Optimize Load Time, Code Obfuscation Best Practices Android & iOS

Last updated April 17, 2023 by Appdome

Learn to Add Optimize Obfuscation and Improve Android Load Time in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Dex relocation?

Dex relocation (obfuscation) is a method provided by Appdome to hide the inner logic of an Android app, by relocating and obfuscating the app’s code (.dex) and flow of Android apps. “Scrambling” the app’s code  by using this protection tighten the app’s security against reverse engineering, which hackers routinely do learn your app’s logic and the way the app works.

How does Appdome Optimize Load Time?

When the DeX Relocation feature is enabled, you can also enable the feature Favor Loading Time, which automatically detects and optimizes obfuscation of publicly available components, thereby preventing any prolongation of the app’s loading time. This streamlines implementations, cuts development work, and ensures a guaranteed and consistent implementation of Dex Relocation to any mobile app.

Adding Optimize Obfuscation and Improve Android Load Time on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Add Optimize Obfuscation and Improve Android Load Time without an SDK or gateway:

  1. Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.

    1. Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System

    2. Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
    3. Android Formats: .apk or .aab
  2. Build the feature: Dex Relocation.

    1. Building Dex Relocation by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Dex Relocation feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Dex Relocation

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Dex Relocation feature
        Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).

      3. Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Dex Relocation feature via Appdome Console, to add the Dex Relocation feature to this Fusion Set.

      4. Open the Fusion Set Detail Summary by clicking the “...” symbol on the far-right corner of the Fusion Set, as shown in Figure 1 above, and get the Fusion Set ID from the Fusion Set Detail Summary (as shown below): fusion Set Detail Summary image

        Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
        Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).

      5. Follow the instructions below to use the Fusion Set ID inside any standard mobile DevOps or CI/CD toolkit like Bitrise, App Center, Jenkins, Travis, Team City, Cirlce CI or other system:
        1. Build an API for the app – for instructions, see the tasks under Appdome API Reference Guide
        2. Look for sample APIs in Appdome’s GitHub Repository
    2. Building the Dex Relocation feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Dex Relocation protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > TOTALCode™ Obfuscation section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Dex Relocation, as shown below.
        If needed, Customize the Threat Notification to be displayed to the mobile end-user in a standard OS dialog notification when Appdome Adds Optimize Obfuscation and Improve Android Load Time. Dex Relocation option

        Figure 3: Add Optimize Obfuscation and Improve Android Load Time option
        Note: The App Compromise Notification contains an easy to follow default remediation path for the mobile app end user. You can customize this message as required to achieve brand specific support, workflow or other messaging.

      3. When you select the Dex Relocation you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Dex Relocation

        Fusion Set applied Dex Relocation

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Dex Relocation protection

      4. Optional Configuration with Dex Relocation:
        1. Favor Loading Time

          Automatically detect and optimize obfuscation of publicly available components in order to preserve application loading time.

      5. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Dex Relocation protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Dex Relocation feature in Android Apps.

    After building Dex Relocation, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Dex Relocation protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Dex Relocation protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Dex Relocation shown in Certificate secure

    Figure 5: Certified Secure™ certificate

    Each Certified Secure™ certificate provides DevOps and DevSecOps organizations the entire workflow summary, audit trail of each build, and proof of protection that Dex Relocation has been added to each Android app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Dex Relocation and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Prerequisites to Using Dex Relocation:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Add Optimize Obfuscation and Improve Android Load Time , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android Apps by using Dex Relocation. There is no SDK and no library to code or implement in the app and no gateway to deploy in your network. All protections are built into each app and the resulting app is self-defending and self-protecting.

Releasing and Publishing Mobile Apps with Dex Relocation

After successfully securing your app by using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include:

All apps protected by Appdome are fully compatible with any public app store, including Apple App Store, Google Play, Huawei App Gallery and more.

Features Similar to Dex Relocation

Here are a few related resources:

Flow Relocation is just one of the many features TOTALCode™ can offer in terms of code obfuscation.

If you have any questions, please send them our way at support.appdome.com or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

Thank you!

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