As Apple fights for iOS app control, Google cuts more restrictions with Android 12

Chris Burns - May 20, 2021, 4:30pm CDT
As Apple fights for iOS app control, Google cuts more restrictions with Android 12

In the latest beta version of Android, Google revealed how 3rd-party app stores will be more free to operate on the OS. With this latest update, Google updated Android’s Package Installer parameters with “setRequireUserAction”. It is with this new parameter that Google will allow users to be more free to use 3rd-party app stores to download apps and keep said apps up to date with said app stores.

Technically, if you truly wanted to use a 3rd-party app store with a non-Google-certified version of Android, you’ve always been allowed such an action. But with the latest version of Android, Google’s making clear that they’re ready and willing to trust the user – even if that means giving more permission to use apps that don’t give Google residual cash.

With this new system in play, users can decide if they’d like to install packages from outside the Google Play app store. This isn’t all that different from what’s come before. The difference is that there is a list of conditions that can be met by an app to bypass the permission screen.

One of said permissions is a user opt-in system – more like a one-time deal than a every-single-time deal. The apps will need to declare the specific “Update Packages Without User Action” permission, and the app (the installer) will need to be updating itself or updating the app it first installed. The app will also need to be targeting API level 29 (Android 10) or higher – and this bit will change as new versions of Android are released.

As noted by XDA Developers this week, this process “will make updating apps in batches much faster and brings the experience more in line with the Google Play Store.” The whole 3rd party app store process will be far more seamless.

Now imagine what it’ll be like when the parties involved in the Epic vs Apple case get out of session and find that Google’s basically kicked their app gates open even wider than they were before. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on that wall?


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