Looking for a way on how to check whether an APK file is safe to install?
Android is way more flexible than iOS in terms of control that the operating system gives to its users.
When it comes to app installation, you head over to your Google Play Store, search for your app, and tap install. Easy peasy right?
What happens when you can’t download for some reason or not available on the app store. The best way is to download the .apk file of the app and install on your device.
However, Installing a .apk file on your Android device isn’t as safe as one might expect especially if you download the APK file from non-reputable or untrustworthy sources.
Installing the apps from third-party or outside sources is known as “sideloading.”
So, before you sideline apps, Open your Settings, scroll down to Security and Enable the Unknown Sources.
Related read: How to Download and Install APK File on Android
How to Check whether an APK file is safe or not to Install?
All devices are vulnerable to viruses and malware and so does your Android device if it is to install third-party .apk files.
You cannot be ever sure of what the developer intended it to be. Some are pirated to bypass restrictions (such as in-app purchases) or, worse yet, injected with viruses to compromise your device security.
So, it’s best to check before installing any APK whether if it’s safe to install or not. There are some websites or tools that scans the files and provides the results accordingly.
Hash Droid allows to calculate a hash from a given text or from a file stored on the device in this case an APK file.
If you don’t already know, the SHA of a file is kind of like a digital fingerprint, and for every app, the developers mentioned the specific SHA.
All you gotta do is compare the SHA of the original app with the APK you have.
You can verify a file’s integrity by checking its hash value and check if the data is not modified or tampered with.
If the two SHA match, the file is safe. If not, it probably is tampered.
- Install Hash Droid from Google Play Store.
- It ha two options. Hash a Text or Hash a file. Select Hash a File.
- Under hash a file, select SHA-256.
- Choose and upload the APK file to check.
- Tap on Calculate and Compare Hashes.
Via this method, you can check the hashes of APKs and see if the APK file is indeed safe to install.
Another simple way to check the integrity of the .apk file is via the VirusTotal website.
It allows you to upload your APK files and check for viruses or any other security issues. However, one disadvantage of the site is that it will scan to a limited 128 MB which is fine for small files but not if you are looking to scan big files, especially for big games files of the likes of PUBG or Call of duty.
- Open the VirusTotal site.
- Among file URL, File, and search. Choose File, and on the browser dialogue box, select your file.
- Click on Scan it!
Metadefender allows you to upload an APK through your web browser for scanning.
Similar to VirusTotal, you can upload the APK file up to 140MB. The APK file is extracted and each individual files are scanned.
NViso ApkScan is quite similar to VirusTotal. It basically offers a detailed report on the APK file.
Unlike VirusTotal, NViso doesn’t have any limits to file size.
- Open the Nviso site.
- Select choose file.
- Either Drag and drop the APK file onto the site or choose the file you want to scan in the browser dialogue box.
- Click on the Scan package.
The scanning time depends on the Queue. If you have a long line, you can select “Email me the results when the scan has finished” and enter your email id.
Hopefully, this article helped you to scan your APK files before installation and avoid compromising your Phone by installing corrupted files.