What are third-party apps- A guide for Android and IOS users

Any app that is not developed by the owner of your smart device and yet available on your phone is considered a third-party app. 

The term often appears when you’re going to install apps from stores other than officials, which is generally a warning from your device if you want to proceed with the installation process. 

It’s because unofficial stores like apkpure.com don’t take care of user’s privacy as official stores like google play store do. 

But the thing is, it has nothing to do with the term third-party app, aside from the warning popping up, the definition of such apps remains the same even you download them from trusted app stores.

Generally, all apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp are considered third-party apps until the app’s owners make their own smartphone devices and offer them as first-party apps. 

The First-party app is a term used to identify apps made by an owner of a device, such as messaging apps, built-in web browsers, calling apps, gallery app, or their own app stores such as Samsung has one. 

In short, applications that don’t demand installation from the stores and come by default in a phone can be titled First-party apps. 

However, the fact is that we get many apps on our mobile devices pre-installed. Apps that can also be installed from official app stores. For instance, the Facebook app is found on many mobile devices by default. Does it mean the first-party app then? No! it’s still a third-party app for a device. 

Mobile devices whether it’s IOS or android they support respective apps packages, for instance, android devices would run any app with the .apk extension and iPhone would run the .ios package. Developers around the globe make apps and games specifically for these popular operating systems. 

Popular stores like Google play store are a platform for them to publish their developed app or games, and apps must follow the criteria required by the store for user’s safety purposes.

The apps found on google play store or the iPhone app store are all can be titled third-party apps. Since those apps are not developed by your device owner but still you can download them safely and run them.

What is called a third-party app?

The term ‘third-party app’ refers to any app that is created by a developer who isn’t connected to the manufacturer of the device. 

To know specially which apps are third-party apps for an android OS or Ios OS. I’ve given an example below to understand the concept in a better sense,

On android:

A good example of a third-party app for Android is if you download a camera app, although there is an existing camera app that is a first-party app. But the one downloaded from the official google play store will be considered a third-party.

On iPhone:

Apple’s iPhone comes with its own messaging app, created by them which we call a first-party app, but developers around the world offer a multitude of messaging apps with advanced features. Such apps can be downloaded from the official iPhone store or any official website, will be considered a third-party app.

Third-party apps vs first-party apps: What’s the difference?

It’s very understandable the difference between these terms. 

Android or Ios both are simply two operating systems, they support and need apps to function properly. All Mobile manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, Oppo, Oneplus, Vivo, create some basic apps to make their devices functional to certain basic features. For this purpose, they create apps that we call first-party apps. 

Simply take a look at apps on your mobile phone, there you can find an app for every purpose like messaging app, camera app, contact app, gallery app, and so on which all make together a mobile device functional. 

So, basic apps available in a device, created by the manufacturers are first-party apps. On the other hand, apps we download external to get some advanced features such as I myself don’t prefer using Samsung’s built-in browser instead of this I like using opera or UC as a default browser. So these are what we considered third-party applications.

Some examples of third-party apps.

Below are some examples of popular third-party apps.

  1. Facebook
  2. Snapchat
  3. Instagram
  4. Netflix
  5. Opera or UC browser
  6. U-Dictionary
  7. Beauty Cameras
  8. AZ Screen recorder
  9. Pubg Mobile
  10. COD: Call of duty
  11. Fortnite

How to identify third-party apps on my phone?

To identify which apps on your device are from a third party, follow the steps given below for both android and iPhone devices.

On iPhone-

Open the setting and navigate to the folder where all downloaded apps are listed. Now tap on any app’s gear icon and check if it shows the uninstallation option. If you see it, then it’s a third-party app since it can be uninstalled from the device. First-apps don’t get removed unless you root your mobile phone.

On android-

On android devices navigate to the app folder from the settings. You can see the list of apps “installed apps” which all are third-party apps and can be uninstalled. Whereas, you can see their system apps that are first-party don’t show any uninstallation option there.

Should you download third-party apps?

There is no denying we all need such apps to get advanced features. Without these apps, a device has (for me at least) no use at all since I cannot use any device without Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, and so many other apps. 

So according to my personal view, yes everyone needs and should download these apps to get done more functional things.

Are third-party apps safe?

About safety regarding such apps, to put any words on that, first, we need to look at the source where you are getting the app. As more than an app, the source tells the most if the app is safe to use or not.

Official app stores like google play store and iPhone app store provide apps that are completely safe. Their store has strict requirements for publishers to meet before publishing their apps live on these platforms which is, for users like us, a good thing. That’s the reason why these app stores are popular and have thousands of apps.

Unofficial stores like apkpure, apk mirror, apktoide, and many more similar stores have almost every app’s apk file. These can be safe to download apps but not always because of their low-strength algorithm and no official support. Sometimes apk formats downloaded from this store can have virus patched- once in a year or two, there is always a bad story that comes up about them.

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