Huawei phone users: Google warns against installing its apps

  • Google has issued a fresh warning to users of newer Huawei smartphones, suggesting that users should avoid side-loading Google apps on their devices for security reasons.

    Last year the US government placed Huawei on a list of restricted tech companies, effectively banning any US-based tech company from supplying technology to the Chinese telecoms giant. The problem is that this ban also covers Google, the creator of the ubiquitous Android mobile operating system used by Huawei's suite of commercial smartphones.

    The ban effectively prevented Google from providing certain Android updates to existing Huawei devices, and throughout 2019 it became clear that Huawei would not be permitted to even use Android on its new devices or access the Google Play store. In response, Huawei announced that it would be replacing Android on its new devices with its own custom-built operating system and designing a competing store.

    Google has previously warned the US government that the Huawei ban could lead to serious national security risks as Huawei's own operating system is far more likely to be vulnerable to hacks than Google's Android OS. While the Mate 30 and Honor V30 series phones are running on a core OS of Android 10, they currently don't have access to any Google apps. Older phones such as the P30 series do still have access to the Play store but won't get certain Android updates.

    Some users of the restricted phones have been installing Google apps anyway by "side-loading" them, bypassing a store altogether and installing the app directly using a downloaded APK file. Google has issued a fresh warning against doing this, as installing apps from unknown sources opens phones to potential security exploits and non-store apps won't update automatically when security problems are discovered and fixed. Any devices that have access to the Google Play store are safe to install Google apps via this method.

    Source: BBC News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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