Android app encryption/protection

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App piracy is wide-spread and causes headache to every developers you ask, especially for Android. When you publish on Google Play market, you can rely on Google's licensing server to protect your app against piracy. However, you can't use Google services if you intend to publish your app in China's app store. So, what are the alternatives?

If you are distributing a free ad supported application, what can prevent someone from decompiling your app, replace your ad account inside your app or inject miscellaneous code, recompile it and then distribute it?

Option 1

Operate your own licensing service

droidactivatorAndroidLicenser
Advantages
  • You have full control
  • open source and free to use
  • Web server only requires php/mysql support
  • acquiring device data and tracking of custom events
  • You have some control
  • Web server included
  • AndroidLicenser.com will automatically generate a webpage for your Android application.
  • Automatic generation of activation code
Disadvantages
  • You have to setup/maintain your own server for droidactivator
  • Lack of support, you are mostly on your own
  • You must manually add your customer's e-mail to your server and generate an activation code in your server database
  • Buyer must enter his e-mail and the code to activate the app
  • Does not protect app against decompilation/recompilation
  • Does not have build-in payment service
  • Cost from US$39.95/month
  • Some level of support is provided?
  • Requires integration into your app
  • Buyer must enter his e-mail and the code to activate the app
  • Does not protect app against decompilation/recompilation
  • Only support Paypal/Google checkout

Option 2

Encrypt your app, so even if someone can decompile your app, it won't run after it is recompiled.

ServiceWall Android GardenDexGuardapkprotect
PriceIncludedfrom €480/licensefrom $59/time
EncryptionApk repackageIntegrate into ant/eclipseApk repackage

Option 3

Develop your own method to protect your app.


Still not convinced?

Our app LANmic is encrypted. Feel free to try to decompile/recompile it and let us know how it goes.

Feel free to let us know if you have/found better ideas/methods.