Use Google Play Protect to help keep your apps safe and your data private

Google Play Protect checks your apps and devices for harmful behavior.

  • 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 potentially harmful apps.
  • It may deactivate or remove 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.
  • It may reset app permissions to protect your privacy on certain Android versions.

Verify your device certification status

  1. Open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Under “About,” check if your device is Play Protect certified.

How to 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. Open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  3. Tap Play Protect and then Settings.
  4. Turn Scan apps with Play Protect on or off.

Send unknown apps to Google

If you install apps from unknown sources outside of the Google Play Store, Google Play Protect may ask you to send unknown apps to Google. When you turn on the “Improve harmful app detection” setting, you allow Google Play Protect to automatically send unknown apps to Google.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  3. Tap Play Protect and then Settings Settings.
  4. Turn Improve harmful app detection on or off.

Information for developers

If you're an app developer, you may be asked to send each new version of your app to Google. If Google Play Protect flags your app 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 Google resets permissions for unused apps

To keep your data private, Google Play Protect may reset app permissions for apps you rarely use. This feature protects devices that run on Android versions 6.0–10. 

Google may reset any permissions you grant from apps that you haven’t used for 3 months. When this happens, you may receive a notification from Play Protect. Play Protect doesn’t automatically reset permissions from apps that are needed for the usual operation of your device.

To review or manage which app permissions are reset

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Play Store app Google Play.
  2. At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  3. Tap Play Protect and then Settings Settings.
  4. Tap Permissions for unused apps.

To prevent Play Protect from automatically resetting permissions:

  1. From the list, select an app.
  2. Turn off Remove permissions if app isn’t used.

To turn this setting on and off for an individual app:

  1. Select the app and then Permissions.
  2. Turn on or off Remove permissions if app isn't used.

After you remove permissions, Play Protect doesnt regrant those permissions, but it doesnt reset any more permissions.

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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