Often, we require certain applications to install in our Android devices which are not available at Play store. In that case, we need to download and install either the .apk file or install it from a third-party play store. However, Android users who are security conscious gets in a dilemma, since installing the apps from a third-party site comes with threats of potential virus or malware. So, what to do when that scenario arrives. Before coming to the conclusion, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of downloading applications from a site other than play store.
If the apps are downloaded from a verified source, it is not that much risk.
- Enterprise Applications – There are some organizations who do not want their apps to be available on Play store. The reason may either be due to security or maintain confidentiality. If you require those apps, the only possible solution is to download it from the company’s website.
- Geo-fenced applications – There are certain applications which are only available on play store in specific countries or Geo locations. The get rid of that restriction, you can download the APK file from a third-party site. An appropriate example of this scenario is the Pokemon GO game, which released in certain countries at a much later date. However, players started playing quite long ago by downloading the app from other sites.
- Apps Blocked by Google – If you are a developer who is about to release a quite useful app, you need to abide by the terms and conditions of Google play. If you don’t, your app will be blocked. If you are a user, you may come across few such apps which are highly useful but blocked by Google. The only option in that case- download the .apk.
- Instant Apps – If the app you are about to download is not free, users often get confused. What if they download it and not find it worth the expense. Instant apps from a third party store provide them the ability to experience the app before spending their money, concluding in a win-win situation for both the user as well as the developer.
- Increasing Visibility – For developers, if their apps are available at sites other than play store, people get to know about their work, increasing the number of users as well as their fame as an app developer.
Although the count of advantages is more, there are some cons as well.
- The threat of virus – In the recently updated Play store, whenever an app is downloaded and installed, Google performs a security scan to check whether there is any virus or other potential threat. If the app is downloaded from a third party site, the security scan is often disabled, leaving your device vulnerable to threats.
- Increasing Risk of Malware – According to data published by Symantec, in 2017, 27000 new variants of mobile malware were found, the count increased by a shocking 54% in 1 year. It is better to play safe and avoid downloading applications from sites that are not verified or do not have proper user review.
- You May Lose Your Money – Purchasing a paid app from a third party store should be strictly avoided, especially if you find that there are no agreement or terms and conditions. If you do, a minor risk is there that you may end up paying money for a fake application.
- The threat of Hackers – Malicious application count is booming in recent years. It is not so difficult for a hacker to develop malware and make it look like a genuine application. Once installed, those apps may spread ransomware in your system.
In case of every new technology, both the pros and cons are bound to be there. Should you install apps from a third party site? It totally depends on what type of user you are. If you are someone who belongs to a technical background or knows very well to avoid malware and viruses, downloading apps from other sites should not pose any problem for you. However, if you do not have that much technical compatibility and require an app that is not available on play store, it is better to get it installed from a person who knows these stuff.