Your Android phone will expose silently installed apps soon — here's how

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Google announced the first developer preview of Android 14 on Wednesday, allowing the search engine giant to get critical feedback from testers before rolling out the highly anticipated software en masse.

Android 14 is expected to bring a cornucopia of new features that will enhance performance, privacy, security, and user customization, but one new perk caught our eye the most. As 9to5Google pointed out, Android 14 will show users when a smartphone manufacturer, carrier, or even a malicious party, installs an app on your device without your knowledge.

How Android 14 will reveal silently installed apps

Twitter user Mishaal Rahman shed light on the cool new upcoming Android feature, gushing about how it'll make it easier for users to track surreptitiously installed apps. How? Well, Android 14 is adding a novel "Apps installed in the background" page.

The page features the following description:

Your device manufacturer may install apps on your device in the background or allow your carrier and other partners to do so. Any apps listed here aren't required for your device to function normally. You can uninstall apps you don't want.


Dylan Roussel's "Apps installed in the background" page (Image credit: 9to5Google/Dylan Roussel)

Dylan Roussel, a self-taught Android developer, tested the new feature and found that Inware, which was installed over Android Debug Bridge (ADB), was listed on his page. This "backs up the idea that malicious installations could be caught by this new tool," 9to5Google said. 

This page should also detect any unwanted bloatware apps that do nothing but take up precious storage space on your device.

Applications listed on the page feature a trash can icon, which should allow Android users to delete all unwanted apps on their phone.

Android 14's developer preview will stay open for feedback (only for Pixel phones) until the tail end of March. The final release is expected to roll out this summer or fall.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!