Understanding Android app size

from the CommonsWare Community archives

At May 18, 2020, 10:27am, Shahood asked:


I’m testing following two options for bundling data with my Android app:

  1. A pre-populated SQLite database having size 19.8MB, placed in assets folder

  2. 08 .csv files containing data to be populated in SQLite database on first app launch, placed in assets folder and having size 7.1MB

This testing is being conducted with the sole objective of keeping the app size (post install) smaller.

The results, however, are incomprehensible for me: the post install app size is almost the same in both case, actually a tad bit smaller in case of option 1. Below are the screenshots:

Option 1:

Option 2:

While my main focus is on app size, I can’t happen to ignore the inflated cache size in case of Option 1.

So, if these results are accurate and I’m doing everything right, there is apparently no use of dumping a large sized database file in favour of smaller sized .csv files.

Pl help me out of this confusion!

At May 18, 2020, 11:21am, mmurphy replied:

I do not know how the Settings app (or wherever you got those values from) computes those values.

All that I can recommend is that you make a clean comparison, such as using two separate emulator images. Android’s “uninstall” is a bit weird on modern versions, so if these are from the same device/emulator image, it is possible that Option 2 includes some elements of Option 1.

At May 18, 2020, 12:44pm, Shahood replied:

First, I tried 2 images of Nexus 6 API 28 and following are the results:

Option 1:

Option 2:

Then, I tried 2 images of Nexus 5 API 21 and following are the results:

Option 1:

Option 2:

At May 18, 2020, 12:59pm, mmurphy replied:

Apparently, I buried the lede, so let me quote myself to emphasize the point:

With that in mind…

No, sorry.

Are you sure that you ran the code that copied the database from assets to a file on the filesystem? If you are, then the Settings app is drunk, or possibly just is not real-time.

I do not know, sorry.

At May 18, 2020, 1:17pm, Shahood replied:

Yep I’m sure. Also, the app worked fine after installation.

At May 18, 2020, 1:24pm, Shahood replied:

Do I also need to Invalidate cache of Android Studio before each install?

At May 18, 2020, 1:30pm, mmurphy replied:

Then Settings is drunk or not real-time. If you copied 19.8MB to a file, then I cannot explain how anything called “User Data” would not count that.

That should have no effect. That clears out cached libraries, not app data.

At May 18, 2020, 5:34pm, Shahood replied:

Tried Option 1 with a new Emulator image: Pixel XL API 29 but still user data is negligible and most of the size is in cache.

Below is the code in my BondDatabase class:

private static volatile BondDatabase INSTANCE = null;

public synchronized static BondDatabase get(Context context) {
    if (INSTANCE == null) {
        INSTANCE = create(context);
    return INSTANCE;

private static BondDatabase create(final Context context) {
    return Room.databaseBuilder(
            BondDatabase.class, DB_NAME)
            .createFromAsset("database/" + DB_NAME)

Is there any problem with how the database is being instantiated?

At May 18, 2020, 5:59pm, mmurphy replied:

That seems reasonable.

All this boils down to what you are really trying to achieve:

At May 18, 2020, 6:29pm, Shahood replied:

Nexus 6 API 28
Option 1

4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/WebView/SafeBrowsing
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/WebView
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/mopub-volley-cache
16      /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/code_cache
36      /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/shared_prefs
240     /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/no_backup
20508   /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/databases
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/files
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/webrtc_event_logs
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/blob_storage/d823c716-1cd5-4934-bf79-07487f0f5ebd
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/blob_storage
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/GPUCache/index-dir
16      /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/GPUCache
88      /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_textures
20912   /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet

Option 2

4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/WebView/SafeBrowsing
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/WebView
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/mopub-volley-cache
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/org.chromium.android_webview/index-dir
104     /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache/org.chromium.android_webview
120     /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/cache
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/code_cache
36      /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/shared_prefs
304     /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/no_backup
21076   /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/databases
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/files
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/webrtc_event_logs
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/blob_storage/c6816067-3769-449e-9ee1-1910a486dccf
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/blob_storage
8       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/GPUCache/index-dir
16      /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview/GPUCache
112     /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_webview
4       /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet/app_textures
21672   /data/data/com.appicacious.bondwallet

I can’t see how this data can help select one option over the other.

At May 18, 2020, 6:37pm, Shahood replied:

All I want to do is to see which option I should choose in order to keep the app size relatively smaller: whether to package a pre-populated database with the app or the raw data in the form of csv files. Apparently, the size of assets folder is 12MB+ apart in both options but this difference ain’t evident in post-install app sizes.

So kindly point me in the right direction…may it be Settings or any other tool. I just need to get it sorted.


At May 18, 2020, 6:44pm, mmurphy replied:

Option 1 is using 20912 KB of disk space. Option 2 is using 21672 KB of disk space. Only you can decide if that is a material difference or not.

Bear in mind that APK files are compressed, and the compressibility of the assets may be different.

But, if you are saying that the two APK files are similarly-sized, then unless you are worried about the < 1MB disk space difference reported by du, the two approaches are equivalent.

At May 18, 2020, 6:52pm, Shahood replied:

That’s relevant in case of APK size but I’m concerned about post install size of the app.
So when the files are uncompressed, shouldn’t the install size ideally be larger by 12MB+ in case of Option 1 as compared to Option 2?

At May 18, 2020, 7:04pm, mmurphy replied:

In general, they are not uncompressed. While certain items are, most stuff just stays in the APK and gets decompressed on the fly when it is read in.

At May 20, 2020, 11:23pm, Shahood replied:

My app is already on Play store Alpha channel with a pre populated database. So I decided to release a new version with CSV files (Option 2) in order to see the difference between both options in real life.

The new app size is ~54MB which was pretty much what I expected considering the size of ~67MB in earlier version.
These reading are again from Settings app of my physical device.

While the current issue of selecting one option over the other is settled, I happen to have another question.

How can I drilldown this app size of 54MB? I need to know why this is still so big. I may be using some largely sized libraries but I don’t know how to find that out.

I’m summing up the various size related info below:


At May 20, 2020, 11:43pm, mmurphy replied:

Well, as I have mentioned a few times, I cannot tell you where any given implementation of the Settings app is getting its number.

You can use the APK Analyzer to determine where your 16MB APK/AAB space is going. And, you can use Android Studio’s Device File Explorer (with a debuggable app build) to determine where the 24MB of disk space is going. Those are the only two things that you really control.

At May 21, 2020, 12:25am, Shahood replied:

So does it mean that I should only be concerned about the APK/AAB size and the size represented by adb shell du?

At May 21, 2020, 11:01am, mmurphy replied:

All I can tell you is: I do not know how you would affect anything else, beyond those two items.

At May 21, 2020, 12:31pm, Shahood replied:

Ok I’ll take this discussion further if anything new comes to my mind.

Thanks for the guidance!