Google’s easing up on the Play Store’s app stranglehold with Android 14

New APIs are a major win for third-party app stores


Google was recently ordered by the Competition Committee of India to fundamentally change some of its anti-competitive practices, and we’re finally starting to see some real-life results with a set of new APIs in Android 14. These additions are primarily aimed at helping third-party app stores like Amazon, APKMirror, and F-Droid reach feature parity with the Play Store.


XDA’s Mishaal Rahman dug up a set of changes in the Android 14 API documentation, which helps app developers learn to use new tools being made available in the forthcoming OS version. After Android 12 finally made it possible for third-party app stores to automatically update the apps they install, Google’s 2023 release is looking to improve the experience for users and app stores alike.

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The biggest change is Android 14’s new Gentle Updates API, which allows third-party app stores to ensure you’re not using an app before automatically updating it in the background. App stores can now check that the app being updated isn’t currently on the screen, running a foreground service, or interacting with you in any way. They can also check to make sure your device isn’t currently in Doze Mode or making a phone call before updating an app.

While each of these things can be checked manually by third-party app stores, Google recommends that developers use the presets it provides for this new Gentle Updates system to determine if it’s a good time to update an app — after all, years of Play Store telemetry data can’t be too far off base. And even though this information could already be gleaned from various older Android APIs, this new system doesn’t require app stores to ask for access to sensitive permissions in

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