Installing apps on your phone

Feb 09 , 2020

Installing apps on your phone

One benefit associated with the Omerta range of phones is your ability to configure your device and add your own applications if you so choose. All handsets come with 2 Android Market applications which enables you to easily find, install & update applications.

Android application compatibility with GrapheneOS

Since GrapheneOS is a niche fork of Andriod, you may find any application you install might show errors on launching or not run at all. Often these compatibility issues are due to Graphene not supporting Google Play Services & you will find the application still runs but some features do not work. In short, be prepared for some trial and error in testing apps & don't expect a 100% stock Android experience - this is a small trade-off in the name of security. 

Assessing & choosing apps

Note: For those with exceptional security needs we do not recommend installing additional apps & advise contacting us first

Provided you exert care when choosing apps then you can enjoy additional functionality on your handset. However, adding additional apps to your phone can increase risk since each app presents a new vector for potential attackers.

To reduce the risks associated with malicious or poorly compiled applications we recommend performing the following simple assessment on every app you install.

1. Choose apps that were updated within the past 6 months: Check when the app was last updated. An app that has not been updated in 12 months or so indicates that it may no longer be in development. Generally, avoid these since any security issues with the app will not get addressed & you might create a vulnerability on your phone.

2. Choose apps that regularly receive updates: Check how often the app is updated. Apps that receive regular updates will address any identified security issues quicker. An app that is rarely updated can indicate a low level of interest by the developer & this may be seen as a negative indicator.

3. Use apps created by reputable & credible publishers: Generally a reputable publisher will deliver apps to a higher standard (even though this should not be the sole criteria). 

4. Choose apps that are downloaded frequently: Apps that have a high userbase are more likely to benefit from frequent updates & security patches.

5. Understand how the app is funded: Paid applications are normally of a better standard since the publisher has a revenue stream to sustain development! A free app published by a bedroom coder might be unsustainable & quickly become vapourware or be riddled with security issues.

Can I use the Google Play Store to download apps?

GrapheneOS provides a completely de-Googled experience & Google Play Store is not compatible with GrapheneOS. 

To conclude...

Unless you have significant security concerns, & you exert care when choosing apps, you can extend the functionality of your phone by installing apps without significantly compromising your privacy.  There are further considerations when installing apps, such as setting permissions, which will improve your privacy & we will discuss these on another article at a later date.