To reduce the potential for malware, Android 14 will begin completely blocking the installation of apps that target older versions of Android.

Until now, the minimum API level requirements only applied to apps destined for the Google Play Store. And if a developer wanted to create an app for an older version of Android, they could release it as an APK file for manual installation.

However, according to recently published code changes, Android 14 will tighten API requirements by completely blocking the installation of outdated apps. This change will prevent users from downloading certain APK files and also prevent third-party app stores from installing outdated versions of apps.

Initially, Android 14 devices will block only those apps that target particularly old versions of Android. Over time, however, the plan is to raise the threshold to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), with Google having a “step-up” mechanism. That being said, each device manufacturer will likely decide for themselves what threshold for legacy apps to set and whether to enable it at all.

By blocking outdated apps, Google intends to curb the spread of malicious apps on Android. After all, some malware deliberately targets older versions of Android to bypass certain protections that only apply to newer apps.