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What you need to know when downloading Android apps from outside Google Play

11 August 2020, Tuesday By Elena Arich

A key difference between Android and iOS, which cannot be disputed, is the ability to download apps from alternative directories that are not related to Google. Although there are different ways to treat this, having the right to choose the app stores that you like is much better than not having it. After all, first, you can download software that is not available in the local segment of the Google Play catalog, and, secondly, competition develops, because Google looks at others and improves its catalog. But today we will talk about how to safely download software from outside of Google Play.

Google Play

Although at first glance it seems that downloading apps from the Internet is a simple task, it is very important to follow a number of simple rules. All of them, oddly enough, concern security. After all, if you neglect them, there is a high risk of encountering malware that will cause you a lot of problems.

How to download apps on Android

  • You can only download apps from specially designated resources;
  • Do not give downloaded applications all of the privileges that they are requesting, without discrimination;
  • uninstall the application in safe mode, if it turns out to be problematic.

First, let's go through the web resources that I myself trust and from where, if necessary, I would not be afraid to download the APK file of the application I need. However, please note that I only use alternative software sources if I can't download a similar app from Google Play.

From where to download Android apps

APKMirror and APKPure are the best alternative software sources

As you can see, among the alternatives to Google Play there are several quite official catalogs of applications that are supported by smartphone manufacturers. These are AppGallery, Amazon App Store, and Galaxy App Store. They are absolutely safe, but they are quite limited in range and availability because they are distributed only as part of branded firmware for Huawei, Amazon and Samsung smartphones, respectively. Despite this, they are quite convenient and other things being equal, they are quite good as a replacement for Google Play.

But if you take independent application directories, then APKMirror and APKPure are probably the leaders among them. In any case, I like them more than others for their convenience, logical construction of the interface, and built-in security tools that scan APK files of applications for viruses. Thanks to them, the probability that you will bring malware or an advertising script to your smartphone tends to zero. But APKPure, in my opinion, is still more convenient due to its own application.

How to revoke app permissions

As for the use of applications downloaded from alternative sources, everything is more or less clear. No matter what anyone says, Google has made Android a fairly secure platform that will not allow any program to access information that is not intended for it, unless the user has given it special permission to do so. Therefore, it is very important to carefully read what permissions it requests when installing the app. It is logical if the taxi service asks for access to your geolocation, but it is strange if the calculator needs access to calls.

You can revoke the permissions in the "Settings":

  • Go to "Settings" - "Applications" and find the desired application;
  • In the window that opens, select "Permissions" and view the list of the privileges;
  • If necessary, select the desired one and disable the application access by moving the switch to the inactive position.

How to safely uninstall apps

Safe mode allows you to uninstall even non-removable apps

Well, and the last rule is a must-know ability to uninstall applications in safe mode. Despite the fact that I have listed only those sources that I used myself and that I fully trust, you never know where a malicious script will come across. Therefore, you must be able to remove a malicious application from your device, even if it cannot be done using the usual methods.

  • Hold the power off button on the side panel of the device until a special menu appears or the device turns off (this is true for very old models);
  • If there is a restart option in the menu that appears, click Restart. If not, turn off the device;
  • It may take a few seconds for your phone to turn off. As soon as the screen is completely dark, it will mean that the smartphone is turned off;
  • Next, if you have a smartphone, not from Samsung, then you need to turn on your smartphone and hold the volume down key when the logo appears;
  • If you have a Samsung device, you need to simultaneously hold down the power and volume down buttons;
  • If everything is done correctly, then after a full reboot, you will see the "safe mode" label in the lower-left corner of the screen.

Safe mode is characterized by disabling all applications except system ones and thus does not allow viruses to prevent their removal. Therefore, if you can't erase the app in the usual way, entering safe mode should solve the problem.

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