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If you read privacy policy of some online apps, you will find that their services also store information about from where you download their app.

I wonder if this is possible because apk is a compressed archive which can't capture this information while being downloaded. Is it possible that google play store and google play services maybe adding this information after you install that apk.

Most of the time I don't even download or update apps from play store in my every android phone. I just share the apk from one device among every other home device via wifi and side-load them. How do they come to know the download source in this case?

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    I'm not sure of the exact method and it probably varies based on what they're using to track it with. But I think it's mostly the installer apps themselves reporting back, like Google Play or Amazon Marketplace. In my Google Analytics reports, I've seen various Android package names, like com.amazon.venezia for installs through Kindle for example. Most are entries of "not set" which is probably what you'll get for ADB and side-loaded APKs. – Mufasa Oct 20 '16 at 17:28
  • @Mufasa you're right. I did some search and found that they implement google analytics in their source code. – defalt Oct 21 '16 at 11:57

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