Android 14 disables the installation of certain outdated apps

To reduce the risk of malware, Android 14 completely blocks the installation of apps targeting outdated versions of Android.

For years, Google Play Store policies have ensured that Android developers keep their apps updated to use the latest features and security measures of the Android platform. Just this month, the guidelines were updated to require newly listed Play Store apps to target Android 12 or higher.

Up until this point, these minimum API-level requirements only applied to apps destined for the Google Play Store. If a developer wants to create an app for an older version, they can do so and simply ask users to manually load the APK file. Likewise, if an Android app hasn’t been updated since the policy change, the Play Store will continue to serve the app to people who previously installed it.

According to a newly published code change, Android 14 will tighten API requirements, completely blocking the installation of outdated apps. This change would prevent users from sideloading certain APK files and also prevent app stores from installing the same apps.

Initially, Android 14 devices will only block apps that specifically target old Android versions. However, over time, the threshold is planned to be raised to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), and Google has a mechanism that “gradually ramps up” [it] up.” That said, it’s likely that each device manufacturer will still decide whether or not to allow a threshold for deprecated apps.

If minimum installable SDK version enforcement is enabled, it blocks the installation of apps that use a lower than required target SDK version. This helps improve security and privacy, as malware can target older SDK versions to avoid implementing the new API behavior.

By blocking outdated apps, Google wants to curb the spread of malicious apps on Android. The developer responsible for the change notes that some malware deliberately targeted older versions of Android to bypass certain protections only applied to newer apps.

See also  Take advantage of Mercedes' new third-generation MBUX infotainment system with Android apps

That said, if for whatever reason you want or need to install a deprecated app, it will still be possible to do so via a shell using a new flag. Given the additional steps required, it is less likely that someone would accidentally do this and accidentally install malware.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

Learn more about Android 14:

FTC: We use automatic affiliate links that generate income. More.

For more news, check out 9to5Google on YouTube:

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *