APKPure is a website that’s packed with freeware, shareware, and even discontinued and restricted Android apps, but is it really app heaven for users? The website is hugely popular among Android fans looking for an alternative to Google, but there are no verification procedures so you may get more than you bargained for! Let’s explore APKPure, how it works, and if the apps are safe. Before we start, make sure you have trusted anti-malware like Avira Antivirus Security for Android.
What is APKPure?
On its website, APKPure simply sums up its mission as: “We believe all you guys deserve a better way to enjoy mobile life” (website status: 29 June 2023). It aims to achieve this by offering a vast collection of open-source apps and games for Android devices. Available as direct downloads in .apk and .xapk formats, the files are designed to work on all Android-capable devices including mobile phones, computers, and smartwatches. If there’s an app for that, and it’s not available in the Google Play Store, you’re likely to find it here, even if it’s been discontinued or is unavailable in your geographical location.
Essentially, it’s about putting control in the users’ hands. Launched in 2014, the website also prides itself on being one of the oldest and most comprehensive alternatives to Google Play Store. It’s the fact that it’s not tied to a major corporation and doesn’t operate with the same level of restrictions that is a drawcard for legions of Android users.
APK apps aren’t subjected to the same security protocols as those in the Google Play Store so they could contain security vulnerabilities, or even malware like Trojans. Challenges to your security and privacy lie both with the APKCure site itself and the way in which Android apps function: These apps sometimes demand permissions that may be unnecessary and even dangerously invasive, such as access to your camera, location, microphone—or even entire phone! Who knows what data apps from unverified sources could harvest and do you know what that data is used for?
APKPure value the freedom to choose the apps they want, wherever they want them, and find the risk is worth the reward. Do you agree? Let’s delve further into the pros and cons. And if you’re already feeling more paranoid, good! It pays to play it safe.
How safe is APKPure really?
Just because it’s big and everyone seems to be using it, doesn’t make APKPure an official app store. Google and online security experts caution against downloading software from any unofficial source as it can’t be guaranteed to be safe and could end up compromising your device or stealing your data. Official sites like Google Play Store and Apple App Store have multiple layers of protection and verification in place. Here’s what happens at Google: All Android apps undergo rigorous security testing before appearing in the store. Then there’s Google Play Protect: This has built-in malware defenses and scans 125 billion apps daily to make sure that they’re safe and clean. So, whatever you download from the Google Play Store, you’ll know it’s been rigorously checked before being uploaded onto the site and before you download it.
No system is perfect though and any vast library of apps with millions of users is a lucrative target for cybercriminals. Even Google Play Protect can only do so much, and some security experts believe that the system is better at recognizing known attacks than blocking new ones. Cloud-based Google security means that updates are continuously pushed through, but it’s sometimes still a case of playing catch up with the bad guys. Nevertheless, downloading from official stores will at least reduce the likelihood of playing into a hacker’s hands.
It’s worth remembering that the APKPure app store was infected by a malicious module in 2021 that downloaded Trojans onto Android devices. While the service claims that it matches the digital signatures of the apps to the original to avoid fakes, online threats can still slip through. The Trojan issue has since been fixed but if you do use APKPure, we recommend updating the app to the latest version (3.17.19 or newer) to take advantage of the fix. This brings us to the important security tip of staying on top of software updates for all your devices! Outdated software may contain security vulnerabilities known to hackers. Tools like the free Avira Software Updater (for PCS) help make it faster, easier, and safer to download the latest, clean updates, so you’re more safely patched against security loopholes.
So how trustworthy is APKPure? It’s generally regarded as safe(ish) and all apps are verified before publishing to ensure that they’re the original and have not been modified in any way. However, there are no additional security checks so the cautious among us are advised to head into the safe(r) arms of the big official players, like Google with its Play Protect.
Why people love APKPure: Let’s explore the pros
Security and privacy issues aside, it’s easy to see why the site is so popular.
- It packs in a wide variety of apps: APKPure feels like an all-you-can-eat buffet of apps. It also lists every app’s different versions and their descriptions, so you can choose the version that suits you best. Some users choose older versions because these contain features that are no longer available or work better on specific operating systems. However, as we previously pointed out: Outdated apps can lack the most recent security patches and updates, leaving you more exposed to cybersecurity threats while you use them. Beware!
- It’s free of geo-restrictions: In Google Play, customers can only view those apps and versions that are available in the country where that user is based. APKPure has no such geo-restrictions, so you’re free to find apps here that are unavailable in your Google store. Take your pick, wherever you are—your shopping list can span the globe!
- You’ll find the latest updates quickly: Updates must usually pass tests and verification processes in official stores before they’re released. APKPure doesn’t conduct the same level of advanced tests, so updates appear more quickly. If you’re impatient and don’t mind living on the (cybersecurity) edge, you’ll appreciate the site’s dedication to putting more apps at your fingertips faster.
- It’s open source: APKPure offers open-source APK files, apps, and games. “Open source” means that developers are free to design what they want to and can tweak a file to change it. They don’t have to navigate complex license issues and third-party approvals and aren’t locked into working with a single vendor. This freedom can boost innovation and helps keep development costs lower.
The downside of APKPure: What are the cons?
By now, you’ll be aware of the safety and privacy concerns of using unverified apps from unofficial sites but no list of the drawbacks of using APKPure would be complete without reiterating the security challenges.
- Malicious apps: If you’re happy to abandon verification and vetting procedures in favor of speed and a broad selection, you may pay another price: Some apps could harbor malicious software, or gain access to confidential data in your phone. Do you want any third party to hoover up your contacts and even online account login details? There are dodgy apps from questionable developers out there… Even reliable apps in APKPure can be hacked and altered and you’d be none the wiser.
- Outdated and brand-new content both come with risks: As mentioned before, you can also install outdated apps that lack the newest security patches. If fresh updates are unverified, they may still be vulnerable to exploits, so new isn’t always best if it’s unchecked.
- There are no age restrictions: Children can access age-restricted apps which could contain inappropriate or even harmful content. The “all are welcome” ethos of APKPure isn’t popular with parents.
Ultimately, only you will know if the risks are worth the rewards! Choose wisely….and if you want to play it safe, stick to the usual app stores instead. If you’re determined to feed your desire for the first version of an ancient app that’s only available in a foreign country, please take the usual precautions! Always research the app before downloading it to see what others have to say. Have a trusted anti-virus in place to help block online threats. Use a VPN to help keep your communications more private and to browse anonymously. It’s often simplest and safest to choose a multi-pronged solution from reputable online security experts. Free Avira Antivirus Security for Android blends multiple security, online privacy, and performance features into one handy solution. It includes an antivirus, web protection, identity safeguard, and more. For PCs, there’s Avira Free Security and there are trusted version for Mac and iPhones too.
Is APKPure legal?
As a web service, APKPure is legal to use. Do remember that it’s not an authorized app store and not all the apps on the platform are published by the developers themselves. Even if you have good intentions, you could venture into murky legal territory if you’re unlucky enough to download an app that breaks certain rules. Good luck out there and choose carefully!
Want to get started? How to download and install apps from APKPure
Here’s some helpful information on the files you’ll encounter on APKPure. APK is a standard package file format that’s widely used on Android to distribute and install mobile applications. The file is officially recognized by Google and can be installed on an Android device by default installer. There are also XAPK files. These are similar but a little more complicated than APK. XAPK is a standard zip format that contains Android app bundles of APK files and other files and graphics data in different packages. XAPK saves you time and space when you’re downloading large files.
Unlike APK files, you can’t simply download and install XAPK files on your phone through the default installer though. APKPure recommends its APKPure XAPK Installer as the easiest way to help you install and manage APK / XAPK file directly on your Android with one click. Here’s how:
- Download and install APKPure APP on your Android device.
- See Me > App Management > APK / XAPK Management to view the XAPK / APK file.
- Click on the “Install” button to install the XAPK / APK file you want.
- Enable the “Unknown Sources” setting on your Android device if necessary.
As with all online activities, please make sure that you have a comprehensive cyber-security strategy in place and keep all software rigorously up to date. Avira offers multi-pronged solutions for multiple devices, including protection for PCs, Macs, and iOS phones.