I am Vietnamese and I cannot type my language on my Android phone i.e. Samsung Galaxy S4

So I look for apps that help me to input Vietnamese. My issue is that I'm affraid the apps will bug me and know everything sensitive that I type.

How can I know if one such app is safe to use?

p.s. I add a sample of such apps as below - Laban Key; with the required permission(s)

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You can't. A keyboard, by nature, is required to know everything you type, including your account credentials. Your best bet is to select keyboard coming from top developers.

My favorite? Multiling Keyboard, supports multiple languages (including Vietnamese), highly customizable, the only keyboard I know of that doesn't require Internet permission (so the keyboard can't send what you are typing on the fly).

Some other popular keyboard that support Vietnamese includes Swiftkey (free), Swype (paid).

As for Vietnamese products, Laban is fine (comes from Vinagame I think), Gotiengviet also was used by hundreds of thousands users without any incident.

  • About Internet permission requirement, I wonder if the app store those sensitive data somewhere to the phone storage, and via another VNG app with Internet permission, upload that data to their server. What do you think about that? – Nam G VU Sep 3 '14 at 8:43
  • Laban Key comes from VNG and even via rumor from Pham Kim Long - the author of the legendary UniKey. As VNG is a Chinese-funded company, I do not trust them. If only Pham Kim Long do the same thing for Vietnamese input/keyboard on Android as what he do for desktop alone. – Nam G VU Sep 3 '14 at 8:44
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    Well, if you really doesn't trust Vinagame then just use someone else's product, I mentioned 4 alternatives in my post :) The power of Android is the power of choice after all – Thanh Phú Sep 15 '14 at 8:24

The new way Playstore lists permissions on install and update make it difficult at best to see what an app requests permissions for. While before that change, one saw at least those (but still didn't know what the app would do with them), now even that possibility is gone for good – except if you want to go to the website all the time to check manually.

The rant aside: As Thanh already pointed out, a keyboard app by definition has access to everything you type (or would be useless otherwise), so there's pretty much no way from this approach. The only thing you could check for is one that doesn't request any network permissions. No absolute safety though, as it could use other means of transporting data from your device – so a little risk is always left.

On my site there's a possibility to search for apps by permission, but the app list there is far from being complete (my database has just a little more than 10.000 hand-selected apps recorded). A search for keyboard apps without the internet permission a.o. turned up MultiLing – an app which Thanh already recommended to you, and which has support for Vietnamese, and its sister-app Multiling O Keyboard requesting even less permissions (just the basic ones a keyboard app must have: read & write the user dictionary, plus one harmless: vibrate). But be welcome to check for yourself!

  • Even if the app is made by the single most honest, and well intentioned developers there's always malicious outside interference ala the current iCloud celeb pic issue! – RossC Sep 3 '14 at 13:54
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    Agreed. And there are also things like integrated ad modules the dev cannot fully control (if used). But these two things are not affecting apps without Internet permission: there are no ad modules without that, and the likeliness of accessing "the cloud" also is pretty low this way ;) – Izzy Sep 3 '14 at 13:56

The following are steps to follow in order to discover the app which might bug you. These below steps will also help you to find any application installed on your device is a bugging app or not.

1.Download the permission checker application from the play store.

2.Download any keyboard application which ever is reputed based on the ratings and which suits your needs.(Don't forget to read the privacy policy as most of the users never read is the big and important privacy policy, do not install any app with many one word reviews as these are normally suspicious)

3.Later open the permission checker app and check what kind of permissions is the app requiring. In the app you will also get a brief 1-2 line description for the type of permission used by the application.Displays all the permission used by that particular application

If you see any irrelevant permission to the app or you find it suspicious then you can un-install it.

last but not the least if you still do not understand the description given by the permission checker app then you can google the permission in your local language which shall give you the complete description.

You can not completely avoid the privacy of your app as it also depends on the type of internet connection you are connected and the level of security it has(i.e. the WPA2-psk is the most preferred connection in terms of wireless but WEP will still do the bit),if the device itself is bugged then your are possibly being eaves dropped.

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    That requires the app already being installed. To avoid the issue in advance, one better checks the permissions before install. A good starter for that is our permissions tag-wiki, and the bi-lingual (English/German) explained app permissions on my site ;) – Izzy Sep 3 '14 at 14:02
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    @Izzy well said but 1 cannot know what permissions an app is using because most of the permissions are hidden (i.e. the advertisement permission which is never displayed under the normal permissions in the play store) – user285oo6 Sep 4 '14 at 4:28
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    I've never heard about an "advertisement permission", nor is it listed in any of the references known to me. I admit it's not easy checking permissions of apps you have not installed (thanks to Google), but there are multiple sources: Google Play itself (a bit tricky), AppBrain as an alternative front-end to it (not always complete), and also my applists (not covering all apps, and relying on other sources for those details). Checking after install is an useful additional step though, definitely :) – Izzy Sep 4 '14 at 10:53

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