Google may be getting ready to block the side-loading of Android apps, at least for some users. According to 9to5Google, a new feature may be coming to Google’s Advanced Protection program that will either prevent users from installing apps from outside the Play Store, or force users to scan them with Play Protect.
The Advanced Protection Program is something users can sign up for to get an extra layer of protection for their accounts. Hardware Titan keys are used, and users are even warned about downloading suspicious files. As part of that, changes to the Google Play Store appear to suggest that the Advanced Protection Program is set to go a step further.
After decompiling the latest Google Play Store update, 9to5Google was able to find strings that strongly suggest app blocking is coming to the Advanced Protection Program.
<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>
If users would prefer, Google Play Store may allow users to simply scan side-loaded apps using Play Protect. If they pass, they can be installed.
That’s an important point for people who need to be able to use apps that aren’t available on the Google Play Store for whatever reason.
Of course, it’s possible this feature will never be activated despite there being references to it in the latest Google Play Store build. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.
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