Skip to content

Installing apps from unknown sources is a bit more complicated on Android 11

26 mayo, 2021

In the early days of Android, install apps from unknown sources it was a unique setting in the Android options. After activating it, it was possible to install applications from unknown sources launched from any application. With Android Oreo this changed: installing applications became an additional permission that had to be activated application by application, instead of being a master switch.

This configuration has since been maintained in Android Pie, Android 10 and continues in the Android 11 Developer Preview, although there is a small change in its operation that makes the experience worse. After granting permission, the application closes, so you have to manually go back to where you were.

Guilt, from Scoped Storage

Android Oreo introduced the permission to install unknown apps, so if you try to install an APK from any application, you must first grant it this permission. It’s an extra step over the master switch we had before, but as far as possible the process was pretty straightforward.

How to install Android 11 on a Google Pixel from the browser with Android Flash Tool

When trying to install an APK, you receive a notice that the installation is restricted and you must enable the permission in the system settings. After granting this permission, if you press the back key you go back exactly where you were, so you can retry the installation which, this time, will happen without problems.

In Android 11, at least in the fourth Developer Preview, this changes. The whole process is identical, but after granting permission, if you go back the application closes and you go back to the home screen. You must, therefore, open the application manually and go to where you are. Here’s a comparison with Android 10 on the left and Android 11 on the right.

This change in behavior has already been reported by users in the Android bug tracker, to which an employee of the company replied that “the operation is as expected”. In the past, Android closed and killed the applications to which you denied permissions, but not the ones you added. Apparently the fault of the matter lies in the changes in how storage works on Android 11:

The way partitions are mounted and configured has changed significantly in Android R. When an application is started without this permission, it gets a file system view that does not allow it to write to certain directories (such as Android / obb). When an application receives this permission, this view is not accurate, so it needs to be updated to a view that allows the application to write to certain folders. The way the file system has been configured in Android R, changing the real-time view is not possible.

Therefore, the process to install applications from unknown sources in Android 11 is for now a little longer than in previous versions, although we will still have to do it only once per application. In addition, Google claims to be “internally evaluating” making changes, so it is always possible that there will be changes from here to the final version of Android 11.

Via | Android Police