Home » Android » Install apps silently, with granted INSTALL_PACKAGES permission

Install apps silently, with granted INSTALL_PACKAGES permission

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I am trying to silently install apk into the system.
My app is located in /system/app and successfully granted permission “android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES”

However I can’t find anywhere how to use this permission. I tried to copy files to /data/app and had no success. Also I tried using this code

    Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW);
    intent.setDataAndType(
            Uri.parse("file:///sdcard/app.apk"),
            "application/vnd.android.package-archive");
    startActivity(intent);

But this code opens standard installation dialog. How can I install app silently without root with granted android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES?

PS I am writing an app that will install many apks from folder into the system on the first start (replace Setup Wizard). I need it to make firmware lighter.

If you think that I am writing a virus: All programs are installed into /data/app. Permission Install_packages can only be granted to system-level programs located in /system/app or signed with the system key. So virus can’t get there.

As said http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg06281.html apps CAN be silent installed if they have install_packages permission. Moreover you don’t need Install_packages permission to install packages not silently. Plus http://www.androidzoom.com/android_applications/tools/silent-installer_wgqi.html

Answers:

Your first bet is to look into Android’s native PackageInstaller. I would recommend modifying that app the way you like, or just extract required functionality.


Specifically, if you look into PackageInstallerActivity and its method onClickListener:

 public void onClick(View v) {
    if(v == mOk) {
        // Start subactivity to actually install the application
        Intent newIntent = new Intent();
        ...
        newIntent.setClass(this, InstallAppProgress.class);
        ...
        startActivity(newIntent);
        finish();
    } else if(v == mCancel) {
        // Cancel and finish
        finish();
    }
}

Then you’ll notice that actual installer is located in InstallAppProgress class. Inspecting that class you’ll find that initView is the core installer function, and the final thing it does is call to PackageManager‘s installPackage function:

public void initView() {
...
pm.installPackage(mPackageURI, observer, installFlags, installerPackageName);
}

Next step is to inspect PackageManager, which is abstract class. You’ll find installPackage(...) function there. The bad news is that it’s marked with @hide. This means it’s not directly available (you won’t be able to compile with call to this method).

 /**
  * @hide
  * ....
  */
  public abstract void installPackage(Uri packageURI,
             IPackageInstallObserver observer, 
             int flags,String installerPackageName); 

But you will be able to access this methods via reflection.

If you are interested in how PackageManager‘s installPackage function is implemented, take a look at PackageManagerService.

Summary

You’ll need to get package manager object via Context‘s getPackageManager(). Then you will call installPackage function via reflection.

Questions:
Answers:

I have checked how ADB installs apps.
– It copies the APK to /data/local/tmp
– it runs ‘shell:pm install /data/local/tmp/app.apk’

I have tried to replicate this behaviour by doing: (on pc, using usb-cable)
adb push app.apk /sdcard/app.apk
adb shell
$ pm install /sdcard/app.apk
This works. The app is installed.

I made an application (named AppInstall) which should install the other app.
(installed normally, non-rooted device)
It does:
Runtime.getRuntime().exec("pm install /sdcard/app.apk").waitFor();
But this gives the error:
java.lang.SecurityException: Neither user 10019 nor current process has android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES.
It seems like the error is thrown by pm, not by AppInstall.
Because the SecurityException is not catched by AppInstall and the app does not crash.

I’ve tried the same thing on a rooted device (same app and AppInstall) and it worked like a charm.
(Also normally installed, not in /system or anything)
AppInstall didn’t even ask root-permission.
But thats because the shell is always # instead of $ on that device.

Btw, you need root to install an app in /system, correct?
I tried adb remount on the non-rooted device and got:
remount failed: Operation not permitted.
That’s why I could not try the /system thing on the non-rooted device.

Conclusion: you should use a rooted device
Hope this helps 🙂

Questions:
Answers:

You should define

<uses-permission
    android:name="android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES" />

in your manifest, then if whether you are in system partition (/system/app) or you have your application signed by the manufacturer, you are going to have INSTALL_PACKAGES permission.

My suggestion is to create a little android project with 1.5 compatibility level used to call installPackages via reflection and to export a jar with methods to install packages and to call the real methods.
Then, by importing the jar in your project you will be ready to install packages.

Questions:
Answers:

I had no idea of how to do this, because nobody answered that time, and I found no documentation about this permission. So I found my own solution. It is worser that yours, but this is a solution anyway.

I installed busybox, that set 777 permission to /data/app (I dont care about security). Then just executed “busybox install” from app. This works, but has a big security leak. If you set permissions 777, no root required.

Questions:
Answers:

Here is a very nice post on this subject. It helped me a lot.

Questions:
Answers:

You can simply use adb install command to install/update APK silently. Sample code is below

public static void InstallAPK(String filename){
    File file = new File(filename); 
    if(file.exists()){
        try {   
            String command;
            filename = StringUtil.insertEscape(filename);
            command = "adb install -r " + filename;
            Process proc = Runtime.getRuntime().exec(new String[] { "su", "-c", command });
            proc.waitFor();
        } catch (Exception e) {
        e.printStackTrace();
        }
     }
  }

Questions:
Answers:

I tried on rooted Android 4.2.2 and this method works for me:

private void installApk(String filename) {
    File file = new File(filename); 
    if(file.exists()){
        try {   
            final String command = "pm install -r " + file.getAbsolutePath();
            Process proc = Runtime.getRuntime().exec(new String[] { "su", "-c", command });
            proc.waitFor();
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
     }
}

Questions:
Answers:

You can use the hidden API android.content.pm.IPackageInstallObserver by reflection:

public class PackageManagement {
    public static final int INSTALL_REPLACE_EXISTING = 0x00000002;
    public static final int INSTALL_SUCCEEDED = 1;

    private static Method installPackageMethod;
    private static Method deletePackageMethod;

    static {
        try {
            installPackageMethod = PackageManager.class.getMethod("installPackage", Uri.class, IPackageInstallObserver.class, Integer.TYPE, String.class);
        } catch (NoSuchMethodException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }

    public static void installPackage(PackageManager pm, Uri mPackageUri, IPackageInstallObserver observer, int installFlags, String installerPackageName) {
        try {
            installPackageMethod.invoke(pm, mPackageUri, observer, installFlags, installerPackageName);
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }
}

Import android.content.pm.IPackageInstallObserver into your project. Your app must be system. You must activate the permission android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES in your manifest file.

Questions:
Answers:

I have been implementing installation without user consent recently – it was a kiosk application for API level 21+ where I had full control over environment.

The basic requirements are

  • API level 21+
  • root access to install the updater as a system privileged app.

The following method reads and installs APK from InputStream:

public static boolean installPackage(Context context, InputStream in, String packageName)
            throws IOException {
        PackageInstaller packageInstaller = context.getPackageManager().getPackageInstaller();
        PackageInstaller.SessionParams params = new PackageInstaller.SessionParams(
                PackageInstaller.SessionParams.MODE_FULL_INSTALL);
        params.setAppPackageName(packageName);
        // set params
        int sessionId = packageInstaller.createSession(params);
        PackageInstaller.Session session = packageInstaller.openSession(sessionId);
        OutputStream out = session.openWrite("COSU", 0, -1);
        byte[] buffer = new byte[65536];
        int c;
        while ((c = in.read(buffer)) != -1) {
            out.write(buffer, 0, c);
        }
        session.fsync(out);
        in.close();
        out.close();

        Intent intent = new Intent(context, MainActivity.class);
        intent.putExtra("info", "somedata");  // for extra data if needed..

        Random generator = new Random();

        PendingIntent i = PendingIntent.getActivity(context, generator.nextInt(), intent,PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
            session.commit(i.getIntentSender());


        return true;
    }

The following code calls the installation

 try {
     InputStream is = getResources().openRawResource(R.raw.someapk_source);
                    installPackage(MainActivity.this, is, "com.example.apk");
     } catch (IOException e) {
                    Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, e.getMessage(), Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
     }

for the whole thing to work you desperately need INSTALL_PACKAGES permission, or the code above will fail silently

<uses-permission
    android:name="android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES" />

to get this permission you must install your APK as System application which REQUIRES root (however AFTER you have installed your updater application it seem to work WITHOUT root)

To install as system application I created a signed APK and pushed it with

adb push updater.apk /sdcard/updater.apk

and then moved it to system/priv-app – which requires remounting FS (this is why the root is required)

adb shell
su
mount -o rw,remount /system
mv /sdcard/updater.apk /system/priv-app
chmod 644 /system/priv-app/updater.apk

for some reason it didn’t work with simple debug version, but logcat shows useful info if your application in priv-app is not picked up for some reason.

Questions:
Answers:

I made a test app for silent installs, using PackageManager.installPackage method.

I get installPackage method through reflection, and made android.content.pm.IPackageInstallObserver interface in my src folder (because it’s hidden in android.content.pm package).

When i run installPackage, i got SecurityException with string indication, that my app has no android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES, but it defined in AndroidManifest.xml.

So, i think, it’s not possible to use this method.

PS. I tested in on Android SDK 2.3 and 4.0. Maybe it will work with earlier versions.

Questions:
Answers:

Try this LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/vendor/lib:/system/lib before pm install. It works well.

Questions:
Answers:

!/bin/bash

f=/home/cox/myapp.apk   #or $1 if input from terminal.

#backup env var
backup=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/vendor/lib:/system/lib
myTemp=/sdcard/temp.apk
adb push $f $myTemp
adb shell pm install -r $myTemp
#restore env var
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$backup

This works for me.
I run this on ubuntu 12.04, on shell terminal.