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Why You Need to Stop Using Instant Apps On Your Android Phone
By QUENTYN KENNEMER
Instant apps — now referred to as “Google Play Instant” — conveniently show content within the Android app’s native environment without a full install, via Google sort of “streaming” its user interface and content to your device. If you’re someone who prefers to use apps over mobile websites, it can seem like a dream come true.
Although it’s a great way to preview an app before installing it and is especially useful for quickly checking out at an online store you don’t often frequent, instant apps do come with downsides — chief among them being that any data you store in the app is only temporary. So, you’d likely have to resubmit your login credentials or payment information the next time you need to use it.
Your biggest concern, however, might be the speculation that, given the opportunity, a hacker could find a way to inject malicious code onto your device by exploiting vulnerabilities in Chrome and Android. A 2020 study by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that more than 50,000 apps out of a total of 200,000 could be exploited without proper code fixes by developers.
That alarming statistic might scare you away from using instant apps altogether, so here’s how to easily disable them. Open the settings menu in the Google Play app, navigate to General > Google Play Instant, and simply toggle off the “Upgrade Web Links” option. (You can still launch instant apps manually by tapping the “Try Now” button on its Google Play Store listing.)