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Android 12 Will Boost Google Play Store Alternatives

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Android 12 update will be beneficial for Google Play Store alternatives, it seems. The update will make it easier to update apps on third-party app stores, but keep your security and privacy on a high level in the process.

Android 12 will make updates easier for Google Play Store alternatives

Google is probably doing this following the pressure from Epic Games and government regulators. That being said, we don’t know the details, not yet. Google only said that it will be “easier for people to use other app stores on their devices”, while adding that safety is a high priority.

The Google I/O 2021 is still ongoing, so Google may share some additional details before it ends. If not, we’ll hear more about it in the near future, as the Android 12 Beta 1 build is already out, and the stable build is expected in August.

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Having said all that, XDA Developers managed to get some additional information. The source says that Google updated Android’s ‘PackageInstaller.SessionParams’ class with a new method called ‘setRequireUserAction’. This basically indicates whether a user action is necessary before an app is installed.

It defaults to ‘true’ for any app that holds a specific permission, which is required for any app before it can install a package. This includes apps from third-party stores.

There are four conditions that need to be met, in order for such stores to benefit

That being said, such action won’t be required if certain conditions are met. There are four conditions that need to be met in order for this process to be avoided, in which case app installs from such stores would be seamless.

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First, the installer needs to opt into the new behavior. Second, the app that’s being installed needs to target API level 29 (Android 10), or higher. Google did note that the target API level requirement will advance in future Android versions. This is in line with Google Play policy.

The third requirement is that the installer is either updating itself, or installing an update to an app it first installed. The last requirement says that the installer needs to declare the ‘UPDATE_PACKAGES_WITHOUT_USER_ACTION’ permission.

If all of these requirements are met, the update should be able to proceed without the user’s special permission. This will enable third-party stores to conduct updates similar to the Google Play Store.

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