[Solved] Cannot fit requested classes in a single dex file, even for earlier commits which previously compiled fine

So I’ve just hit the maximum method count limit for my android project, which fails to build with the following error message:

Error: null, Cannot fit requested classes in a single dex file (# methods: 117407 > 65536)

I understand what the message means, and how to resolve it (running proguard, enabling multidex etc). My problem is that I don’t understand why I’m suddenly getting this message – I was doing was removing some old bits of code which were redundant, hit build, and now I get this message.

Question 1: How can it be possible that my method count (117407 according to the error message) is suddenly massively over the limit (65536), even though I did not add any library dependencies? I actually removed code, and suddenly I have like 50 thousand methods too many?

Now this is where it gets really weird: I wanted to analyse the APK to figure out what’s causing the problem, but of course I can’t build it. So instead of enabling multidex I decided to revert my code to yesterday (which definitely absolutely did build fine yesterday – I have the app on my phone to prove it!), but I still get this build error message. I don’t understand how this is possible. I tried reverting to several days ago, same thing (cloning a new repo and checking out an earlier commit).

So, question 2: How am I getting this build error for the exact same code which just yesterday built fine without error?

The only thing I can think of is that a library that I am using as a dependency has suddenly increased in size – but I’m declaring specific versions of everything in my gradle build, for example:

// RxJava
implementation 'io.reactivex.rxjava2:rxandroid:2.1.0'
implementation 'io.reactivex.rxjava2:rxjava:2.2.4'

// Retrofit
implementation 'com.squareup.retrofit2:retrofit:2.5.0'
implementation 'com.squareup.retrofit2:converter-gson:2.5.0'

So, surely my dependencies should not have changed?

Any ideas what I can do to figure this out are greatly appreciated. I’ve tried cleaning my project, and invalidating caches/restart in android studio. I really don’t want to enable multidex or have to run proguard on my debug build.

Here’s the full build.gradle:

apply plugin: 'com.android.application'
apply plugin: 'kotlin-android'
apply plugin: 'kotlin-android-extensions'
apply plugin: 'kotlin-kapt'

android {
    compileSdkVersion 28
    defaultConfig {
    applicationId "XXXXXXXXX"
    minSdkVersion 19
    targetSdkVersion 28
    versionCode 1
    versionName "0.1"
    testInstrumentationRunner "android.support.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner"
    vectorDrawables.useSupportLibrary = true  // see https://developer.android.com/studio/write/vector-asset-studio#sloption
buildTypes {
    release {
        minifyEnabled false
        // Do code shrinking!
        proguardFiles getDefaultProguardFile('proguard-android.txt'), 'proguard-rules.pro'

dependencies {
implementation fileTree(dir: 'libs', include: ['*.jar'])

// Core stuff
implementation "org.jetbrains.kotlin:kotlin-stdlib-jdk7:$kotlin_version"
implementation 'com.android.support:appcompat-v7:28.0.0'
implementation 'com.android.support:recyclerview-v7:28.0.0'
testImplementation 'junit:junit:4.12'
androidTestImplementation 'com.android.support.test:runner:1.0.2'
androidTestImplementation 'com.android.support.test.espresso:espresso-core:3.0.2'
implementation 'android.arch.lifecycle:extensions:1.1.1'
implementation 'com.android.support:design:28.0.0'
implementation 'com.android.support:support-vector-drawable:28.0.0'
implementation 'com.google.android.gms:play-services-wearable:16.0.1'

// Dagger
implementation 'com.google.dagger:dagger:2.21'
kapt 'com.google.dagger:dagger-compiler:2.21'
// Dagger for Android
implementation 'com.google.dagger:dagger-android:2.21'
implementation 'com.google.dagger:dagger-android-support:2.21' // if you use the support libraries
kapt 'com.google.dagger:dagger-android-processor:2.21'

// Constraint layout
implementation 'com.android.support.constraint:constraint-layout:1.1.3'

// Associated WearOS project
wearApp project(':wear')

// Common library project
implementation project(':common')

// These were added to resolve gradle error on the 'com.android.support:appcompat-v7:28.0.0' implementation:
// All com.android.support libraries must use the exact same version specification (mixing versions can lead to
// runtime crashes). Found versions 28.0.0, 26.1.0. Examples include com.android.support:animated-vector-drawable:28.0.0
// and com.android.support:support-media-compat:26.1.0
// This seems to be related to linking the wear project. If the wear project was not linked, the error went away.
implementation 'com.android.support:support-media-compat:28.0.0'
implementation 'com.android.support:support-v4:28.0.0'

// RxJava
implementation 'io.reactivex.rxjava2:rxandroid:2.1.0'
implementation 'io.reactivex.rxjava2:rxjava:2.2.4'

// Retrofit
implementation 'com.squareup.retrofit2:retrofit:2.5.0'
implementation 'com.squareup.retrofit2:converter-gson:2.5.0'
// Retrofit RxJava
implementation 'com.squareup.retrofit2:adapter-rxjava2:2.5.0'
// Retrofit logging:
implementation 'com.squareup.okhttp3:logging-interceptor:3.12.1'

// Room
def room_version = "1.1.1"
implementation "android.arch.persistence.room:runtime:$room_version"
implementation "android.arch.persistence.room:common:$room_version"
implementation "android.arch.persistence.room:rxjava2:$room_version"
kapt "android.arch.persistence.room:compiler:$room_version"

// For modern time handling (java.time requires API 26 or higher)
implementation 'com.jakewharton.threetenabp:threetenabp:1.1.1'

// Graphing
implementation 'com.github.PhilJay:MPAndroidChart:v3.1.0-alpha'

// Dropbox
implementation 'com.dropbox.core:dropbox-core-sdk:3.0.11'

// OpenCSV
implementation 'com.opencsv:opencsv:4.5'



So after enabling multidex, there are some heavy dependencies showing up under the following TLDs when I analyse the APK using Android Studio (I’m not sure if I should be looking at defined or referenced method numbers?):

  • com.dropbox: 26000 defined methods, 34000 referenced methods
  • com.android (mainly support libraries): 18700 defined, 24600 referenced
  • org.apache (commons, log etc): 15000 defined, 15700 referenced

These alone take me up to the limit. I still don’t get why this is suddenly happening though 🙁 Surely if I have not added any libraries, these numbers should not have changed?

Solution #1:

After looking at your entire build gradle file, your issue definitely stems from your dependencies! Attempt to clean them up and remove as many as you can that you don’t use. Chances are you were very close to the limit and any of those dependencies may have been cached using older versions. You can attempt to remove the entire build folder (and clean your gradle cache) but I am fairly certain the issue will not go away.

If all of these dependencies are required unfortunately you will have to go the routes you mentioned, either multi-dex or minifying debug builds. Multi-dex should be ok and shouldn’t cause any unforeseen issues while minifying will slow down your builds and potentially cause Android Studio to become unstable (especially instant run/apply changes!)

Good luck, one thing to take from this is to keep your dependencies clean and precise, only add when absolutely needed, and if all else fails, multi-dex is your friend.

Respondent: James Allen

Solution #2:

Simple add this to your gradle (Module: app) >> multiDexEnabled true

android {
    defaultConfig {
        minSdkVersion 21 
        targetSdkVersion 28
        multiDexEnabled true

then Rebuild Project
in Menu click => Build>Rebuild Project.

Respondent: Andres S

Solution #3:

None of the answers they gave you were exhaustive. The problem lies in the Multidex. You must add the library in the app gradle:

implementation 'com.android.support:multidex:1.0.3'

After, you should add in the defaultConfig of the app gradle:

multiDexEnabled true
Respondent: Driss Baidou

Solution #4:

I would recommend building the application with multidex, and then extracting the method ids from the multiple dex files from the new apk, and also extract the method ids from the old, single-dex apk and comparing the two lists.

roughly, something like:

baksmali list dex new.apk
baksmali list method new.apk/classes.dex > new.list
baksmali list method new.apk/classes2.dex >> new.list
sort new.list > new.sorted.list

baksmali list method old.apk > old.list
diff new.sorted.list old.list

Although, if you’re using proguard, you may need to figure out some way to apply the reverse proguard name mangling before comparing the lists.

Respondent: Hamza_Developer

Solution #5:

After reading your question I can only suggest try invalidate cache and restart after and force refresh your dependency using this .

./gradlew build --refresh-dependencies
Respondent: JesusFreke

Solution #6:

As your problem, I had to delete the build folder and the *.iml files (Android Studio project files) y I had to recreate the project, then the build and then all worked fine again.

Respondent: End User

Solution #7:

I encountered the same issue and the solution was to enable Instant Run under File -> Setting -> Build, Execution, Deployment -> Instant Run and that solved my problem. Hope it’s helpful.

Respondent: Jairo Martínez

Solution #8:

I tried this.
hopes it helps, found it on some documentation
( forgot the url 🙁 )

build.gradle app

dependencies {...
grdef multidex_version ='2.0.1'

implementation "androidx.multidex:multidex:$multidex_version"
Respondent: ali sampson

Solution #9:

in bulid.gradle app

implementation 'com.android.support:multidex:2.0.1'

android {
    multiDexEnabled true


Respondent: Rudy Rosa

Solution #10:

android > app > build.gradle

  1. android {
        defaultConfig {
            versionCode 1
            versionName "1.0"
          +  multiDexEnabled true
  2. Add implementation ‘com.android.support:multidex:1.0.3’
    in dependencies block

    dependencies {
     + implementation 'com.android.support:multidex:1.0.3'
Respondent: Mohamed Maher

Solution #11:

From the Android docs:

“If your minSdkVersion is set to 21 or higher, multidex is enabled by default and you do not need the multidex support library.”

As an alternative to manually enabling multidex, you could simply increase your minSdkVersion if possible.

Respondent: Ali Ziaee

Solution #12:

Community wiki
Its easy just increase this minSdkVersion, targetSdkVersion :


defaultConfig { minSdkVersion 19 targetSdkVersion 28 versionCode flutterVersionCode.toInteger() versionName flutterVersionName }


defaultConfig { minSdkVersion 21 targetSdkVersion 29 versionCode flutterVersionCode.toInteger() versionName flutterVersionName }

also this compileSdkVersion:


android { compileSdkVersion 28


android { compileSdkVersion 29

The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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