First off, this is not a guide to pirating apps. There are legit reasons for wanting to backup your applications. Sometimes an older version of the app worked better, or had features you liked better. Sometimes new versions don’t work with specific phones and you need to revert back. Now, you can use AppManager to backup most apps, but protected apps are not included in this because they are stored in a different directory. With a rooted phone, you can access this directory and copy the apps to your SD card or to your computer. After all, you paid for it, it’s yours. If you want to pirate apps, or buy an app, copy it then return it, that’s on you, I’m not advocating that.
First method, copy with your phone to SD card:
- Install and open a Terminal Emulator on your phone.
- Enter su to be superuser (root).
- Enter cd /data/app-private/ to enter the protected application directory.
- Use ls to view the apps in the directory.
- Enter cp filename.apk /sdcard to copy a single app to your SD card.
(Or to backup all the protected apps: cp * /sdcard)
- If you want to backup all your apps, they can be found in /data/app/
Second method is to use Android Debug Bridge with your PC:
- Install the Android SDK on your PC
- Connect your phone to your computer via USB cable, and make sure USB debugging is enabled on your phone (Settings > Applications > Development)
- Enter adb shell to fire up Debug Bridge and enter shell mode
- Enter su to become superuser
- Enter cat /data/app-private/filename.apk > /sdcard/filename.apk to copy the file to the SD card.
- And finally adb pull /sdcard/filename.apk filename.apk pulls the .apk file from your SD card to your computer.
Success? Problems? Moral issues with copying software? Let us know in the comments.