Android device users have the Google Play Store, which is the safest and simplest way to download apps on their device. However, there are other sources to download apps as well. You might have to seek other sources if the apps that you require aren't available on the Play Store or if it isn't available in your country-specific Play Store. In such situations, you also have the choice to download the APK of that app and use it on your device.
Today, we detail you the steps involved in downloading apps from sources other than Google Play Store. Also, we will shed light on the risks involved in such downloading such apps and how you can know if you are downloading one that is free from malware.
Set up your device for the download
To download apps other than the ones in the Play Store, you need to do some minor tweaks in the Settings of your device. To do so, you need to go to Settings → Security (or Security and Lock Screen). Over here, you will get to see an option 'Allow installation from unknown sources'.
You need to enable this option to install APK files on your device. You will get a pop-up asking if you are ready to install apps from unknown sources, and you need to allow it. It is safe to allow individual apps one at a time.
How to download third-party apps on your device
The next step after enabling your device to install apps from unknown sources is detailed here. You need to use the web browser on your Android device to open the specific third-party app store. Then, search for the app you need and download the same. Open the file explorer and locate the downloaded APK and install the same.
You need to be cautious
By default, Android doesn't let downloading and installing apps from unknown sources as it is unsafe to do so. If you are opting to download apps other than the ones on the Google Play Store on your Android device, you are taking the risk causing potential harm to your device.
You need to be cautious while downloading apps from third-party sources. Some applications or APK files might contain malware that is harmful for your device and the data stored in it. There are some malicious apps that download nefarious software on your device in the background.
If you happen to download a malware infected app from the unknown sources, you will have to uninstall the same and do a factory reset until your phone is flawless in its functioning.
Stay away from malware infected apps
Before downloading and installing apps from third-party sources, it is better to know how you can stay away from the apps with malware. You need to take a few precautions for the same. First thing is to check the permissions that the app seeks from you. You would have noticed gaming apps asking for your permission to access your contacts, emails, or call logs, which doesn't make sense. Some apps have a long list of permissions. It is always better to check the permissions than regretting later.
Also, have an antivirus software installed in your phone. Though the debate over antivirus software still exists, it is better to use one to check if the app you have installed is free from malware.
A few words
It is nice to have the freedom to install apps apart from the ones on Google Play Store on your device as it gives you a customized experience. But, you need to be careful while doing so. The right kind of customization is important to keep your data safe and private.