In 2020, Google announced that it will be supporting developers’ ability to choose how they distribute their apps through multiple app stores on different platforms (mobile, PC, and console). Now, with Android 12, the company is fulfilling its promise as it has confirmed in its official blog post that it’s “delivering on [its] promise to make third-party app stores easier to use on Android 12.”
More information regarding the third-party app stores on Android 12 was revealed by XDA-Developers who got hold of the developer documentation, which reveals the changes that are being made. Google pushes its own Play Store and API by offering exclusive features to entice developers and users. It still provides the option for third-party app stores and even individual APKs to be installed. It isn’t an easy process but with Android 12, Google is making it more seamless so that app installation through third-party app stores is easier.
As of now, to install an individual APK or via some third-party repository, you have to give permission to a browser or a file manager. It is similar when updating an app, which is different from what happens when you install or update an app through the Google Play store. While some may say that it’s a privacy choice and it makes a user think about whether they should proceed or not, it is an arbitrary security measure that doesn’t always work. It’s a cumbersome experience and not as simple as it should be.
According to the changes mentioned in the XDA report, an app store will no longer require user interaction to install or update apps. It will obviously need to have permissions to sideload apps in the first place. This will make updating apps in batches much faster.