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Most people with Android phones get all their apps from Google Play, but Google’s app store is not the only repository of Android apps. There are a handful of great alternatives to Google Play, such as APKMirror (run by Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii). While downloading Android apps from outside Google Play is easy thanks to sites like APKMirror, there is a greater risk of things going wrong. If you choose the wrong APK, for instance, you could unintentionally install the wrong version of an app for your device, or an update that removes some functionality. That’s why, in Android 14, the OS will warn you when you try to sideload an update to a core Google app.

Android 14 introduces a number of new features for app stores, including an “update ownership” API that lets an app store claim ownership over an app it installs. If any other app store tries to push an update to that app, Android will throw up a dialog asking you what they want to do. The dialog asks you if you want to “update this app from [X]” since “this app normally receives updates from [Y]” and warns that “by updating from a different source, you may receive future updates from any source on your phone.” You can choose to cancel or update anyway, which is good since it means one app store can’t lock you out of getting app updates from somewhere else.

I’ve seen some concerns that the Play Store might take update ownership over all the apps it installs, but fortunately, it looks like Google’s only doing it for core apps like Play Services at the moment. When I tried to sideload an update to the Play Services app using APKMirror Installer on a Pixel phone running Android 14, I was met with the aforementioned dialog asking me to grant permission.


When an app store claims update ownership over another app in Android 14, the OS will show a dialog when another app store tries to push an update. This dialog asks the user if they want to cancel or update anyway.

I was able to sideload updates to other Google apps like Gmail and the Play Store itself without being asked for permission, so it’s possible that the Play Store is only claiming update ownership over Play Services. There might be other Google apps it claims update ownership over, but I haven’t tested this with every Google app to confirm.

For those wondering, once you choose to ignore the warning and update anyway, the app store that claimed update ownership loses it. That means you won’t see this warning again when you go to sideload another update. You’d have to uninstall and then reinstall the app for that to happen, as update ownership can only be enabled during the initial installation of an app. Another thing to note is that Android’s normal restrictions around app upgrades still apply, so the OS will still block you from installing an update if the package name or signature doesn’t match.

This feature might seem overbearing or unnecessary to some of you, but there's a good reason for its existence. There have been cases where sideloading an update removes functionality, which can happen when a specific build of an app contains a feature that isn’t present in other builds of that app. Only some versions of the Android System Intelligence app, for example, have the 3D cinematic wallpaper feature that was announced in the June 2023 Pixel Feature Drop. Back when Google first rolled out Live Caption, some Pixel 4 users lost the feature by sideloading an APK meant for other devices.

Google distributes a lot of different versions of the Play Services app, so choosing the right one can be hard for some users. If they sideload the wrong files, some things could get messed up, which is likely why Google decided to have the Play Store claim update ownership over Play Services. Fortunately, if you know what you’re doing, you can just ignore the warning and update anyway. If you don’t, reading the FAQ on APKMirror or using APKMirror Installer when dealing with app bundles should be enough.