Android 14 To Prevent Installation Of Outdated Apps; Here’s How It Will Boost Security

Android 14 To Prevent Installation Of Outdated Apps

The next iteration of Android might block you from installing legacy applications altogether. According to a recent code change discovered by 9to5Google in the AOSP repository, Android 14 will prohibit users from sideloading apps that do not target a minimum version of the OS.


Google is committed to the security of its mobile platform, so it recently updated the Google Play Store guidelines to require newly listed apps to target Android 12 at a minimum. These guidelines only pertain to apps that will release on the Play Store; developers who want to target older versions of Android can release an APK file and ask their users to manually sideload them. Furthermore, if a developer hasn't updated their app since the implementation of new guidelines, the Play Store will continue to offer it to those who have already downloaded it.

Google To Set Stricter API Requirements In Android 14

The release of Android 14 will tighten API requirements by prohibiting the installation of outdated apps. Users will be unable to sideload legacy apps, and third-party app stores such as F-Droid and Aptoide will also be unable to install these apps.

To enforce this change, Google will first only prevent apps from being installed on Android 14 devices that aim to run on obsolete versions of Android (think Android 4.4 KitKat). Over time, the plan is to "progressively ramp up" the minimum Android version to 6.0 Marshmallow.

With the change in place, Google will leave the enforcement up to device manufacturers, who can choose the threshold or disable it entirely. If the user wants to install an outdated app for whatever reason, there is a way to do so by installing the said app through a command shell using a new flag. This method requires some technical know-how, and the extra steps and complexity make it less likely that users will install malware accidentally.


Google Expects Android 14 To Improve Malware Protection

Google is making significant changes to sideloading apps because some malware apps deliberately seek out the sideloading path to circumvent restrictions that only apply to newer apps on the Play Store.

We appreciate Google's efforts to combat malware and improve the security of its operating system. But on the other hand, this move is a double-edged sword because it restricts Android users' ability to install any app they want on the platform.

We expect to hear more about this significant change as Google prepares the launch of the first developer preview build of Android 14 in the coming weeks.

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