Avoid GetJar! Thousands of Free Mobile Apps With the Risk of Malware
Google Play isn’t the only place where you can find apps and games for your Android phone or tablet. Arguably the longest-running app store on the web is GetJar, which has supplied software for mobile devices for over 15 years.
But what is GetJar? Why haven’t you heard of it? And is GetJar a safe repository of Android apps and games?
What Is GetJar?
GetJar launched in 2004, providing downloadable apps for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile/Pocket PC devices. Cross-platform Java ME apps were also available.
It’s essentially an app store, like Apple’s App Store, Google Play, the Microsoft Store, the Amazon App Store, and many others. You’ll notice GetJar predates the Apple App Store by four years.
While free apps were available to download and install, GetJar also acted as a marketplace. You could purchase popular mobile games, such as Sim City 2000 for Pocket PC.
These days, you’ll find many popular apps and games on the GetJar website and its dedicated Android app. However, it’s home to plenty of unpopular, out of date, and downright suspicious apps, too.
Pros and Cons of Using GetJar Apps
Android users have many alternative app stores beyond Google Play. So why choose GetJar apps over those from Amazon, F-Droid, and others? Here are some good arguments for GetJar:
- It curates its app selection
- Some premium apps are for free on GetJar
- It’s a replacement for any Android device without Google Play
- You can install apps and games from your mobile browser
However, GetJar isn’t as reliable as the Play Store or other alternatives because of the following issues:
- Apps are of unreliable origin
- GetJar lists hacking tools
- Social network “like hack” tools are also available
- Risk of malware and ransomware
- It’s ad-supported, making it difficult to trust as a legitimate app store
Whether you choose to use GetJar depends on how you weigh these advantages and risks.
How to Download GetJar Apps on Your Mobile Device
If you decide GetJar is worth trying, you have two options for installing Android apps: via your mobile browser or using the GetJar app.
Install GetJar Apps in Your Mobile Browser
Before proceeding, you’ll need to enable Chrome as an installation source. Open the Settings app and use the search field to find “unknown apps.”
Tap Install unknown apps and scroll through the list to find Chrome (or the browser you use). On the resulting page, ensure Allow from this source is enabled.
To install an app using your Android browser, navigate to getjar.com. Next, search for the app you want to use. There’s a search tool in the top-right corner; you can also use the Categories view.
With the app selected and its screen loaded, tap Download. In most cases, downloads should commence immediately. If not, GetJar will divert you to Google Play.
Agree to save the APK file. Once complete, tap Install.
When you’ve finished installing apps from the GetJar website, remember to disable Chrome as an installation source for security.
Another option for installing via your mobile browser is to first find the app on the GetJar desktop store. Click Download Info on the app’s detail page—this will explain how to use the Quick Install option in your mobile browser. The corresponding ID of the app will display (it’s also part of the app’s URL), which you should enter when prompted.
There is no real difference between these two options. However, you might find it easier to browse GetJar’s library on a desktop browser than on your mobile device.
Install the GetJar App
Frankly, the GetJar app is an absolute waste of time. Rather than a proper app, it’s essentially a shortcut to the website. There is little difference in UI between the app and the GetJar website. The only difference we noticed is that installing apps is a little quicker.
But you’ll still need to contend with ads. Because of this, if you must browse GetJar, we recommend that you use the website.
Dodgy Apps on GetJar
As noted, GetJar appears to host several suspicious apps alongside trusted names.
For every Facebook Lite, there’s a “WhatsApp Hack Tool” or a “PUBG Mobile Hack.” We also saw “Farming Simulator 14 Download,” along with many other AAA Android games that you would expect to pay for.
Not only are these games suspiciously named, the uncertain nature of their origin raises other questions. Do these APK files contain malware? Will they damage your phone?
The answer is that we simply don’t know. However, we do know that legitimately buying top-rated games on Google Play is far safer than downloading them on GetJar.
Is GetJar a Usable Google Play Alternative for Android?
It’s littered with ads, offers useful-looking apps whose origins are vague, and dresses this all up with APKs for well-known apps like Facebook Lite. Even worse, Malwarebytes Premium blocked the site with a Trojan warning and Chrome displayed a certificate error. Doesn’t really inspire confidence, does it?
Say you were stuck with a phone on a slow internet connection with no access to Google Play. Accessing GetJar for a copy of Facebook Lite might sound like a smart alternative. But since you don’t know what you’re really getting in the downloaded APK file, it’s simply not worth the risk.
Most of the time, your Android device is protected from risky apps. By default, only Google Play can serve apps and games to your phone for installation. Google Play is a safe, trusted library of software for your mobile device.
GetJar is not.
While it can be safe to install apps from unknown sources—perhaps mobile tools provided by your employer, or an app you’re developing yourself—for most people this is best avoided.
With everything considered, there is no reason to use GetJar. Plenty of smart Google Play alternatives already exist. Unless you’re specifically looking for illegally pirated/cracked software and don’t mind risking your device and data security, avoid GetJar at all costs.
Can’t Get Google Play? Don’t Download Mobile Apps From GetJar
By now, you should know that GetJar is a lousy app store alternative for Android featuring top apps and games. But the service is also littered with ads and hosts suspicious-looking apps, giving reasonable cause for concern.
As an alternative to Google Play, GetJar’s glory days are certainly behind it. Failing to revive Symbian and Java ME apps for the feature/dumbphone market seems like a huge strategic oversight. Worse still for GetJar, plenty of far superior Android app stores are available.
GetJar might offer thousands of free apps, but progress has left it behind. If you own a phone with no access to Google Play, stay away from GetJar. Instead, consider F-Droid or other safe places to download Android APKs.
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