Will Android soon block the installation of APK files for some users? Google could offer this feature to members of its advanced protection program. The manufacturer wants to offer an additional level of security to its users, by guaranteeing the origin of the applications. In this case, the Google Play Store.
First of all, no Google will not prevent you from installing APK files. Nevertheless, the manufacturer is considering proposing this restriction to members of its advanced protection program. As a reminder, this system introduced in 2017 makes it possible to secure the personal Google accounts of users likely to be the target of computer attacks (journalists, activists, business leaders, politicians, etc.).
This service offers several services to protect account security such as login via a security key and password. On Google Chrome, malware downloads are automatically blocked, for example. However, the journalists of the 9to5google site had fun going through the code of the last update of the Play Store (version 17.8.14) and discovered some interesting lines of code:
- <string name=”advanced_protection_dialog_title”>App blocked by Advanced Protection</string>
- <string name=”advanced_protection_dialog_message”>”For additional security, Advanced Protection won’t allow apps from outside the Google Play Store.”</string>
This is what you can read in the second line “For additional security, advanced protection will not allow applications that come from outside the Google Play Store”. This clearly indicates that the Google Play Store may be able to prevent members of the advanced protection program from downloading and installing APK files or applications from other market places.
Nevertheless, Google would like to offer an alternative to users who need to install applications that are not available on the Play Store. In the case of Fornite, for example, it is essential to go through an APK.
Users could therefore set this feature so that it does not systematically block applications “outside Play Store”. Indeed, it would be possible to let Play Protect, Google’s security service, analyze applications before installation. In the event of a threat, users would receive a notification.
We don’t know if this feature will ever be available, and if so, if Google will only make it available to members of the advanced protection program. Nor if the manufacturer intends to impose it on all members of the program.