Xiaomi no longer wants APKs on Android smartphones

Xiaomi would no longer like Android users to be able to extract APK files from apps on their own. According to the brand, this would amount to giving access to what it describes itself as “private resources”.

Android is known for its great freedom. Especially when it comes to installing applications that do not come directly from the Play storelike what can be done with APK files which allow you to have direct access to older versions of certain applications, to versions only available in certain regions, to be able to send them directly locally to a loved one, etc. A possibility that does not really seem to please Xiaomi. The Chinese manufacturer would have some very personal ideas behind the head.

The protection of a “secret”

The Chinese company does not seem to be one of the supporters of this practice. As Mishaal Rahman tells us on Twitter, a Xiaomi developer has taken the liberty of submitting a new proposal to the Android Open Source Project which would aim to prevent owners of smartphones running the operating system from being able to extract APK files from their devices.

A Xiaomi engineer submitted a patch to AOSP that would add an SELinux policy blocking the shell user from grabbing APK data files because they “may include some private resources.”😬

— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) May 20, 2022

The reason for this blocking, according to the brand, is the desire to protect what it considers to be “private resources“. The developer in question suggests that instead of APKs, apps should only be made available through the Play Store or another trusted app store. Fortunately for users, Google seems to disagree.

An inconsistent project according to Google

An employee of the Mountain View company came to point out the (big) flaw in Xiaomi’s proposal, namely that it would prevent the extraction of APKs only on a stable version of Android. Some people who are a little more informed would therefore only have to install a version dedicated to developers to be able to continue extracting these files. The method would therefore be doomed to failure.

Several Google employees have since stepped up to speak out against this idea, which would elevate the content of an APK to the rank of “industrial secret”. Google therefore does not intend to let this kind of practice develop and this is certainly excellent news for Android users who can count on the company that develops Android to bring order and peace to its ecosystem.

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Xiaomi no longer wants APKs on Android smartphones

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