decompile all the files in the "_in" folder or individual ones.

Once you've chosen your files, you'll be asked whether you want to decompile with "Standard" or "Advanced" settings. This is new to Version 16 of Tickle My Android. Apktool has a lot of different options when it comes to decompiling and you can now choose which ones you want to use. The standard settings will just make the tool try to decompile the entire file, as it used to in previous versions. The advanced settings let you control the process a little better..

These are the main decompile options available for the latest version of apktool available at time of writing (2.4.0.). Full explanations of each are available on the apktool github here: To give you an idea though, you can use "Don't Decode DEX Files" if you don't want to modify any smali files, which makes the decompile a lot faster!

Choose your options and the tool will try to decompile your file for you. If it succeeds the decompiled files will be in the "_working" folder, if not you'll get an error message. The full details of that error will be in the "history.txt" file.

Once your app is decompiled you will be free to modify it however you like. Change images, alter layouts, add functionality..whatever you want to do. When you're done, you'll need to recompile your app to be able to use it again.

How To Recompile A File

Select the "Recompile File[s]" option and choose whether you want to recompile all the files in the "_working" folder or individual ones.

Once you've chosen your files, you'll again be asked if you want to recompile with standard or advanced settings.

You can find explanations of the first few options on the apktool github again: It is very important to know what the options that you've selected but there are two that's worth paying extra attention to..

"Copy Original "AndroidManifest.xml" And "META-INF" Folder" - Modified system apps need to be signed with the same 'key' as the original app, or they won't run. This option ensures that the original key is used on the new app. If you want to change the Manifest file, though, you'll need a different key which involves disabling signature verification. That's a bit more complicated than this tool allows for..

"Use "aapt2" [apktool_2.3.2+]" - More recent apps can be constructed with a newer version of a tool called aapt. If you're trying to modify a file made with the newer version, you'll need to have this option actve for the recompile to work. There's no easy way to tell if this is needed or not so, if you get an error, try again with the option turned off.

(Different versions of apktool will have different options. Selecting an option that isn't available on the version of apktool you're using will cause an error.)

There are also options to sign and zipalign your recompiled apps. Signing uses a generic key and zipaligning can sometimes break V2 signature checks so, if you've no idea what that all means, it's best to leave these options alone until you know you need them.

And TMA has an option to put your recompiled apps into a ZIP file that you can flash in a custom recovery. I'll go into this in more detail in the next post but I always recommend replacing system apps this way. It's much safer than trying to replace them while the phone is running.

Choose your settings and sit back while the tool does its thing.

Once it's finished you'll get a message saying the file recompiled...or one saying it didn't. If it didn't, you can find the full error text in history.txt.

If your file recompiled, you'll find it in the "_out" folder. It's now ready to go back to your phone.

It's up to you how you do that but the route I always recommend above all others is using a flashable ZIP file. Check out the next post if you want to know more!
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3rd May 2012, 04:17 PM |#3  
How To Create A Flashable ZIP File

Once you've got a recompiled app, you need to put back to your phone. If you've modified a system app, I always suggest using a flashable ZIP file in recovery. That way you're replacing part of the system, while the system isn't running. Using a file manager app, or using adb, is asking for trouble. I've broken a tablet that way and nearly a phone as well.

Tickle My Android can create that flashable ZIP for you and it's really easy to do so. You can either tell the tool to do it as soon as the app's recompiled, or use the dedicated option on the title screen.

To start, select the "Create Flashable ZIP File" option from the title screen. You'll then be asked if you want to use files from the "_in" folder or "_out" folder. This can be handy if you want to make a flashable ZIP of the unmodified apps. I normally have at least one of those containing my original SystemUI.apk just in case a mod goes wrong.

Next you'll be asked to choose your files. You can add up to five files to the flashable ZIP. Once you've confirmed which file, or files, you want to use you'll be asked where those files are going in the ZIP.

Make sure your apps go back to the right folder. If you put a modified framework-res.apk in the "system/app/" folder, for instance, those modifications won't be actioned.

Once you've chosen where the files are going, you'll next be asked what filename you want the ZIP file to have. TMA will automatically generate one for you based on the current date and time, but you can have whatever filename you want. Make sure not to use too many special characters or it could confuse the tool and/or the recovery. If you want to use the default filename, just press ENTER.

The tool will now ask you to confirm all the details.

If you're happy, then the ZIP will be made and placed in the same folder as the tool.

Copy this to your phone, flash it in reoovery and enjoy! But always, always, always make sure you have a backup first!!
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3rd May 2012, 04:18 PM |#4  

Having trouble using Tickle My Android?
Something not making sense?
Something not working the way it should?
Read on..

Q. I can't de/recompile something!

A. With Android being open-source, more and more companies and developers are putting their own spin on the OS and it's not unusual to find that something won't compile even when there's no obvious reason why it should.

I can help..but you need to do something for me first.

In the tool's folder, you'll find a file called 'history.txt'.

Share that file with me and let me know a little bit about what's going wrong.

That should give me enough information that I will be able to fix your problem.

Please be aware that I won't be able to help you without this information.

Q. I'm getting a 'Java Not Installed" error...but I do have Java installed!!

A. You may have Java installed...but you probably don't have it in your PATH.

TMA is a batch file, which runs in a command-line environment. If you don't have Java in your PATH, the tool won't be able to access it and won't be able to do any decompiling or recompiling at all.

Adding Java to your PATH is actually a lot easier than it seems. Have a look at the official guide here:

(Big thanks to @carl1961 for the pictures!)
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3rd May 2012, 04:32 PM |#5  
si_bolang's Avatar
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required SDK &other tools?

Sent from my GT-S5660 using Tapatalk 2
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3rd May 2012, 04:46 PM |#6  
Originally Posted by si_bolang

required SDK &other tools?

Sent from my GT-S5660 using Tapatalk 2

Nope, everything that's needed is included. You do need to have the right drivers installed but that's about it.
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4th May 2012, 10:53 PM |#7  
Cach123's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Ticklefish

Nope, everything that's needed is included. You do need to have the right drivers installed but that's about it.

Hey, how do i get transparensy statusbar? i use cm 7.2 can it work then ?

Edit: Great tool btw
5th May 2012, 12:05 AM |#8  
Decompile your framework-res.apk and SystemUI.apk, then use the Change Status Bar Color option. :)

It should work on your rom but not every launcher supports transparent statusbars. Let me know how you get on!

Oh,and thanks!

Sent from my SK17i using xda premium
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5th May 2012, 07:56 AM |#9  
X-Droidinary's Avatar
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Flag Wyong, NSW
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Just wondering if you could make these for me with your tool cos i'm likely to do something wrong if I try it myself lol.

I don't want on screen buttons.

5th May 2012, 10:51 AM |#10  
tarekh020's Avatar
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 181
How to change status bar in cm7.2 to make look like miui status bar

Like This :
5th May 2012, 04:50 PM |#11  
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 310
First off, thank you! This seems like a great useful tool. The problem im having is that following the steps above, whenever i get to where i decompile the apks and its says the files are placed in the "working" folder, nothing is in there? What could i be doing wrong?
Thanks for your help
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