Android 14 could block app sideloading to some extent

Adamia Sharma / Android Authority


  • Android 14 is set to implement tighter restrictions for apps targeting older versions of the OS.
  • Users will not be able to download these apps from the Play Store or sideload them from elsewhere.

With Android 13 reaching over 5% of all devices in less than 6 months and its rollout progressing well, we’re looking forward to Android 14. A developer preview of the new Android version is due to be released around his March and has already been confirmed. Thanks to the code investigation, some details of the software have been revealed. One of these changes affects app downloads across Android 14.

Google consistently requires app developers to update their apps according to the latest Android version. Current Play Store guidelines require new apps to target at least Android 12. However, these requirements are limited to Google Play Store apps only. It is still possible to sideload apps that target older versions of Android. Even the Play Store lets you download older apps that don’t comply with the minimum OS requirements if you’ve installed them before.

All that changes with Android 14, as Google aims to reduce the chances of spreading malware. The new code is set to tighten API requirements and completely block older apps on the Google Play Store. It even blocks the ability to sideload such apps.

First, Android 14 blocks apps that specifically target older versions of Android. Google plans to raise the threshold to Android Marshmallow over time, and you can expect the company to continue increasing it.

The developers behind the change point out that some apps intentionally target older versions of Android to circumvent certain security protections that apply to newer apps. Tighter restrictions ensure that such apps do not compromise Android device security.

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