This easy guide will explain how you can install Android apps as system apps so they run as part of the Android system and have full admin access. An average user will not need to do this for anything, but for those who play around with tools/hacks and other root apps that require you to push an app to the system apps directory, I’m sure this tutorial will be very helpful.
The system apps directory (\system\apps) in your phone is write-protected and you can’t install anything in there or modify the files without root access / admin rights. But of course, if you have a rooted Android phone (system access), then you can easily modify system files and install whatever apps you want into that folder.
There are many apps that need system access to run properly. Such is the case with the new Android O Launcher / Pixel Launcher APK. You can install this launcher app on any phone running Android 7.0 Nougat, but the left side screen of Google Now does not work. You need to install this app as a system app in order to enable Google Now, similar to how it is with the Google Now Launcher.
How to Install Android App as System App in \system\app Folder Manually
In this tutorial, I will be using Root Explorer. It is a paid app, and the best one available for such tweaking with system files. You can buy Root Explorer from the Android Market for $4. Follow the steps below:
Step 1 – Download Root Explorer and install it on your phone.
Step 2 – Transfer the APK file that you want to push to \system\app directory to your internal storage or SD card. We will call the file as sample.apk.
Step 3 – Now open Root Explorer and go to \sdcard (or internal storage) and copy that sample.apk file.
Step 4 – Navigate to \system\app now and press the “Mount R/W’ button to make the directory writable.
Step 5 – Paste the sample.apk file here. Now long press the file and select Permissions.
Step 6 – Set the file permissions as:
Owner: Read, Write
Step 7 – Tap OK to save the file permissions. Under the file sample.apk, you should now see “rw-r–r–“.
Step 8 – Press the “Mount R/O” button now and restart your phone.
After your phone restarts, you should now see the app sample.apk already installed in your phone as a system app.
This is how you can install any app in \system\app folder if you have a rooted phone.