Google warns against sideloading apps on 'uncertified' devices

MANILA, Philippines – Google on Saturday, February 22, warned against the practice of sideloading apps on "uncertified" devices in an online post meant to address questions regarding the Huawei situation with the US

In the case of Huawei, these "uncertified" devices are phone models released after May 16, 2019 when the US government placed the company on an "Entity List"  due to allegations of spying. After being put on the list, Google was prohibited from collaborating with the Chinese tech giant any further, thereby preventing official security certifications and access to a list of essential Android apps. 

"Our focus has been protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei devices around the world.  We have continued to work with Huawei, in compliance with government regulations, to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on existing devices, and we will continue to do so as long as it is permitted. To be clear: US law currently allows Google to only work with Huawei on device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019," Google said. 

In order to circumvent the ban, customers have resorted to sideloading – a process that involves manually downloading an app outside the official Google Play Store and installing it on a phone. One of the most heavily affected models by the ban is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, the brand's late 2019 flagship. 

Online, there have been several guides offered by both international and Philippine media on how to sideload apps. But now, Google makes an official statement on the practice: 

"In addition, sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security." 

For many users, this isn't new knowledge. Many who go to the trouble of sideloading apps already have an awareness that there is certainly some risk in sideloading, a risk that some are prepared to accept. – Rappler.com