New APIs are a significant win for third-party app shops

Google was lately ordered by the Competitors Committee of India to basically change a few of its anti-competitive practices, and we’re lastly beginning to see some real-life outcomes with a set of recent APIs in Android 14. These additions are primarily aimed toward serving to third-party app shops like Amazon, APKMirror, and F-Droid attain characteristic parity with the Play Retailer.

XDA’s Mishaal Rahman dug up a set of adjustments within the Android 14 API documentation, which helps app builders be taught to make use of new instruments being made out there within the forthcoming OS model. After Android 12 lastly made it potential for third-party app shops to mechanically replace the apps they set up, Google’s 2023 launch is trying to enhance the expertise for customers and app shops alike.


The largest change is Android 14’s new Light Updates API, which permits third-party app shops to make sure you’re not utilizing an app earlier than mechanically updating it within the background. App shops can now examine that the app being up to date is not at the moment on the display, operating a foreground service, or interacting with you in any means. They will additionally examine to ensure your gadget is not at the moment in Doze Mode or making a telephone name earlier than updating an app.

Whereas every of these items could be checked manually by third-party app shops, Google recommends that builders use the presets it supplies for this new Light Updates system to find out if it is a good time to replace an app — in any case, years of Play Retailer telemetry knowledge cannot be too far off base. And regardless that this data may already be gleaned from varied older Android APIs, this new system does not require app shops to ask for entry to delicate permissions so as to know when it is secure to mechanically replace an app.

There’s additionally a brand new Replace Possession API that lets a third-party app retailer grow to be the only supply for future updates to an app that it initially put in, resolving a possible battle the place an app put in by the third-party app retailer may very well be up to date by the Play Retailer’s computerized updates system. This ought to be useful for shops like Obtainium, which sends out updates for open-source apps instantly from the developer’s releases web page and may usually outpace the Play Retailer on releases.

As soon as an app retailer is up to date to reap the benefits of the brand new API, it ought to mechanically be granted the ENFORCE_UPDATE_OWNERSHIP permission required to make the most of these new options. Nonetheless, third-party app shops must declare possession of updates when first putting in an app, so this would not work for present apps you may need put in by the app retailer — in different phrases, you’d must reinstall an app earlier than the Replace Possession API would grow to be out there for it.


Lastly, a Consumer Preapproval API lets third-party app shops show a immediate earlier than putting in an replace to an app. This ought to be helpful when an app has a significant characteristic overhaul or provides granted-at-runtime permissions that the app retailer thinks you may want to concentrate on earlier than an computerized replace takes place.

It ought to be famous that these and another new APIs aren’t going to be finalized till June 2023, in response to the Android 14 launch timetable. So these options may change as the brand new model strikes from developer preview builds to beta releases, however we would not count on Google to outright drop the APIs contemplating the authorized stress it is going through.