A new report from 9to5Google suggests that Android 14 will tweak how you install apps across the board. Per the report, citing code changes, Android 14 will block apps that target older Android versions. The search giant frequently asks Android developers to update their apps to get the latest features and safety measures. As per the latest guidelines, apps listed on Play Store must target Android 12.
Until now, these minimum API level requirements applied only to apps intended for the Google Play Store. If a developer wants to create an app for an older version, they can ask their users to sideload the APK file manually. Similarly, if an Android app is not updated since the guidelines changed, the Google Play Store will continue to serve it to users who have already installed it.
However, the freshly unearthed code reveals that Android 14 will make API requirements stricter. It would block users from sideloading an outdated app via an APK file and stop app stores from letting users download that same app. While it will only initially restrict apps that target old Android versions, the big G plans to increase the threshold to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with time. We can also expect Google to keep progressively ramping it up.
If the user enables the minimum installable SDK version, it will block the installation of apps with a lower target SDK version than required. Google intends to reduce the spread of malware apps on Android by blocking these outdated apps. The developer who made the change notes that some malware apps have purposefully targeted older versions of Android to dodge certain protections that applied to newer apps.
With stricter restrictions, Google wants to secure Android devices from such applications that could compromise the security of the user’s device.