Android, as we all know is a Linux based mobile operating system. With all the customization and tweaks, it offers to users, it also brings some restrictions which are beneficial (maybe) for the users in the long run. These restrictions can be easily aborted by the user if he/she wants to. One such restriction is Sideloading Android Apps. We can easily install Sideloaded Android Apps if we want to, but by default, it is disabled on your Android OS. Before going any further, let us discuss ‘What are Sideloaded Android Apps?’
Sideloaded Android Apps are those apps which are usually downloaded in the form of APKs (Android Application Package) and then installed on an Android device. These apps are usually not available on Google Play Store and are downloaded from different websites. Now the question which arises here is, ‘why there is a restriction on installing sideloaded applications’ or ‘why is installing sideloaded apps, a risky business?’
The reason behind restriction on installing sideloaded applications is “malware”. The sideloaded applications do not have to go through the “security check” so it is possible that these applications may contain malware (either direct malware or indirect malware). This malicious code can make their way onto the Android device and can infect the files which may cause problems on your Android device. So, it is not recommended to install sideloaded applications.
Now, with the launch of Android 8.0 Oreo, Sideloading Android Apps got a lot safer for users and the risk involved in it is quite reduced. The question which you will now ask is ‘How?’ The newly launched Android 8.0 Oreo, brings a system with a new runtime permission called “Install Unknown Apps”. With this system, you will need to approve a permission every time you install an app. This may sound to you like the previous method, but the big change here is you need to give permission per-app i.e. you need to give permission to the system every time you install a sideloaded android app from a different app.
Let us explain this with the help of an example. Suppose you downloaded an APK file on your Android device using Google Chrome. After the download is completed, Chrome will start the package installer. If you have downloaded the APK file for the first time, then the chrome will ask you whether you are sure for installing the app or not. You will also have an option to “Always Allow apps downloaded from chrome”. You can choose to “Always allow” or “Decline” depending on you. Now, again if you will download APK from a different source such as Amazon App Store, you will have to go through the same procedure again.
This is a huge change/development from previous versions of Android where it was “allow for all apps or decline”. Now, you can give “Install Unknown Apps” permission on Per-App basis. Installing Sideloaded Android Apps is now more secure and safer with Android 8.0 Oreo because we can pick apps and choose which apps we want to give permission to and which we don’t.
You can also check which app have “Install Unknown Apps” permission and which doesn’t by following the below procedure:
- Head to Settings option on your Android device.
- Click on Apps & Notifications.
- Next, tap on Advanced option.
- Click on Special App Access.
- At the bottom of the screen, there will be an option named “Install Unknown Apps”.
Just click on “Install Unknown Apps” and you will see which all apps have permission to Install unknown apps and which don’t have the same. You can also further change the settings of these apps.
This is how Sideloading Android Apps have got safer with Android 8.0 Oreo. If you have any queries, just drop down a comment below and if you feel this article was helpful to you, please share it on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.