If you install apps from sources other than Play Store, you may see on your device something like this message “For security reasons, your device is blocked from installing apps from unknown sources. This is the Android security system. To be able to install applications from other sources, you need to do something – now you will see for yourself. Note that the scheme will be different for devices up to and including Android version 7 and from version 8, so we will tell you about both cases.
Once again: remember that all responsibility for installing applications from unknown sources rests on your shoulders. If possible, only use the Play Market store to install apps.
Is it safe enough to install apps via other sources
Android users most often install applications from Play Store. And this is very reasonable. The official store has security rules, which it requires developers to comply with. The “assortment” is monitored by the store itself, by users who leave complaints and low ratings, as well as by security researchers – so that even if malware manages to get into the Play Store, it is quickly identified and removed.
However, Android gadget owners also have the option to download apps from third-party sources. Is it worth it?
On the one hand, it is very useful for users: it is possible to find an app with the right set of features, even if there is nothing suitable in the store. On the other hand, more freedom increases the risk of “turning the wrong way” and catching a virus – because outside Play Store apps don’t pass quality and reliability checks (and often not at all).
Together with the installer of the desired program – or even instead of it – dangerous applications can get on your device, create bugs and steal personal data or money from your bank account. And sometimes you don’t even need to download anything: some malware is able to sneak into your smartphone if you just turn on the installation of unknown apps in the settings.
That’s why this feature is always turned off in new phones. To avoid becoming a victim of Android’s malfunctions, don’t be tempted to enable the installation of unknown applications. However, if there’s a case where you are aware of the source and its safety – go ahead and we’ll guide you.
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How to install an app with the new “Installing unknown applications” permission
As time goes on and developers create more convenient ways to use the Android system, without forgetting about security, in newer versions of Android it is now much easier to install apps from third-party resources. When you open an APK that you downloaded with any app other than Play Store, you will be asked if you want to allow that app to install other apps. This may sound a little confusing, but it’s actually a lot easier.
Just click “Settings” in the notification that appears, then use the “Allow installation from this source” switch to change to the active position on the screen that opens. From there, double-click the “Back” button and you’ll be taken to the app installation screen. Simply click “Install” and you’re done.
How to prohibit the installation of unknown apps in Android 8 and later versions
In modern versions of Android, this feature is called Installing unknown apps and is enabled separately for each app.
If you have enabled it, you will also have to disable installation from unknown sources for each app separately. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to Settings.
- Open the Applications and Notifications section.
- Click the Advanced button.
- Go to the Special Access subsection.
- From the drop-down list, locate Install unknown apps or Unknown apps and tap on it. A list of installed applications will appear.
- Check what is listed under each application name. If you see Allowed, select a service from the list and disable the installation of unknown applications.
Please note: we give the names of the settings from the “pure” Android. Different manufacturers often modify the standard Android interface, so in your smartphone, some menu items may be called differently.
How to prohibit installation from unknown sources in Android 7 and earlier versions
Before version 8 of Android, this setting was called install from unknown sources, and the only switch in the security menu was responsible for allowing or disallowing it:
- Go to Settings.
- Go to the Security section.
- Scroll down the page. The Unknown sources function must be disabled.
At first, glance, managing this setting in older versions is much more convenient, but in terms of security, things are not so straightforward. If you accidentally allow them to install unknown apps, then not just any app can download the malicious file, but any app at all, including the one you install later.
How to safely download an app that is not on Google Play
What to do if the program you need is not available in the official store, but you still need to install it?
- Look for analogs. Try to look again in the official store for similar programs. Maybe there is an app on Google Play that fits your needs.
- Check the file before installing it. If you can’t do without a third-party source, don’t rush to change your settings. First, download the installation file and, without running it, check it with mobile antivirus.
- Check permissions. Carefully examine the list of permissions that the app asks for during installation. If the program requires suspiciously many permissions – try to look for a counterpart with more modest requests.
- Disable downloading from unknown sources. Don’t forget to reset your settings after installation. Don’t leave your device open to malware!
Now that you know how it works in Android, you can see that Google is trying to keep security in its latest Android updates, which is only good for us consumers.