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Google Will Disallow Update Outdated Apps

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To help reduce the spread of potentially malicious software, Android 14 will begin to completely block the installation of apps that target older versions of Android.

For many years, Google Play Store policies have insisted that Android developers constantly update their apps to support the latest features and security measures of the Android platform. For instance, earlier this month, these rules were updated once again. So it’s logical that Google requests the app developers to make their products target Android 12 and above.

Until now, these minimum API level requirements only applied to apps destined for the Google Play Store. So if a developer wanted to build an app for an older version of Android, they provide their users with an APK file that they have to download manually. Likewise, if an app hasn’t been updated since the guidelines changed, the Play Store will still continue to serve those who installed it before.

In Android 14, the API requirements will become much stricter – they will completely block the installation of outdated applications. This change will prevent users from downloading certain APK files and also prevent app stores from installing the same apps.

Initially, on devices with version 14, only those programs that are targeted at particularly old versions of the OS will be blocked. Over time, however, the plan is to raise the threshold to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). What’s more important, any hardware manufacturer will be able to decide what threshold for legacy apps to set and whether to enable it or not.

By blocking outdated apps, Google intends to curb the spread of malware on Android. Obviously, in almost all cases, when the developers target older versions of the OS, they want to bypass certain protections.

However, if, for some reason, you want or need to install a legacy program, it will still be possible to do so through the command shell.

By the way, Android 13 has now reached 5.2% of all devices, although less than half a year has passed since its launch. Versions 12 and 12L account for 18.9% of devices, version 11 is installed on 24.4% of gadgets (and it is the leader so far), and 10 is installed on 19.5%. Some users still use devices with versions 5 (Lollipop) and 4 (KitKat) – these are 2.1% and 0.7% of gadgets, respectively. The preview version of OS 14 for developers should appear around March.

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