4 Things To Consider Before Downloading An App

The ubiquity of smartphones is the reason they are fast becoming a necessity in today’s world and have penetrated nearly every aspect of our lives – be it personal or professional.

A huge part of their success can be attributed to the apps that they help run. Mobile applications are essentially the key drivers of smartphones as they have enhanced their existing functionality by a considerable amount and therefore, are said to have ‘revolutionized the digital world’.

With the incredible increase in the adoption of smartphones, in recent times, the corresponding fast paced growth of the mobile app industry comes as no surprise. It’s because of these efficient apps that people rely heavily on to get through the day. This increased dependability is the natural response ofusers to the variety of available apps that not only facilitate their daily activities but also keeps them entertained.

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Hence, smartphone users have been exposed to a myriad of app choices that can enhance yet simplify different facets of their lifestyle with just one tap. From apps that can connect you to your friends and family and keep you updated with the latest entertainment gossip to those that can locate the best burger joint in town and will let you relax while you tend to your virtual farm– the possibilities are endless!

The mobile app industry has thrived in response to the tremendous global growth of smartphones. It is expected to generate estimated revenue of $77 billion in 2017. Such amazing growth, no doubt, has software developers scrambling to add to the ever growing app market to cash in the opportunity.

However, it is important to bear in mind that no matter how interesting, exciting or informative an app looks, it is not always safe to download. You must take precautionary measures to ensure that the application you are downloading is legit, and miscreants won’t steal, sell or misuse your personal data through them.

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Following are a few tips that should be considered before you download an app:

Stick to a Trusted Source :

The first step towards eliminating the risk ofmalware making it to your phone is by downloading the application from your platform’s default app store. This implies that to be on the safe side, iOS users must download apps from The App Store, android users from Google Play and Microsoft users from the Windows Store, respectively.

This is advisable because these stores generally have set guidelines that must be followed by developers if they want their application to be published. Furthermore, the apps undergo a rigorous screening process and are reviewed thoroughly for any potential malware before they are published on each store.

Even though downloading apps off the official store should be a priority, it does not in any way imply that apps found elsewhere are always dangerous. Many times, the cost of getting an app published on the default store forces a developer to look for cheaper alternatives. However, it is important that the developer, before using a different app store, reads through their app development guidelines.

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Peruse the App’s Permissions :

Every time you click that download button for an app, a list of permissions requesting access to your information pop up. It is important for smartphone users to compare the application’s advertised features to the information the software is asking for. Remember, sometimes even the most user-friendly applications have intrusive policies.

Thus, it is advisable to ask questions like: does this study app really need access to my gallery? Why does this picture editor require access to my location? After all, they seem like rather illogical requests. Do not download the app if you are not completely sure of the company’s intention behind requesting such information.

This, however, does not mean that the developer that asking for access to several features on your phone will always have questionable motives. Sometimes, developers seek extra permissions early on to work on developing new features for future updates.

To protect your privacy, it is essential that you read through the app’s privacy policy to understand what information it is collecting and how it will be used by the company.

Avoid applications that seek permission to access sensitive data like your bank account details or credit card numbers. Some companies might pass on or sell the collected data to potentially harmful third parties.

A good idea is to contact the app maker by sending them an email just to eliminate any reservations you might have. If their response is not satisfactory, then it is better for you to skip the app altogether.

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Do Your Research :

Channel your inner detective before downloading a new application by developers you haven’t heard of. A visit to their official website can be of considerable help. Make sure to check out other apps That have already developed as well.

Reviews are crucial in determining the credibility of an app. Go through the company’s social media pages to gauge people’s thoughts and opinions about them.The reviews posted on the official app stores can be beneficial too or you can seek these feedback on different carriers forums pages to benchmark the app performance few carriers such as Sprint, AT&t and Airg have great discussion areas that can be used to leverage app’s performance.

Keep an eye out for those reviews or comments that seem genuine and highlight any issues with the application. Many times, certain companies either hire writers to write stellar reviews for their products or ask their own employees to give excellent reviews to raise the overall ratings of their apps.

So, if an app has reviews upon reviews of praise alone, you might want to think twice about downloading it. Remember that skepticism will keep malware and spyware off your phone.

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Beware of Fakes :

With the mobile app industry continuously expanding, opportunities for scammers to rip-off and cheat unsuspecting people are also growing. It is critical to beware of fakes because they can put both your privacy and your beloved smartphone at risk.

Therefore, to prevent this from happening, you must be able to tell a real app from a fake one. The first and foremost thing to do is to check the publisher’s name. Secondly, check the ratings and number of downloads.

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A genuine app is most likely to have higher ratings and a much larger number of downloads. Thirdly, visit the official website of the app developer and find the link which directs you to the actual app on the app store.

Lastly, the biggest giveaway of a fake app are the annoying banner ads displayed at the top and bottom of the screen or the ads that constantly pop up when you are using the app. If you experience this, delete the app immediately.

Follow all the aforementioned pointers to maintain your smartphone’s safety. Also, take precautionary measures like installing a mobile security application to avoid potential malicious threats, deleting the apps you no longer use and keeping your mobile operating system up-to-date at all times.

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ABOUT Erica Silva

Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.

Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1