Nowadays, there are many mobile applications that you can download for free. There are a lot of free applications for you to choose from, whatever it is you desire: from music apps to games, planners, and fitness apps. However, as high as the number of applications you can download are the chances that you might download an application that is harmful to your cellphone.
Here are some of the ways to tell if a mobile app is safe to download or not:
Check the app on an application authenticity check software
There are now many websites that serve as an application authenticity check software, such as websafetyadvice.com. These websites check both Android and iOS apps. They are quite easy to use, as all you have to do is to type in the name of the mobile app you would like to be checked.
Study the App Specifics
Just because an app is downloadable on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store doesn’t mean that it’s a hundred percent safe. Therefore, when you’re downloading an app, check its specifics first, especially its source if it is a reputable one.
Here are indications that the source of your app is trustworthy:
- Read through the app’s information and see to it that the developers have set strict criteria when developing the app; you may check their qualifications and standards.
- There are high star ratings and quite a number of positive feedback from its users.
- The terms of service are written well, with clear contact information.
Identify the Source of the app
If you can, avoid downloading mobile applications from any third-party source or by copying from a flash drive and a computer. The safety protection that you have from direct sources like Google and Apple is still higher, especially after studying the app specifics.
Downloading or copying apps from another source is a sure way to infect your mobile phone with viruses and malware. If you do so, you’re not protected by any security measures; hence, it becomes easier for hackers to extract confidential information from you. Remember, there is undoubtedly a reason why an app is not found on the app store. Hence, applications sourced from a third party are usually considered unsafe.
Examine the Permissions that the Application is Asking
Yes, it’s necessary for an app to ask for permission so that it can work on your phone fully and effectively. For example, Waze will always ask to be connected with your Location settings, Viber will always ask for access to your contacts, and Instagram will definitely need access to your photos. However, when an app asks for a long list of permissions that you think are no longer necessary, then that should be a red flag for you.
These are examples of valid permissions that an app might ask for:
- Access to photos
- Enabling location services
- Access to phone contacts
- Permission to run network services
Take note that anything outside of this list or permissions that don’t have any connection to the app that you’re downloading are considered as no-nos.
Check the number of Downloads
One of the easiest and most basic ways for you to have a good judgment that an app is safe is to check the number of downloads. The more users who download an app, the more popular it is, and the more reliable it becomes.
A high download rate means that the developer has established trustworthiness with its users.
Check the Publication date of the Application
The publish date of an app should coincide with the year that most users have started using the same app. For example, you want to download Expedia into your cellphone. It is a well-known fact that Expedia has already existed in the mobile app world for at a minimum of two years. However, this version of Expedia that you’re looking at has only been published three months ago; this should be a telltale sign that it is a fake app, and it might be malware or hack app that was built to take your credit card details.
These little tips and tricks will help you decide better as to whether or not a mobile app is safe. Downloading a mobile app that is unsafe will put your phone and your data at high risk. Aside from the damage, an unsafe app can cause to your device, it can also cost you your privacy as your mobile phone may store private and confidential information. As per Gadgetsnow report, 149 apps in November 2018 were found dangerous.
With these tips, you can now screen the applications that you choose to download so you can use apps safely and confidently.