Like any Android library, the Google Play services SDK impacts the final size of applications that include it. Good developers care about the size of their apps, so today we’d like to show you two ways that you can leverage the Android plugin for gradle to reduce the APK size of applications that include Google Play services.

  1. Split JAR Architecture

    Beginning with Google Play services 6.5, additional maven artifacts have been added to the Google Repository that contain single domains of functionality. This means that you can include just those portions of Google Play services that your app uses. For example, here’s how to configure gradle to incorporate the JAR that contains functionality relating to ads:

    dependencies {
        compile ''

    That line instructs gradle to include everything Mobile Ads developers need, with the exception of the IMA SDK JAR needed for IMA applications.

    Please note that if you currently initialize Mobile Ads SDK banner ads via XML layout files, you should continue including the full Google Play services artifact. See this blog post for more information.

  2. Shrink Resources

    The Android gradle plugin supports the ability to automatically exclude unused resources during the build process via the shrinkResources gradle property. To take advantage of this in your release builds, just add “shrinkResources true” to your build.gradle file’s release configuration:

    android {
        buildTypes {
            release {
                minifyEnabled true
                shrinkResources true

    Note that the shrinkResources property requires that minifyEnabled be set to true as well, though that’s already a good practice for release builds.

Both of these techniques are quick to implement, so consider giving them a try. In testing, the use of shrinkResources and the new, split JAR maven artifacts reduced the APK size of our Interstitial Example by 1.2MB -- almost 50%!

If you have questions about these techniques and how to put them to work in your applications, visit us on the Mobile Ads SDK forum or the IMA SDK forum.