Installing an APK file on your Android device isn’t as safe as you might think. Chances are, you have never experienced any issue after installing an APK, maybe you’re aware of the consequences and already know how to check or scan an APK file getting installed on the device. The very first advice the users get if their device caught up any malware is to check any file downloaded from unknown sources. And, the cure or this primary aid works almost everytime and takes the device back to its safest state once again.

Not everyone is aware of the consequences of installing a malicious APK file. Installing the apps from outside the applications store is actually called as “sideloading.” And, unlike Apple, Google lets you sideload the apps. For this, you just check the “Unknown Sources” in Settings so as to let the installation happen. But, this portrays a potential risk or even a big threat if the developer of that app has bad intentions. You can check before installing any APK if it’s safe to use or not with the help of some websites that scans the files and provide the signal accordingly.​

Why It’s Recommended to Scan APK Files

Sideloading apps works well, but there are some disadvantages. For one, sideloading is not allowed on Android devices by default. You will have to allow installation from unknown sources in Settings to be able to do it. Moreover, you won’t be getting updates for these apps automatically. You have to remember to update the app manually once an update becomes available in your area.

How To Scan Apk Files For Virus Unknown Sources

A more serious disadvantage is the inherent security risk that it represents. Because APK files don’t come from the Play Store, you can’t be sure that the app is as its developer intended it to be. In some cases, APK files are pirated to bypass some restrictions (such as in-app purchases) or, worse yet, injected with malware that will compromise your phone’s security.

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Colorful Different Insects, Worms And Bugs Flat Set

One way to prevent these nasty viruses from infecting your phone is to download APKs from trusted sources only. APK Mirror, for example, is generally accepted by the Android community as being a safe place to get APK files.

Another way you can prevent malware from being loaded onto your phone is by scanning your APK files for viruses before installing. There are a few services that can help you scan an APK. What follows are the best ones you can use.


Metadefender allows you to upload an APK file to be scanned by multiple antivirus engines. Files are treated as archives, meaning they will be extracted so that each individual file is scanned, but a scan of the whole unextracted APK file will be performed as well. Users can simply drag and drop their files, and a report will be compiled in a few seconds.

How To Scan Apk Files For Virus Metadefender

You can access the Metadefender service on your PC, but it’s also possible to scan files directly from your Android phone. While there’s no dedicated mobile app, you can still use it via your handset’s browser.

Metadefender can be used to scan almost anything – including IP addresses, URLs, files and more – not just APKs. So if you ever feel suspicious about something online, this is a great tool to have at your disposal.


VirusTotal is another alternative that works similarly to the previous one. It analyzes your APK files and helps to detect all kinds of viruses and malware that may be present. The service is easy to use: just upload your files to make sure they are bug-free. Additionally, you can copy-paste URLs in VirusTotal or use the search function to check IP addresses, domains or file hash.

How To Scan Apk Files For Virus Virustotal

VirusTotal is also available as a mobile app, although its use is limited to scanning the apps you’ve already installed on your device. It can be downloaded from the Play Store for free.

How To Scan Apk Files For Virus Virustotal Mobile App

Additionally, you may want to consider installing an antivirus app on your Android device. If you don’t know where to start, you can check out our list of the best antivirus apps you can get on your phone. This way, you’ll be able to monitor the state of your mobile through regular checkups.

If keeping all your devices safe from the threat of malware is a top priority for you, then perhaps you’d like to find out whether Windows Defender is good enough in 2021 or whether you really do need antivirus software on Linux.

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Check the Permissions

Another way to check if an APK is safe is to check the permissions it’s requesting. Every Android app has to request permissions to access certain device features. For example, an app that needs to access the camera will request the CAMERA permission.

When an app requests permission, the user is shown a dialogue asking if they want to grant the permission. The user can then choose to grant or deny the permission.

Some permissions are dangerous because they give apps access to sensitive data or features. For example, the READ_CONTACTS permission gives an app access to your device’s contacts database. The WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission provides an app with access to your device’s storage, meaning it can read and write files stored on your device.

Check the Reviews and Ratings

When looking at an app in the Play Store, scroll down to the Reviews section to see what other users say about it. If the app has a lot of positive reviews and a high rating, that’s a good sign that it’s safe to install. If the app has mostly negative reviews or a low rating, that’s a red flag. The app may be simply not very good, but it’s also possible that it’s doing something malicious.

You should also pay attention to how many reviews the app has. If it only has a few dozen or a few hundred reviews, that’s not enough to give you a good idea of what other users think. Wait for the app to get more reviews before you install it.

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