Protect against harmful apps

About verifying apps

Some applications can harm you or your device. You can choose to verify apps in order to help prevent harmful software from being installed on your device.

If you attempt to install an app from any source while app verification is turned on, your device may send information identifying the app to Google.

If the app is harmful, Google may warn you not to install it, or it may block the installation completely. Google will also periodically scan for harmful apps that are already installed. For a potentially harmful app, you'll be notified that you should uninstall it. If an app is known to be unsafe, Google will remove it from your device.

When you verify applications, Google receives log information, URLs related to the app, and general information about the device, such as the Device ID, version of the operating system, and IP address.

Control app verification

Android devices that have Google Play installed have the option of using Google as an application verifier. App verification is turned on by default, but no data is sent to Google unless you agree to allow this when asked in the dialog that appears prior to installing the first app from a source other than Google Play.

To manage app verification, go to your device's apps menu and touch Google Settings > Verify apps. Touch the box next to verify apps; the setting turns on when the check mark appears. If your device is running Android 4.2 and higher, you can also go to Settings > Security > Verify apps

If you have a tablet with multiple users, only the tablet's owner can change this setting.

App verification is available when you choose to install apps from sources other than Google Play. To install apps from other sources, go to Settings > Security, then touch the box next to Unknown sources.

If you attempt to install an app that may be unsafe, you may see one of the following dialogs:

Installing this app may harm your device

The app may be harmful to your device and personal information.

 

Installation has been blocked

The app is harmful and can’t be installed.

 

Scan for harmful apps

When "Verify apps" is turned on, Google regularly scans for potentially harmful apps that are already installed.

After an app is scanned, you may see one of the following screens:

Google recommends that you immediately uninstall this app

The app is potentially harmful to your device and should be uninstalled right away.

 

To protect you, Google uninstalled this app

The app is unsafe and was uninstalled automatically to protect your device.

 

Turn off app verification

If you wish to stop verifying applications at any time, go to Google Settings > Verify apps, then touch the box to remove the check mark. For devices running Android 4.2 and higher, you can also go to Settings > Security > Verify apps.