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19/05/2013

Google extends 3rd party apps verification to Jelly Bean 4.1 and below

If you are a tech/android junkie, try to recall the nifty feature in Jelly Bean 4.2 that allows users to verify third party apps i.e. not downloaded from play store (or sideloaded, as they say) before installing them. This is pretty useful, given the amount of malicious apps that are available on the internet which might steal your data or infect your phone with some harmful virus in lieu of providing a paid app for free.

Android justifies its “highly customizable” tag by making this option completely optional. The verification thing can be toggled from Google Settings, an app that was pushed a while back to all Android users. The good news is that this time the feature has been introduced not only on Jelly Bean 4.1, but also on really antique OS versions like Froyo and Gingerbread. I couldn’t test it on a Éclairs running device, because I don’t have one. If you are one of those unlucky few who are still stuck with Éclairs or below, let me know in the comments, whether this functionality has been rolled out to your phone or not.


An option to choose whether the user wants to install apps from unknown sources has been present in Android from the very early days. So, the power has always been in user’s hands, whether they want to sideload apps or not, but still, Google’s move will be more than appreciated by everyone. Fragmentation and malwares has made it to the top of the list of Android’s shortcoming and this is a step in the right direction.

I tried uninstalling Play Services and the Google Settings icon in the app drawer disappeared, but much to my surprise, the option to verify the apps before install was still there. The other things I tried with the verification system was to install Black Market, Pirated apps, Apps that root the phone (like z4root) which trigger the antivirus on my PC and every other apk that I could throw at it, but unfortunately, I failed to trigger any “risk found” message. If you have a link to a malicious app, give me a link to the apk (in the comments, obviously) or try it out on your phone whether it actually does anything.
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