Help protect against harmful apps with Google Play Protect

Google Play Protect helps you keep your device safe and secure.

  • It runs a safety check on apps from the Google Play Store before you download them.
  • It checks your device for potentially harmful apps from other sources. These harmful apps are sometimes called malware.
  • It warns you about any detected potentially harmful apps found, and removes known harmful apps from your device.
  • It warns you about detected apps that violate our Unwanted Software Policy by hiding or misrepresenting important information.
  • It sends you privacy alerts about apps that can get user permissions to access your personal information, violating our Developer Policy.

Check your app security status

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. Tap Menu Menu And then Play Protect.
  3. Look for information about the status of your device.

Turn Google Play Protect on or off

Important: Google Play Protect is on by default, but you can turn it off. For security, we recommend that you always keep Google Play Protect on.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. Tap Menu Menu And then Play Protect And then Settings Settings.
  3. Turn Scan device for security threats on or off.

Send unknown apps to Google

If you choose to install apps from unknown sources outside of the Google Play Store, turning on the “Improve harmful app detection” setting will allow Google Play Protect to send unknown apps to Google to protect you from harmful apps.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. Tap Menu Menu And then Play Protect And then Settings Settings.
  3. Turn Improve harmful app detection on or off.

Information for developers

If you're an app developer and your app was flagged by Google Play Protect as harmful: 

If you believe that your app was incorrectly flagged or blocked by Google Play Protect, file an appeal.

How Google Play Protect works

Google Play Protect checks apps when you install them. It also periodically scans your device. If it finds a potentially harmful app, it might:

  • Send you a notification. To remove the app, tap the notification, then tap Uninstall.
  • Disable the app until you uninstall it.
  • Remove the app automatically. In most cases, if a harmful app has been detected, you will get a notification saying the app was removed.
How malware protection works

To protect you against malicious third party software, URLs, and other security issues, Google may receive information about:

  • Your device's network connections 
  • Potentially harmful URLs 
  • Operating system, and apps installed on your device through Google Play or other sources.

You may get a warning from Google about an app or URL that may be unsafe. The app or URL may be removed or blocked from installation by Google if it is known to be harmful to devices, data, or users.

You can choose to disable some of these protections in your device settings. But Google may continue to receive information about apps installed through Google Play, and apps installed on your device from other sources may continue to be checked for security issues without sending information to Google.

How Privacy alerts work

Google Play Protect will alert you if an app is removed from the Google Play Store because the app may access your personal information and you’ll have an option to uninstall the app. 

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