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Is it safe to download and install Google Play from apkmirror.com? How can I check this is a safe download?

Backstory:

I had to factory reset my original Samsung Galaxy Tab as it refused to start up. After the reset, I haven't been able to update Google Play. Every time I try, it crashes with '(process com.android.vending) has stopped working'.

I've seen multiple references to the site, but nothing official from Google.

  • www.apkmirror.eu is a site that locks your browser and asks for money. Be careful of which you use. – Damascus Feb 24 '17 at 21:41
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    www.apkmirror.eu has no relationship to apkmirror.com... Just to be clear, the .eu site has no connection to the "real" apkmirror or Android Police. – acejavelin Feb 24 '17 at 22:08
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Apkmirror.com is run by the same people behind AndroidPolice.com, one of the biggest Android news websites. All uploads are manually vetted and approved, and only free apps are allowed so you won't find any 'cracked' apks or 'warez'.

As you already have the Play Store installed, only an apk signed with the same key as the currently installed version will be able to upgrade the app so this is an extra verification of the apk you download. Therefore, if you download the app from Apkmirror.com you should be safe.

Personally, this one of the only sites I would trust to download apks from.

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    How do we verify that the APK available from APKMirror is exactly the one available in Play Store? Can you provide a method? Your answer relies on trust and trust is something which gets exploited and reaps benefit when lots of users get used to some product. // (Remember that *ell and *enovo sold out their customer's trust by using fake SSL certificates in computers they shipped to customers. They are very big companies in certain regions.) – Firelord Jan 30 '16 at 13:54
  • If you don't have a copy of the apk from Google Play then that's very difficult. If you do, then you can verify the MD5 checksum matches for both apks. You're right though, it does depend on trust. Considering the site exists purely to allow downloading apks, any doubt that the files are safe would result in the site losing a lot of trust within the Android community and likely the end of both AndroidPolice.com and Apkmirror.com. – bmdixon Jan 30 '16 at 13:59
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    @bmdixon Can you confirm that if the app is signed with Google's key, it's definitely legit? The fact that this is the app that controls all the apps on my device is making me ultra cautious. – David Jan 31 '16 at 5:42
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    If it's signed with Google's key then it is almost certainly legit. If someone else got hold of Google's key it would be possible to sign apps using it but that would be a huge security risk for the whole of android, not just the Play Store. You can be pretty sure that no-one has access to Google's key. – bmdixon Jan 31 '16 at 10:07
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    For further freedom there is F-Droid – beppe9000 Jul 2 at 23:39

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