March 5, 2021

Google bans non-Play store app updates

After Facebook updated its Android app without using traditional Google Play methods, Google has banned apps from being updated without the use of Google Play.


Mess with Google, and Google will mess with you. Google caught Facebook updating its Android app without using the Google Play store update mechanism. Google closed the loophole in its terms and conditions, and now no Android app will be upgradeable without access to the Google Play store.

The Google Play store terms and conditions read, “An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play’s update mechanism.”

Facebook says that it was only pushing out the update to users that allowed non-Play store downloads to their phones. This worked under the old terms and conditions but now Facebook and any other app will only be able to send updates through the Google Play store.

It is good that Google is tightening the lid on their app update policy. This will help keep malicious content out of users’ devices especially those that do not download apps from the Play store. Are you wondering what will happen to all those Android devices available in the market that don’t allow access to the Play store?

Well, the policy is only aimed at updating apps and not at side loading apps. So fear not. If you are one who installs .APK files on your Android smartphone/tablet, you can continue to do so. Just don’t expect to receive any updates on those apps, but instead, you’ll have to download the new version APKs.