What are Google Play Instant Apps & how do they work?

The average smartphone user has over 80 apps installed on their phone, but only 9 are used daily — with another 30 apps used monthly. This means around half that number are never needed. Often, an app is used just once before slipping into forgotten app folders — resulting in a lot of wasted storage space. This issue is precisely why Google Instant App was introduced.

What are Google Play Instant Apps?

Google Play Instant was first announced in 2016 for Android users. This feature lets you use the basic functionalities of an eligible app without fully downloading it to your device. Applications and games can be launched in the form of a link or URL that can be sent via email or messaging apps, through website advertisements, or by using scannable QR codes.

To enable this feature on Google Play, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your phone.
  2. Tap your profile icon on the upper right of the app.
  3. Tap Settings and select General.
  4. From General settings, tap Google Play Instant and tap the toggle switch to turn it on and off.

By tapping on “Try Now”, you can experience the basic features of the app selected. If you try to open the URL of an instant app, Google Play will check if there is an available app to open it — and if it is not yet installed on the mobile device.

Benefits and limitations of Google Play Instant Apps?

By using Google Play Instant Apps for Android, you’ll benefit from the following:

  • Saving space on your device
  • Experiencing the app itself with ease
  • Saving time because there’s no need for installation

Possible limitations include the fact that the app size should be maximum 4MB for each feature within the app. This means that developers won’t be able to provide some full version features.

Furthermore, since instant apps can be accessed through links, attackers may take advantage of this to steal information from a device’s browsing history and cookies. If you accidentally click on malicious links, you could expose yourself to online threats.

How can Trend Micro help?

Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android offers Web Threat Protection against malicious websites and links that you are trying to visit. It offers a Pre-Installation Scan feature that prevents malicious apps and malware on Google Play being installed. Remember to make sure that your phone system and applications are up to date to prevent such threats.

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