One of the unique features of Android is the ability to sideload apps. This means that if you can’t find the app you want in the Google Play Store, or want to install an app that for whatever reason failed Google’s review process, you could always sideload it by downloading the APK directly or going through an alternate app store.
It looks like this could be something Google might want to prevent in the future, according to a recent APK teardown of the latest Play Store update, where 9to5Google found evidence that Google’s Advanced Protection Program could soon prevent users from sideloading apps.
Before you get too upset, note that based on what they found in the APK teardown, this is a completely optional feature. This is an opt-in feature which means that users will need to specifically enable it if they want to prevent sideloading. Why would anyone want to do that? Maybe for that extra layer of security and to prevent someone from installing an app that shouldn’t be installed on their phones.
This means that if you still want to sideload apps, then it’s pretty simple, just don’t turn the feature on. As it stands, Google’s G Suite already comes with a similar feature where IT administrators have the ability to block sideloading apps from unknown sources, so this feature would simply bring it to more users.
Also, note that these features are also subject to change as it has yet to go live, so maybe the final release could be different from the APK teardown.