Getting random apps from places you don’t know put on your Android can be annoying. If you aren’t careful, you could have dozens of apps running that you don’t need. You can delete or uninstall them by hand, but you’ll need to figure out why they keep installing themselves on their own.
Even though it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause, this kind of behaviour usually starts when you accidentally click on a harmless ad or get an APK from somewhere other than the Play Store. Let’s figure out how to keep Android from installing useless apps.
Unknown Apps Keep Installing Automatically
1. YOUR ANDROID PHONE HAS PRE-INSTALLED UNNECESSARY APPS
Many low-end and mid-range Android phones, like those made by Samsung and Xiaomi, come with third-party apps already installed. Galaxy M-series and A-series phones, for example, have a lot of local apps and Microsoft services. The apps may be different depending on where you live, but they’re there. Some of the best-known Android phone companies let you uninstall and get rid of these apps.
2. YOU ACCIDENTALLY CLICK ON ADS
Many apps and games for Android have banner ads at the top, bottom, or across the whole screen. If you accidentally click on one of these ads, it will either take you to the Play Store to install the app or download it to your phone automatically.
Some app developers go too far and even put big ads right on the home screen. You can find these apps and stop them from doing this by following the steps below.
Step 1: Identify apps sending your ads on the home screen.
Step 2: Find the app icon from the app drawer menu and long-press on it.
Step 3: Open the App info menu and select appear on top option.
Step 4: Disable the permission from the following menu.
These apps can’t show you ads on the home screen. Also, you won’t accidentally tap on ads and end up downloading apps on your Android.
3. BE CAREFUL WITH GALAXY STORE (FOR SAMSUNG PHONES ONLY)
This is based on everything we’ve learned from using the Galaxy A52. When you use Samsung’s default Galaxy Store to update default apps, it may ask you to install random apps before opening the home screen.
Some users would probably go ahead without checking to see which apps will be put on their Galaxy phone. You should uncheck the boxes that let you install any of these, and then you can use the Galaxy Store to update apps.
4. WHEN SIDELOADING APPS FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES
You shouldn’t install apps from the web. Instead, you should only get apps and games from the Google Play Store. Google Play Protect checks every app and game on your phone for harmful files and gets rid of any fake apps that have them.
When you sideload apps from the web, Google’s Play Protect can’t find harmful apps because it can’t run. Some bad apps could download other apps in the background. You can go ahead and stop your phone from sideloading from unknown sources.
Step 1: Swipe up and open the app drawer menu.
Step 2: Open Settings on your phone.
Step 3: Go to the Apps menu.
Step 4: Find Chrome from the list and tap on it.
Step 5: Scroll down and select the Install unknown apps menu. Toggle off the ‘Allow from this source.’
5. LOCK SCREEN ADS
On the lock screen of many Samsung and Xiaomi phones, there is a wallpaper service called Glance. And it makes sense to click on one of the apps suggested on the lock screen and install it on your phone. You can, thankfully, turn off these services from the lock screen. This is how.
Step 1: Open Settings on your phone (refer to the steps above).
Step 2: Scroll down to the Lock screen.
Step 3: Select Wallpaper services.
Step 4: Tap on the radio button beside None and get back your ideal lock screen.
6. WHEN UPDATING SOFTWARE ON YOUR PHONE
With security patches and software updates, Samsung often installs apps on its own. We don’t think you should ignore OS updates because they are important for the security and longevity of your phone. Over-the-air (OTA) updates are sometimes used by your local carrier to put on partner apps. So every time you apply an update, you’ll need to be careful.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY
Installing apps without user consent via ads, lock screen services, OS updates, or Galaxy Store is a part of a larger scheme to boost partner apps’ download numbers and make some money. You can keep the above points in mind and stop the unknown apps from installing on your phone as a user. If you still see random apps appearing out of nowhere, your phone might be compromised, and you need to reset it from scratch.