How to Identify Fake Apps on Android

Here is how to identify fake apps on Google Play Store and avoid installing them. Android is known for its vast library of apps and moreover, its open-source approach. Google has made it generally easy to develop as well as publish Android apps on the Play Store hence promoting overall growth of the platform. However, unfortunately, developers with malicious intentions have utilized this initiative to their benefit by creating fake apps. To avoid problems and issues, this guide explains the basics of how to identify fake apps.

Google has strong checks in place that vet any app being published on the Play Store. While the checks focus on security, developers can publish an app that imitates another under a slightly different name. This is where the problem begins, for an uninitiated user, fake apps can easily disguise themselves as the real deal. Anyhow, here is a quick guide on how to identify fake apps easily. You can download the latest (and old versions of) Google Play Store here.

How to Identify Fake Apps, Google Play Store

Check and Identify Fake Apps on Google Play Store

There is no direct way to pin point which app is trying to imitate the original one but there are few ways that users can implement to make sure. We recommend giving each one a read so you are more aware when you are trying to install a new app from the Google Play Store.

Download with Google Play Store’s Automatic Suggestion

Google has noticed this issue of imitation and to address it, the company has come up with its own unique approach, which we will be referring to as suggestions, to combat the problem. The way suggestions work is, if you type an app name correctly, or semi-correctly even, Play Store will list the correct app as a big listing up-top. If you scroll down, only then would you be able to spot other listings.

This way, Google ensures that users searching for popular apps are always directed towards the correct listing. However, the only downside is, if the app you are looking for isn’t that popular, Google wont activate this feature and search results will be shown as normal. In that case, continue reading ahead.

Check number of installs on Google Play Store

A good indicator of spotting a fake from the original is, the number of installs / download statistic. For any app on the Play Store, within the app listing, you will see number of downloads. Logically, the correct app will definitely have greater downloads.

Check Number of Install to Identify Fake Apps

In this example, we searched for Facebook. The correct app has 5B+ Downloads which is a vast number. Similarly, other original apps will also have a large number of downloads — for the correct listings. To find the downloads of an app, just scroll down and you should see the statistic right before the screenshots of the app.

What do user reviews say? Read reviews on Play Store

Most important aspect you need to pay attention to while installing a new app are user reviews. For all Play Store apps, Google encourages users who have tried the app to submit a review. Original apps will have numerous reviews and most would be constructive opinions.

Check reviews on Google Play Store

For a fake app, it will generally either have low reviews or even if there are a large number of them, you will see they will sound robotic — clearly submitted just to increase the review count.

Are ratings very bad? Check ratings on Google Play Store

Just like the review system where users can submit their opinion, Play Store apps have ratings as well. The scale goes from 1 to 5 and uses decimal points as well. For a fake app, the rating will be closer to 1.

A complete 5 star rating is seldom attained but for original apps, the rating is always closer to 5 than it is to 1 hence it is a good rule to follow after you have checked the reviews.

Developer Name

Another good tip is to check the developer name before installing. Usually, many popular apps have the same company name as the app itself. Further, if that isn’t the case, usually a proper name is attached which will have proper spellings and no symbols in the name.

Check Developer Name on Google play Store

By clicking on the developer name, you can also view other apps by the same developer on the app store. This will also give you a great idea as to whether the app is fake because if it is, usually, the developer will only have that one app on the profile.

Read complete description

One of the key aspects of spotting fake apps on Google Play Store is inspecting the description. From the description you can judge aspects like proper language and details. Fake apps usually have mistakes or typos within descriptions and aren’t that properly written.

Proper app listings will have a detailed description that makes use of proper technical terms.

These were all the steps that will help you identify fake apps on Play Store. Have suggestions or questions? Reach us in the comments below!

Taimur Akmal
Taimur Akmal

Devoted writer, enjoys developing code. Appreciates excellent food, exceptional coffee and great company. He is also into sublime design and nicely built cars.

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