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Sideloading is made almost impossible in Android 14

Google decided last year to hide apps from the Play Store that had not received updates for two years. It seems that with Android 14 Google will take the reins in this area even more tightly.

Google’s security and quality standard for Android apps

Google has a certain security and quality standard for Android apps. For example, apps must meet minimum requirements. One of them is the API level. Apps must now meet the requirements of API level 31 (Android 12). Google also protects your phone for unused apps since last year. They automatically lose all permissions. Google went one step further last year. Apps that have not received updates for two years will disappear from the Play Store. And in Android 13, Google warns of old apps that circumvent strict rules. You get a warning in Android 13 for outdated apps that get too many permissions.

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Now the code of Android 14 shows that Google is going a step further. The API conditions become even stricter with that Android version. This completely blocks the installation of certain outdated apps. So you would no longer be able to apk files sideload via, for example, APK Mirror. App stores that also offer apps and games as apk files will also have a problem.

Not just Android 14

Google will introduce this strict measure with Android 14, but older Android versions will also have their turn. The plan is to raise the threshold to Android 6.0 Marshmallow over time. The measure is therefore being introduced gradually. Finally, the phone manufacturer will still have to determine whether to enable this threshold for outdated apps.

By blocking the installation of these outdated apps, Google wants to prevent the spread of malware apps on Android. Some malware apps intentionally target older versions of Android. This is where the malware can bypass certain protections that are only applied to newer apps. There are possibilities (via command shell) to circumvent the measure, but most Android users are not aware of this.

What do you think of this strict measure in Android 14? Is it a step in the right direction? Have you ever had malware on your phone? Let us know in the comments.

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