Apps & Software

Is The App Safe? 9 Things To Consider Before Downloading

With so many issues surrounding cyber security these days, it’s no surprise why the average Joe is sceptical about downloading apps & software onto their devices. Even iOS 9 seemed to have some pretty significant security flaws when it launched recently!

For that reason, our friends over at MacPaw put together a list of 9 things you should consider when deciding whether an app is safe. You can read all of them in more detail on their website, but I’ve summarised them below anyway.

  1. App Stores protect you… but don’t dismiss buying directly. App Stores, especially Apple’s, are well regulated to ensure that only the best and compliant apps get through. That means you can download new apps safe in the knowledge that your device and data will be safe. Buying directly from trusted developer websites is also an option; just make sure you trust the website before committing.
  2. Research new apps and their developers. Do some quick background research and use your intuition. Is the app asking for your data, or for social logins you don’t really want? Read reviews (watch out for fake ones), research the developer’s reputation and be cautious of installing from random sources.
  3. Maintain your data privacy. What sort of data does the app want from you, and how are they going to use it? If you care enough about your data’s security, read the app’s privacy policy.
  4. Check the app’s permissions. Similarly to the point above, check whether the app is asking for certain permissions to access your sensitive data. Does the app ask for GPS data when the app really doesn’t need to? Trust your gut and say no if need be.
  5. Communicate with the developer directly. If you’ve got burning questions and feel the need to ask the developer, reach out directly via email or social.
  6. Check for website security. When buying directly, check whether the website is using HTTPS rather than HTTP? HTTPS is a sign of a secure website, so be cautious to only pay on websites with that. Look out for security approved logos and that the website looks legitimate too.
  7. Read & submit app reviews. By writing reviews yourself you’re helping others to keep safe and make a better decision about downloading the app. Equally, by reading the reviews that others write before downloading, you’re in a better position to make a call yourself.
  8. Get rid of apps you don’t use anymore. If there are lots of apps you don’t use (like old games), but they still have access to your data, it’s not worth it. Get rid of them to be on the safe side. Plus, it saves your device’s storage!
  9. Trust your gut. Use your common sense and go with your instincts when buying or downloading an app — whether it’s in an app store or directly via a website.

Do you have any advice of your own? Drop us a line in the comments to let us know.

By Fabio Virgi

I'm the guy behind Let's Talk Tech and a travel blog called Fab Meets World. Some people call me a geek, I think they're probably right. I'm fascinated by technology and innovation, love good design and own way too many gadgets for my own good. Want to connect? Get in touch on Twitter and Instagram.