In order to reduce the potential for malware, Android 14 will be going to fully block the installation of apps that focus on outdated versions of Android.
It has been a year now, and the guidelines for the Google Play Store have assured that Android developers need to keep their apps updated. Intended to use the most recent features and safety measures of the Android platform. While recently, this month only, the guidelines were updated. Notably, now it requires newly listed Play Store apps to target Android 12 at its minimum.
As of now, these minimum API level prerequisites have only applicable to apps that are proposed by the Google Play Store. If developers want to create an app for an older version then it is also possible by asking their users to sideload the APK file manually. At the same time, if an Android app were not updated since the guidelines changed. In this case, the Play Store tends to continue benefitting the app to those who have installed it before.
Android 14 is all set to make API guidelines tough
As per the newly posted code change, Android 14 is all set to make API guidelines tough. That completely blocks the installation of outdated apps. Therefore, these changes would block users that are sideloading specific APK files. Concurrently, it also blocks app stores from installing those same apps.
Earlier, Android 14 devices will specifically focus on the apps that target old versions. While, with time, the plan is to increase the threshold to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). Since Google follows the mechanism to “progressively ramp [it] up.”
If the minimum installable SDK version enforcement is enabled, block the install of apps using a lower target SDK version than required. This helps improve security and privacy as malware can target older SDK versions to avoid enforcement of new API behavior.
On the other hand, by blocking these outdated apps, Google wants to restrict the spread of malware apps on Android. Since some malware apps have specifically been made to target older versions of Android. While, it is been said, that for whatever reason, you want or need to install an outdated app. It will still be possible with the help of a command shell, by using a new flag.