There’s an App for That – But Is It Safe?

There’s an app for everything these days, and as the game of bridge grows, I expect to see an increase in the amount of apps that allow you to play cards, apps that allow you to count cards, apps that let you shuffle decks, come up with conventions and apps that act as bridge teachers.

But is every new bridge app out there safe – and what can you do if you either have issues or have concerns about what you’ve just downloaded to your phyone?

Here’s what to do if you’ve downloaded any kind of new app to your phone and you experience issues.

Apps Endure Several Tests

Apps that are listed on the Google Play Store and Apple Store have undergone several virus tests by the time they get listed. Internal virus tests willl catch most of the potential nasties that might be hiding in software – and this means that the majority of verified apps on app stores have been tested at least a few times.

However: This doesn’t mean that every app you download from the internet is safe.

Duplicate apps exist and spyware can sneak in, and many times an app can be downloaded as an external .apk from something that isn’t the app store – and hasn’t been verified in the same way.

If you think of downloading any new app to your phone, it’s safer to:

  • Always download the app you want directly from the App Store for your device, or download it from the link you find on the official website for the app.
  • Avoid third-party .apk download sites. Here, people can (and often do) upload anything they want. It might look like the legitimate app, but either be a clone stealing information or an authentic app with added malware.

Help! I Think I Have Issues

The first thing you should know about an app when you experience issues or get a virus is this: The developers themselves might not be aware that a virus or malware has attached themselves to the app – so step one if you see something weird happening after downloading an app is to tell the developer.

Contact details for the developer can usually be found on the app store, and if it’s not there you can usuallly find it on the official website for the app or developer.

Get in touch, tell them what issues you experience – and if you have a suspicion that a virus might have attached to their app or someone is releasing duplicate copies of their .apk file somewhere, let them know.

I’ve downloaded plenty of apps and had issues with some: One included ads that popped up so much they shut down the phone entirely.

Once I contacted the developer of the software, it turns out they didn’t know this was happening to users yet: The issues were fixed, and I didn’t experience the same problems with the software again.

I could have abandoned the app, but letting the developer know actually helped.

What If The Developer Doesn’t Help?

What do you do if you contact an app developer and you’re not getting feedbback?

Sometimes it helps to get in touch with the developer through another contact method. If you’ve tried the app store and their e-mail address, try getting in touch through their social media pages.

Most developers have put  so much time and effort into developing their apps that they don’t want to see them go south. Thus, the majority of developers will eventually get back to you in relation to your queries.

Having said this, there are some apps that are malware and know it. What do you do about these when you encounter them – and you can tell that the developer knows what they’ve built into the software?

File a report with the relevant app store and submit along the proof that you have, including attempts to let the developers know of the issues.

It could save many other downloaders a lot of trouble.