Did you know that with the help of a particular sub-system in Android called App Preview Messages, users can send messages to you from a third-party app—even if you don't have that app installed? In other words, it doesn't matter what messaging app a contact uses; if they send you a message you'll get it.
To some that might sound like a surefire way to never miss a message. To others, however, it might sound like an invitation for constant interruption, or worse, a way to open up your device to phishing attacks. Given the state of mobile security, you want to do everything in your power to prevent the possibility of unwanted messages from reaching your device.
So should you Disable App Preview messages? That depends on how cautious you are about mobile security and whether you want users to be able to contact you regardless of messaging app. Fortunately, you can disable App Preview Messages if you decide to. Let me show you how.
Disabling App Preview Messages
Open up Settings and go to Google. In the resulting screen, tap App Preview Messages. Tap the On/Off slider so that it's in the Off position. When prompted, tap OK. That's all there is to switching off App Preview Messages.
Should you eventually decide to turn it back on, just reverse the process. The only difference is that you will be sent a verification code to your device phone number. Without that verification code, you can't re-enable App Preview Messages.
Before you do switch this service off, I'm not here to say the feature is a vulnerability. Personally, I turn App Preview Messages off, even if only to prevent an onslaught of messages from third-party apps I don't use. If there's an added bonus of upping Android security by doing this, I call that a win-win.
- Android P: Cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
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- Android security: Password-stealing malware sneaks in Google Play store in bogus apps (ZDNet)
- Cybersecurity in 2018: A roundup of predictions (Tech Pro Research)
- The new Android Google Account settings app gives you everything you need and more (TechRepublic)
- How to install and use the new Google One on Android (TechRepublic)
- How to use the new Android Messages web version (TechRepublic)
What steps have you taken to secure your Android device and/or cut down on unwanted messages? Share your advice and experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.