The downside to using an open source phone OS is that it’s pretty much the Wild West when it comes to standards and quality. While the Google Play Store tries hard to manage the apps it hosts, there are simply too many to be truly effective. That leaves responsibility with us, the users. One way to protect ourselves from nefarious apps is to prevent apps from installing without permission on Android.
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent apps taking over your phone.
Stop automatic updates in Android
Automatic updates are useful but sometimes there is too much going on in the background without your knowledge. Disabling automatic updates is a way to control that.
1. Navigate to the Google Play Store and select the three menu lines at the top left.
2. Select Settings and uncheck automatic updates.
3. Keep the notification of update settings turned on, just in case.
Stop unsigned apps installing
You can also limit the type of apps that get installed on your phone. This is a useful tweak for those users who don’t have to try the latest app or game.
1. Navigate to Settings, Security and toggle off Unknown sources.
This will stop the downloading of apps or updates from unrecognized sources, which can help prevent apps from installing without permission on Android.
If an app continues to install without permission you’re going to have to remove it and possibly perform a factory reset. There are a few rogue apps out there that either contain malware or tracking software. These often come in the shape of free games, memory management apps or free music. Check Toms Guide for performing a factory reset if you need it.