Android 14 strengthens user device security by blocking the installation of some older apps

9 to Five Google, a US tech media outlet, reported that Android 14 automatically blocks the installation of older versions of apps.

The current Google Play Store guidelines stipulate that Android developers must thoroughly manage security and update the latest version of their apps. Earlier this month, updated Play Store guidelines added requests for support for Android 12 or higher for apps distributed on the store.

The reason Google applies block installation of older versions of apps in Android 14 is to prevent the risk of installing malware.

According to Google’s Play Store guidelines, “If Enforcing minimum installable SDK version is enabled, app installation will be blocked using a target SDK version lower than required. This will allow malicious programs to target older SDK versions and avoid new API behavior. Enforcement can be prevented, so it improves security and privacy.”

Minimum API level requirements only apply to apps for the Google Play Store. If a developer wants to develop an app for an older version, they can ask users to manually sideload the APK file after building the older version of the app.

When you need to install an older app, you can use a new flag to install it via the command shell. Considering the extra steps required, it’s unlikely that someone will accidentally do this and install malware by mistake.

Additionally, Google says that even if an Android app isn’t updated after the Play Store guidelines change, the Play Store will continue to provide apps to users who have installed them once in the past.

Meanwhile, Google plans to expand the range of app versions that automatically block installation in the future.

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