Users can test out apps without installing them thanks to the Google Play Instant apps feature. In Google Play, Android apps with similar functionality have a “Try Now” button next to the “Install” button. When a user hits “Try Now,” a virtual version of the app is set up so they can test it out and determine whether they want to install the full version. It is useful because of this feature, especially when the program size is big. Users can see a sneak peek before downloading and decide whether it is worthwhile. Using Google Play Services for Instant Apps, Play Store manages this service.
Quick apps (Image source: Google Play Store)
Although Google had good intentions, the feature immediately encountered issues. Some of the issues with the Instant Apps functionality are listed below:
Instant Apps Downloaded Without Permission: One of the primary issues is that on some Android versions, users reported that instant apps would download themselves without their knowledge. This sparked instant app virus rumors. Many irate Android users have posted concerns online about how Google Play Services for Instant Apps installed itself and downloaded instant apps without their consent. However, are instant apps malicious? It is obvious that instant apps are not a virus based on the facts in the first paragraph. However, it is obvious why people would immediately think of the Instant applications Android viruses given this behavior on various Android versions and devices.
Deficiency in security Instant apps has proven to be a nightmare for security. Researchers have shown a severe security flaw that can be used to steal information over time. The flaw was first discovered in Android 4 (Kit Kat) in 2013, but it took instant apps till 2016 to make it very simple to attack. Hackers were able to steal cookies and personal information using the Android Webview component. Criminals could access the browser history and steal authorization tokens. Instant programs’ primary purpose is to launch the Chromium browser and download a brief file. This file runs as a native application. Even though this file is erased as soon as the instant app is closed, hackers were able to access Webview data by using malicious instant apps that took control of the browser. The sole time this vulnerability was patched was in January 2019. It had existed for four years.
Advertisements: Some Android devices, like those made by Huawei, Tecno, and Infinix, employ customized versions of the operating system that are loaded with bloatware. Instant apps on these devices let users play games without installing them, but the games also include annoying non-gaming adverts that keep coming up on the screen.
How to Prevent Downloads of Instant Apps
Instant apps installing on their own is one of the key reasons Android users worry. Instant programs can stop automatically downloading in a number of ways. Make use of the Google Play app
Toggle the switch to disable the auto-download setting by opening the Google Play App, going to Settings > Google Play Instant, and then selecting that option, as seen in the screenshot below.
Devices with Roots
The second approach is for rooted devices and is extremely technical. The technique involves preventing write access to the cache folder, without delving into too much technical detail. This folder is where Android downloads system programs like Google Play Services for Instant Apps. The only approach that will prevent instant apps from automatically downloading is this one.
How to Remove Instant Applications
Custom Android versions that don’t promptly destroy the instant app file as planned are the cause of persistent instant apps. You most certainly have a customized Android version if you see obtrusive adverts or have icons for your favorite apps on your home screen. In this situation, you have a number of choices for removing instant programs from your mobile device. Make use of the application manager depending on the version of Android you have, there are various approaches. Navigate to the app list under Settings. As demonstrated in the screenshots below, tap Force Stop, then choose Storage, and finally tap Clear Both Data and Cache.
Device restart in Safe Mode
Restart the device in safe mode if using the application manager doesn’t work. To understand how to launch your device in safe mode, consult the user handbook. For instance, when the Samsung logo shows on the majority of Samsung phones, the user must hit and hold the volume down key. You can remove troublesome third-party apps from your device while in safe mode. Return to the app list and arrange the programs from most recent to oldest. You can quickly locate the problematic app and uninstall it if you can recall when you first started experiencing phone issues. Return to the settings screen and enter “Admin” in the search bar if you are still unable to find the problematic app, as demonstrated in the photos below.
This will give you a list of all the apps on your phone that have admin rights. Retract the permissions for any dubious apps you see on this list. Check how the device performs after a restart.
Back to Factory
Pre-Android 7 smartphones are affected by the vulnerability we disclosed. Criminals were able to install harmful apps on phones thanks to this security flaw. You must wipe your phone to get rid of the malware if it was already infected before the patch. Malware can be eliminated with the help of an antivirus, but the best approach to be certain is to factory reset the phone. All the data and applications on the Android phone are deleted as a result.
Make a backup of your phone before performing a factory reset. Your Android device will determine the procedure. Go to Settings and choose “backup my data,” for instance, in Android 6 (Marsh Mallow). Go to Settings, then System, and choose Backup in Android 8 (Oreo). Your Google account will receive a backup of your apps and files. Reset options by going back to one level and choosing that option.
Change the Firmware or Your Device
You are left with no alternative but to replace your gadget if a factory reset doesn’t fix the issue. Due to the fact that the issue is hard-wired into the firmware, resetting a smartphone running a customized version of Android rarely solves the issue. The only other choice besides getting a new device from a brand with a better reputation is to upgrade the firmware.
To enter download mode, restart your phone and search online for the original Android firmware for your handset. On the majority of devices, this is accomplished by turning off the phone and then simultaneously pressing the Volume Down, Power, and Home keys. When the phone is in download mode, use a USB cord to connect it to a PC, and then use a free utility like Odin to flash the firmware.
Quick apps (Image source: Odindownload.com)
Advice on How to Avoid Instant Apps
Although instant apps were designed to give consumers a means to test out applications before installing them, most users have a mixed reaction to them. Follow the advice below if you don’t want
the choice of quick apps:
Disable the Google Play App’s feature to prevent immediate apps from downloading to your phone unless you specifically click on a website link.
Avoid non-Store apps: Not all non-store apps are nefarious, as this statement implies. It is entirely reasonable why some developers don’t like to share their profits with Google. However, installing malicious programs typically involves APK files.
Purchase a reliable brand of phone: Avoid buying from companies that employ adapted Android versions. Avoid dealing with bloatware and self-installing apps by using the original Android firmware.