Google promises Android 14 phones won’t lose web connectivity, no matter how old they get

Google is preparing a change for Android 14 that will allow devices to be re-secured even after manufacturer-provided support stops.

As it stands, Android devices are completely dependent on firmware patches to update cryptographic security certificates, essential for using certain services and even basic internet connectivity. Without these, very old devices eventually can’t be used at all for web browsing.

Starting with devices shipped (or upgraded to) Android 14, updating cryptographic certificates will also be possible through the Google Play Services infrastructure, meaning that any device that received Google Services certification (e.g. Play Store access) at launch will have unlimited access to refresh the so-called root certificates installed on the device. For example, the presence of unexpired security certificates is essential for accessing websites via encrypted connections.

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Important to know, the help provided by Google does not take the place of Android security updates and updating apps installed on the device. Thus, unless a very old device is compromised by exploiting unpatched security vulnerabilities, the browser not updated to support the latest web technologies may simply be unable to display accessed pages.

Ideally, users should never end up in a situation where root certificate updates are the last form of security support available, with that phone or tablet long since ending up in the junk drawer.

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