An error Failure INSTALL_PARSE_FAILED_MANIFEST_MALFORMED appears from time to time in world of Android Java developers. However among Xamarin devs it seems to appear much rarely. Today I came across one and the standard Android solution did not work for me. Curious about the solution I found (with a little help of my friends)?

First of all, here is the full error that is reported by tooling during the app deployment:

Deploying package to 'emulator-5554'
Detecting installed packages
Installing shared runtime
Installing platform framework
Installing application on device

Deployment failed because of an internal error: Unexpected install output: 	pkg: /data/local/tmp/solidbrain.space.droid-Signed.apk

Deployment failed. Internal error.

My first try was, obviously, looking into the AndroidManifest.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" package="somenamespace.app.droid" android:installLocation="auto" android:versionCode="1" android:versionName="1.0">
	<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="19" android:targetSdkVersion="25" />
	<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />
	<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
	<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />
	<application android:label="app" android:icon="@drawable/Android_App_Icon"></application>

As you can see everything seems to be fine with it. I’ve got a clue from my colleague that the tooling modifies the manifest file during the packaging. So the resulting signed app package might contain a AndroidManifest.xml file with a quite different content.

Second clue came from the SO question mentioned before. The answers was focused around the casing of namespaces in the manifest.

Third piece of information were the changes I made that day in the project. In order to fix some random errors that was appearing in my app from time to time I added missing links between Java and Mono world (native services or activities). Those were constructors with IntPtr native object handle and registration attributes (helpful in debugging and troubleshooting) like this one:

public class SomeActivity : AppCompatActivity { }

Did you already spot the issue? Yup, the namespaces should be lower-case (apart from the type part):

public class SomeActivity : AppCompatActivity { }

Apparently the packing tooling includes those types registration within the AndroidManifest.xml.

Marek Mierzwa

Marek Mierzwa
Husband, father, spiritual journeyman and in the meantime a software developer

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