Android 11 doesn’t block non-Google Play apps, but does add a hiccup

Chris Burns - Jun 3, 2020, 1:58 pm CDT
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Android 11 doesn’t block non-Google Play apps, but does add a hiccup

The latest version of the Google version of Android has a system in play that seems to give non-Google Play apps a hard time. This version of Android does not block the installation of APKs outright. Instead, it force-quits apps when they’ve been given permission to install an outside APK file – at first.

The situation seems to be that force-quitting the app allows room for the software’s implementation of Scooped Storage. With this behavior, the app is given a chance to change the way it handles the files it’s installing, and storing, and so forth – with respect to the mandatory implementation of Scooped Storage therein.

As noted by Android Police, once an app is downloaded with a web browser, for example, the user can attempt to install the new app. The web browser will need permission to install that app, so the user is given the option to move into Settings, where they’ll flip said optional switch. Once the switch is switched on, the user would normally go back to the web browser – but said web browser app will be force-closed.

What’s odd here isn’t just that the app is closed, but that the installation dialog will still be open. “When you open the application in question again, you’ll notice that it’s fully reloaded, with the potential for lost input or other yet-to-be cached data, as it was killed by the system.”

At this time it is not clear whether this will be part of a campaign by Google to make non-Google Play curated apps from 3rd-party sources more difficult to install. It’s more likely that this is simply an error that needs fixing before Android 11 can be released to the public.

UPDATE: Per a Google comment on the matter in Google’s issue tracker, Google confirms that this is all about Scooped Storage.

“When an app starts without this permission, it gets a view of the filesystem that doesn’t allow writing to certain directories (eg Android/obb),” said a Google representative. “Once the app has been granted this permission, that view is no longer accurate, and needs to be updated to a view that allows the app to write to certain directories. With the way the filesystem has been setup in R, changing that view on the fly is not possible. As mentioned in comment #16, we’re evaluating internally.”


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