According to a recent code change discovered by 9to5Google, Android 14 will block the installation of certain outdated apps to help reduce the risk of malware. The installation of apps designed for older versions of the operating system will be completely disabled in the upcoming Android version. Google recently released the Android 13 QPR2 Beta 2 update.
Android 14 devices will block apps that target older Android versions in particular
According to a recent code change, Android 14 will prevent the installation of outdated apps by tightening API requirements. This prevents users from sideloading specific APK files, as well as app stores from installing those apps.
The blocking will initially only apply to apps targeting very old Android versions, but the plan is to gradually raise the threshold to Android 6.0. However, device manufacturers will be responsible for determining the threshold and whether or not to enable it at all. According to a 9to5Google report, the code change states:
If the minimum installable SDK version enforcement is enabled, block the install of apps using a lower target SDK version than required. This helps improve security and privacy as malware can target older SDK versions to avoid enforcement of new API behavior.
If the minimum installable SDK version enforcement is enabled, block the install of apps using a lower target SDK version than required. This improves security and privacy because malware can target older SDK versions in order to avoid enforcing new API behaviour.
For a long time, Google Play Store guidelines required Android developers to keep their apps up-to-date with the latest Android platform features and security measures. The guidelines were recently updated, requiring that new apps listed in the Play Store target Android 12 at the very least.
These API level minimums only applied to Google Play Store apps. Developers can continue to create apps for older versions and request that users manually sideload the APK file. In addition, if an app hasn’t been updated since the guidelines changed, the Play Store will continue to serve it to users who already have it installed.
According to 9to5Google, Google intends to block outdated apps in order to prevent malware from spreading on Android. According to the developer behind this change, malware apps frequently target older versions of Android in order to circumvent protections that are only enforced on newer apps.
However, if someone needs to instal an outdated app, they can do so using a command shell and a new flag. This extra step reduces the possibility of malware being installed accidentally.