Android To Block Older Apps

John Lister's picture

The next version of Android may make it much harder to install and run apps from third party sources. The change will mainly affect older apps that haven't been updated in some time.

Unlike with Apple's iPhones, Android handsets aren't restricted to apps from the official App Store. Users may either use other app stores (other than the Google Play Store), or download and manually install apps from the web in a process known as "sideloading."

Doing this doesn't require any "hacking" of the device, though users do have to change the phone's settings and confirm they understand the risk of using apps from third-party sources.

The official Play Store already has rules against "outdated" apps. At the moment, no new app can get in the store unless it is written for either version 12 or the current version 13 of the Android operating system. However, such apps can be downloaded again by users who had the app in the past and then uninstalled it (or moved to a new handset).

Older Apps Blocked

Google now looks set to change that policy. People who have analyzed the code in test version of Android 14 (expected to release this summer) have spotted changes that means outdated software will be removed completely from the store. Put another way, users who already have the app won't be able to re-download it from Google's Play Store. The changes also mean a complete block on sideloading these apps - or rather, on using them once installed that way. (Source:

It appears that the new policies will affect any app that hasn't been updated to at least version 6 of Android. Perhaps not coincidentally, that was the first Android release that required users give permission to apps in order to access key data such as contacts and documents stored on the phone. Analysts believe Google will likely update the threshold over time to put more apps into the "total block" category. (Source:

Security Flaws Targeted

For most users the move will be positive as it will reduce the risk of them inadvertently sideloading apps that deliberately try to exploit old security flaws. It could be an annoyance for some users who feel they should be able to choose what goes on their phone and take the risk themselves.

Although the new policy will be in Android 14 by default, the open source nature of Android means manufacturers may be able to adjust or remove the block on their handsets.

What's Your Opinion?

Is this a smart move by Google? Should users be able to install any apps in any way on their phone? Is this a matter of principle or practicality?

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Average: 5 (8 votes)


russoule's picture

why do these developers feel a need to prevent apps that have worke efficiently for many years from being used on their recent updated opsys? this isn't limited to Android. it also applies to the big guy - Microsoft. we who once used Windows Media Center to record live tv were told "Nope! Buy the program from us and forget about that free tv in your living-room/office." why is it that Windows 11 REQUIRES certain upgraded equipment in order to run? from Windows 3.0 all the way up to Windows 10 the machines I had could run the upgraded opsys and now - "BUY A NEW COMPUTER YOIU OLD F*RT" is what I hear. Android is apparantly joining that method of dissing their clients. a pox on both their houses!

Unrecognised's picture

...'not'. Here's the antithesis to the *old* wisdom- or what one might call simply 'wisdom'.

Now, if it ain't broke, if it has been used for years without the need for updating because it's perfectly functional, well, it should THEREFORE be 'fixed' (or thrown away as garbage) to keep up with a big bully company's 'enhancements'.

The more quote marks, the more dripping with gore the irony.


PS/aside: thank you for your great work in bringing these issues to people's attention, John.

kevinb478's picture

I don't download apps unless it's from google play but some of those apps are kinda stupid and ain't worth using especially some of the games they have
and also Hp has also added software where you can't use third party ink cartilages or toner for the hp printers which I used to use but now the software prevents you from using them now and no way around it