All it takes is one suspicious or malicious Android app installed on your device for it to put your data and security at risk. If you’ve found a suspicious app and you want to report it to Google, here’s how to do it.
Before you start, remember that most Android malware doesn’t come with a warning banner. Knowing how to avoid malware on Android in the first place is your best form of defense. You can start by only installing apps from the Google Play store.
If you need to install apps outside of the Play Store, you should be absolutely certain you trust the source before you sideload them onto your device. Third-party app stores like the Amazon Appstore might prove to be better to use than sites offering you APK file downloads directly.
Don’t take for granted that every app in the Google Play Store is safe to use, though. Suspicious apps will fall through the cracks from time to time. Thankfully, Google offers users a way to report apps that you feel are suspicious for review.
Report Suspicious Android Apps from Your Device
The easiest method for reporting an app as suspicious is to report it through the Google Play Store on your device. Open the Play Store app and search for the suspicious app.
In the top-right section of the app listing, you’ll see the three-dot menu button. Tap this and click “Flag as Inappropriate.”
You’ll have a list of seven categories for your complaint, from sexual content to impersonation. Choose the reason that best suits your complaint. If you’re reporting an app for malware, for instance, choose “Harmful to Device or Data.”
If the option for “Harmful to Device or Data” isn’t available, or it doesn’t fit your choice, select another reason. If none of the reasons match, choose “Other Objection” at the bottom of the list.
Once you’re done, select “Submit.”
You aren’t able to add any comments to your complaint if you’re reporting it through the Google Play Store. If you want to go into further detail or add supporting evidence, it’s best to make your complaint online.
Use the Google Play Store Help Center Website
Google has a specific report form for users to report apps online, available via the Google Play Store Help Center website. This method is useful if you don’t have your device on hand or if, as previously mentioned, you need to go into extra detail about your complaint.
Open the Help Center website, scroll to “Help by Product Type,” and click “Google Play Store.”
Under “Fix an Issue,” click “Report Content Issues or Violations.”
On this page, scroll to “Computer” and, under “Flag Apps, Games, or Music as Inappropriate,” click the link for the “Report Inappropriate Apps Form.”
The form is fairly straightforward, with options to report apps for reasons including sexual or graphic content, spam, illegal activities, and more. As you would if you were reporting through the Google Play Store directly, you’ll need to select the reason for reporting the app.
If you think your app has malware included, select the “Harmful to Device or Data” option. You can also choose to select “Other Objection” if you feel the other categories are too narrow for your complaint.
Where the form requests it, provide a brief explanation as to why you’re reporting the app, providing as much detail as possible. If the app is still available for download, find the web URL for it on the Google Play Store website and provide it.
Confirm your name and email address and click “Submit” to finish.
Whether you choose to report an app through the Google Play Store on your device or through the Help Center, your report will be sent to Google for review and analysis.
Once that review takes place, if Google believes your complaint has merit, the app will then be removed from the Google Play Store.