Solving "Cannot Fit Requested Classes in a Single Dex File" Issue

The "Cannot Fit Requested Classes in a Single Dex File" error is a common issue faced by Android developers when their application exceeds the 65,536 method reference limit. This guide will help you understand why this issue occurs and provide step-by-step solutions to fix it.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Issue

Before diving into the solutions, let's understand the root cause of this problem. In Android applications, the Dalvik Executable (DEX) file contains compiled bytecode that is executed on the Android Runtime (ART) or Dalvik virtual machine. The DEX file has a limitation of 65,536 method references. When your application exceeds this limit, you will encounter the "Cannot Fit Requested Classes in a Single Dex File" error.

This issue is common in large projects or those with many dependencies, as each dependency contributes to the method count.

Expert Tips and Solutions

Enable Multidex

The simplest and most common solution is to enable Multidex, which allows your application to have multiple DEX files. Follow these steps to enable Multidex:

Add the following dependency to your app/build.gradle file:

dependencies {
    implementation ''

Enable Multidex in your defaultConfig block inside app/build.gradle:

android {
    defaultConfig {
        multiDexEnabled true

Extend your Application class with MultiDexApplication:


public class MyApplication extends MultiDexApplication {

If you have a custom Application class, override the attachBaseContext() method and add the MultiDex.install() method:

import android.content.Context;

public class MyApplication extends Application {
    protected void attachBaseContext(Context base) {

Optimize Your Dependencies

Another way to solve this issue is by optimizing your dependencies. You can achieve this by:

  1. Removing unused dependencies from your build.gradle file.
  2. Using only the required modules from a library instead of the whole library. For example, if you are using only a specific feature from the Google Play Services library, include only that module instead of the entire library.

Use ProGuard

ProGuard helps in removing unused code and resources during the build process, thus reducing the final method count. To enable ProGuard, follow these steps:

In your app/build.gradle file, set the minifyEnabled property to true for your release build type:

buildTypes {
    release {
        minifyEnabled true
        proguardFiles getDefaultProguardFile('proguard-android-optimize.txt'), ''

Configure the file in your app module to keep or remove specific classes, methods, or fields.

Note: Be cautious while using ProGuard, as incorrect configurations can lead to app crashes or functionality issues. Always test your app thoroughly after enabling ProGuard.


1. What is the 65,536 method reference limit?

The 65,536 method reference limit is the maximum number of methods that can be referenced in a single DEX file. This limit is imposed by the Android runtime and is a result of the 16-bit indexing used for method references.

2. How can I check the method count in my application?

You can use the APK Analyzer tool in Android Studio to inspect your APK and see the method count for each package and library.

3. Can I use Multidex with older Android versions?

Yes, you can use Multidex with older Android versions (API levels 4 to 20) by following the official Multidex documentation.

4. Are there any performance implications when using Multidex?

Enabling Multidex can increase the app's startup time, especially on older devices with ART or Dalvik runtime. However, this impact is generally minimal, and the benefits of using Multidex often outweigh the costs.

5. Can I combine the solutions mentioned above?

Yes, you can combine these solutions to achieve the best results. For example, you can enable Multidex and optimize your dependencies to reduce the method count, and then use ProGuard to further minimize the APK size.

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