Last Updated on April 24, 2021 by Larious
The one thing that makes Android different from its competitors is its massive app ecosystem. Just take a brief look at the Google Play Store; you will find apps and games of different categories. However, the actual problem is that Google Play Store also houses fake apps. Although Google is taking appropriate steps to prevent fake apps’ spread, Fake apps still exist on the Play Store.
Fake Android apps in the Google Play Store have always been a problem for users. Developers often create listings that look exactly like popular apps, often using the same icon and name, but they are fake. Fake apps were mostly used to bombard your Android screen with ads.
Steps to Identify Fake Apps In Google Play Store
The fake apps could even install malware on your device in some cases. With so many apps available on the Google Play Store, it becomes important to consider a few things before installing an app. In this article, we will share a detailed guide on how to spot fake Android apps on the Play Store. Let’s check out.
1. App Name
One of the most common things you will find in the fake app is their name. Take a close look at the app name listed on the search page. The developers tries to change a few words in the name. For example, the fake Swiftkey Keyboard app might appear as ‘Swift Keyboard’. It becomes important to take a close look at the app name. The name indicates a lot about the app, and it’s one of the first things that you can consider.
2. Developer Name
Let’s admit, while installing any app on Android, we rarely check the developer’s name. Even if the name looks legit, you need to check the developer name. To verify a developer’s name, you can search the app name on Google. If the developer’s name isn’t an immediate indicator, you need to check their other apps. This can be done by clicking on the developer name on the Play Store listing.
3. User Reviews & Ratings
User reviews and ratings tell a lot about the app you are about to install. On the App page, scroll down to the bottom and find the user rating and reviews section. You need to check the review of the app. Many users might have complained about it in the review section if the app is fake. Also, the app will have mostly negative ratings. So, it’s recommended to check at least 4-5 reviews to analyze the app before installing it.
4. Download Rates
The next best thing to identify a fake app is to check the active installation. The popular and legit apps are likely to have lots of installs. On the other hand, fake apps would have fewer installations. Let’s take an example of WhatsApp – one of the most downloaded apps in the Google Play Store with over a billion installs. But what if the listing you are looking at only has 10,000? It’s a clear indication of a fake app. You should consider the total number of downloads before installing an app.
Analyzing an app’s screenshot is another best way to spot a fake app. Due to copyright issues, developers might not use the screenshots of an official app. Even if the screenshots look genuine, you need to read the text written on the images. Developers trying to replicate an app would leave some clues, and your ultimate goal is to recognize them.
6. Use Google Search
Well, this is another best way to find out if the app is safe or not. Users need to search on Google like “Is (app name) safe or not” or “If (App name) safe to install.” Google search will show you relevant results. So, you need to open those websites and check the reviews. You can also search the app name on Quora or Reddit to know whether the app is safe or not. So, a little bit of Google Search will help you find out a lot about the app you are about to install.
7. Check The Permissions
Checking the permissions before installing any app is very important. Usually, we don’t prioritize the app permissions, but it shows a clear picture of the app we are about to install and use. Well, it’s pretty common for an app like Skype to have permissions to access call logs, SMS, media files. However, if a calculator app asks to access call logs, SMS Logs, GPS, Read Modify storage, etc., then there’s something fishy. So, use your common sense to figure out what permissions the app really needs. If it’s asking for extra permissions, that’s definitely the bad app.
These are the best ways to identify a fake app on the Google Play Store. I hope this article helped you! Please share it with your friends also. If you have any doubts about this, let us know in the comment box below.