This new Android feature could help save you from phishing and malware – here's how

An Android phone on an orange background showing Safe Browsing settings
(Image credit: @MishaalRahman)

Google is rolling out a new feature called Android Safe Browsing on Android phones, which is designed to alert you to harmful links and websites within supported apps. 

As spotted by Android tipster Mishaal Rahman (below), a new Safe Browsing page is appearing on some Android phones, hinting at which apps support the feature and how it'll help keep you safe from phishing, malware and more. 

Google says that if you tap a link in a trusted news app that's linking to a known phishing site, you may receive an alert. This notification will tell you about the risks before letting you open the link, so you can decide if the link is legitimate.

The feature also includes "live threat protection" which Google claims provides "more accurate threat detection." It’s unclear if this is turned on by default or if it will need to be enabled by users.

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It also isn't yet clear exactly which third-party apps support this new Android Safe Browsing feature, but according to Mishaal Rahman the list likely includes apps that use the SafetyNet Safe Browsing API. This is built into Google Play services and lets apps check “to determine whether a particular URL has been classified by Google as a known threat.” 

According to Android Police, apps that use the Google SafetyNet Safe Browsing API can also help Android devices conserve battery and limit bandwidth usage, as well as limiting what rogue apps and websites can do to our phones.

How do you get Safe Browsing?

An Android phone on an orange background showing the Android Safe Browsing feature

(Image credit: Mishaal Rahman)

These Android Safe Browsing features aim to protect users from malware and phishing, which can be picked up from third-party websites, via email or text messages, or by downloading unknown apps.

Users don’t need to download anything extra to get the feature, as it's provided via Google Play Services and will be included when that is updated via the Google Play Store. The update has currently only been seen running on Pixel and Samsung devices, but is expected to roll out to all supported Android devices in due course. 

While the feature is only just beginning to roll out, it was seen in a beta version of Google Play Services back in October 2023 by Nail Sadykov of the Google News Telegram channel.

Mishaal Rahman said he expects Google to provide more information about the update when it has rolled out to more users. However, if you have received the update, it should be located under Settings > Security & privacy > More security & privacy on Pixel devices, while on Samsung Galaxy devices it’s located under Settings > Security & Privacy. 

The new Android Safe Browsing feature hasn't rolled out to any of our devices yet, but we look forward to seeing what it can do. 

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.