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Are Android emulators safe to run on your computer?

Be as careful as you are with normal computer programs and you should be OK.

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Image: Unsplash

There are several reasons you may want to run Android apps on your computer. Whether its development testing or being able to play mobile games on a larger screen. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but mainly, gaming is by far the most popular one. Using any of the most commonly available emulators allows users to play games directly from the Google Play Store on larger monitors.

Emulating Android apps even brings some benefits like expanded functionality by running them on your PC, such as the ability to upload images to Instagram, something that is usually only possible on a mobile device. The thing is, is running an emulator from a third-party safe? Are you introducing yourself to more security risks? Well, let’s find out.

So, is it safe to run an Android emulator on your PC?

  • Short answer: It should be, just trust your source

Whether you use the emulator provided by Google in the Android SDK or a third-party emulator such as BlueStacks or Nox, you’re relatively well-protected when running Android apps on your PC. One of the benefits of emulation is that it sandboxes things from your primary operating system, which is why virtual machines are often used for things like testing the security of an app.

The only thing to be wary of is Android app files, or APKs, downloaded from sources that are outside either the Google Play Store or the Amazon Appstore. Just like installing these APKs on your smartphone carries a risk, so does if you install them inside an emulator.

Apps from outside the Google Play Store could simply be modified to provide a user the paid version for free, or they could have more nefarious code added that siphons off your wallet or password credentials, or other private information.

So, there you have it. Running Android emulators on your PC is totally fine, just be safe and vigilant. Be as careful as you are with normal computer programs and you should be OK.

Do you run Android emulators on your computer? Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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