When using your Android device, there is almost never a situation where you have to look beyond the Google Play Store for your app needs. In the rare event that the Play Store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can always turn to third-party stores to find your desired APK. However, this can be a risky affair as it can lead to the appearance of harmful malware along with the download. Although Google uses Play Protect to keep its Play Store secure, not all third-party stores can say the same. Today we bring you top 8 websites for safe and secure Android APK downloads.
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Perhaps the largest and most popular third-party app store for Android apps, APK Mirror is the go-to website for all APK needs. The APK mirror verifies all downloads before publishing. It uses cryptographic signatures to identify verified developers and limits duplicates. For newer apps, it tries to match the signature to other existing apps from the same developer.
When the match is successful, the application is lit in green. If the signature doesn’t match, the APK mirror looks for the same app in other stores and compares it to the download on their site. If he can’t get a match, he contacts the developers. APK Mirror does not publish any APKs before verification.
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Like APK Mirror, APKPure also uses cryptographic signatures to verify the validity of the app it hosts. In addition to that, it also uses the SHA certificate to ensure that no harmful APK files are published on its website.
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One of the largest APK hosting websites, Aptoide was founded in 2011 and currently has 1 million apps in its catalog with over 300 million users worldwide. Aptoide claims to have one of the best malware detection systems among its contemporaries. It has been rated as the safest third-party app store according to a study by Waseda University in Japan.
Aptoide uses a collection of tools to recognize malware in apps hosted on its store. Then the apps also go through manual review by Aptoide’s “Quality Team”.
F-droid is a free and open source application repository, a great alternative to the Google Play Store. Unlike the Google Play Store, you don’t need to sign in with an account to download from F-droid.
All APKs hosted on F-droid are checked against their public logs of observed SHA-256 checksums. On F-droid, you can find a wide range of open source apps which are not available on the Google Play Store.
APKMonk offers an extensive collection of apps and games on its website. It performs regular malware checks and eliminates all problematic apps. You can also find multiple previous versions of an app on APKMonk. Metadata for these apps comes directly from the Google Play Store and links back to the app’s original listing.
APKHere provides access to a plethora of apps from around the world that are not published on the Google Play Store. You can find tons of apps in several different languages on this website, which you couldn’t download from Google Play Store due to region lock.
Based in Romania, Softpedia is a comprehensive encyclopedia for all things tech. The website provides a ton of apps and software not only for Android but also for Windows, Linux, and Mac. In addition to that, the website also has a news and reviews section, to cover all your technical queries.
As the name suggests, APK Downloader provides you with all the latest apps offered. APKs are shared from Google Play Store, which leaves little room for dubious malware. The design of the website is minimal and easy to navigate, making it one of the most user-friendly APK download websites.
Even though the websites listed above are as safe as they come, it is still advisable to exercise caution when downloading items from third-party stores. There are a variety of malware detection tools present on the Play Store that will help you avoid problematic downloads on your smartphone.
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