Spotted in now private code, it appears that Android 14 won’t play nicely with outdated apps. In what’s being reported as a plan to help curb malware that targets outdated Android apps, Google may put a very strict requirement on app installation beginning with Android 14.
While this makes sense, it’s big news in our eyes because this change can also affect a very basic feature of Android — that being the ability to install any app you’d like via the act of sideloading. According to the code, Android 14 could block the installation of any app, whether it be from Google Play or sideloaded, if it doesn’t meet the API requirements.
The way app installation works now is relatively loose. For example, even if an app is outdated but the user has previously installed it before, it’s still made available on Google Play so long as it hasn’t been pulled from Google’s servers. The same goes with sideloading. Right now, you’d have no issue sideloading nearly any app you’d like, but with this change and if you’re device is running Android 14, it appears that the app will need to target Android 6.0+ (Marshmallow) at least. The code apparently made it clear that Google would be able to ramp up restrictions at any given time, too.
For me, I don’t go around downloading and sideloading random apps anymore. Those days are long behind me. However, I know there are still plenty of folks out there that do, and with that being said, I’ll ask you to stay vigilant and be sure to only download and install apps from trusted sources.