This doesn’t mean Android is moving closer to Apple’s lockdown approach, but Android 14 is moving in that direction. Most notably, restrictions apply to advanced users who want to sideload apps. This is where you install apps using sources other than the Google Play Store. Power users have less control, but can avoid malicious software infecting their devices using the weak protections of older security protocols. In an ideal world, developers would be able to keep their apps up to date indefinitely, so this would have little impact.
Android’s next major release will take an important step in protecting users from malware and other security threats by restricting which apps can be installed. 9to5Google discovered a change in the Android source code that indicates Android 14 will check if an app is outdated on install. Android checks the version of software the app was built for and refuses to install if the version is too old. This ensures that software used in mobile phones and tablets can meet a certain level of security and prevent the spread of malware.
But instead, such moves will hasten the transition of old apps and games into digital oblivion. Apps that you remember for years are more likely to suddenly disappear. This is something Apple is more familiar with. In April 2022, Apple sent an app developer a warning that software used without updates for two years would be removed within his 30 days. Indie developer Protopop Games called it an “unfair barrier for indie developers” and emphasized that decades-old games are still available on consoles.