According to reports, Google is currently working on a new change that will come with Android 14. This change will prevent users from sideloading old, outdated apps onto their Android devices. Currently, Google has enforced a minimum set of API requirements on the Play Store. This requirement prevents developers from releasing apps that target old versions of Android. The downside of this restriction is that it doesn’t prevent the end user from sideloading these old apps.
Google’s new API prevents sideloading of old apps on Android 14
Google is said to want to change that with Android 14. According to a post from 9to5Google, there’s a code change that suggests Android 14 will come with a stricter API. The new API prevents users from installing outdated third-party apps. To clarify, users can no longer install APK files of apps that don’t meet a specific API requirement. That’s not all, third-party stores can’t install apps that don’t comply with the new API level either.
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First off, Android 14 blocks all apps targeting old versions of Android. Over time, Google will raise the threshold to Android 6 Marshmallow and implement a strategy to gradually develop it. It is rumored that Google will give manufacturers the option to enable the feature. This allows phone manufacturers to set their own outdated app thresholds.
There may still be a way to sideload old apps on Android 14
According to the developer responsible for this change, the move will help curb the spread of malware. He said that this malware can target old SDK versions to avoid enforcing the new API behavior. Users may still be able to install old APK files via a command shell with a new flag. However, this process is not as easy as sideloading apps. Google will intentionally make sideloading a complex process to help users avoid accidentally installing malware-infected apps on their devices.
In the coming weeks, Google will release the first developer preview for Android 14, then we will know more about this new feature. Stay tuned as we keep an eye on this.
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