Google Play Store tries to update my F-Droid apps :-(

Some days ago, the Google Play Store started to list F-Droid apps as outdated. These are apps that exist on both, the Play Store and F-Droid. Naturally, the Play Store fails to update these apps due to a signature mismatch.

My real problem is that I don’t want to allow Google to automatically update apps and I visit “My apps” occasionally to manually update apps. Now, the list of “updatable” apps is cluttered with failed updates for my many F-Droid apps.

Does anyone know if this is just a bug, or if Google upped their game against the competition and just tries to annoy foss users?

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it’s a “feature”, but you can change it

I might have failed to explain what’s happening. The problem is not automatic updates but Google listing F-Droid apps as updatable.

When you disable automatic updates, you can either manually update all outdated apps, or update individual apps. But now, the list of outdated apps contains F-Droid apps too. So, manually updating all apps will give you a bunch of errors, and updating individual apps will make you guess which app you installed from the Play Store and which from F-Droid.

Googling (the irony!) this new behaviour only resulted in two reddit hits that are piracy (test signature key) related. Did no one else see this happening with their foss apps?

We use open source alternative called Aurora Store Aurora Store | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository
It allows to filter out F-Droid apps as well. Give it a try.

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As mentioned, use Aurora Store for installing apps. You can blacklist any items you don’t want to see in the list of updates by long pressing on any entry.

Also, if you are rooted and have LSposed there is a module for blocking updates in Play Store as well as other app stores.

[MOD][XPOSED][4.1+] Update Locker - stop update your apps | XDA Forums

I do have a Magisk module installed, that can uncouple apps from the Play Store, but it is inconvenient to set up. Aurora is a good suggestion, but it can’t update/download paid apps.

If they don’t fix this bug, or it turns out that they intentionally annoy users of alternate app stores, then … damn, with paid apps, licence checks, and “security” for banking apps, Google created a very neat vendor lock-in :unamused:

Edit: I read that Aurora can download paid apps if you use your Google credentials?

Correct. Installing paid apps is not a problem when using your Google account. You were about to dismiss Aurora Store based on assumption instead of experience? Best to try things.

Keeping Play Store installed will handle any license or In-App Purchase checking. On at least one setup I froze Play Store but the couple of apps that do a license check still pass.

think this was recently brought up my multiple users elsewhere too, unfortunately this sounds like a Google Play “bug”, now if that’s ahem-intentional-ahem or normal software bug… :person_shrugging:

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forum bug

BUG: similarity to a deleted post is irrelevant if the post replied to the wrong user by mistake and deleted by author. Reposting this should not be prohibited:

Screenshot 2023-12-28 at 5.36.16 AM

I also have 2 crash logs which i cannot send ( Connection reset / timeout)

Nothing but problems with Aurora every step of the way and now i encounter obstructions just talking about it. :man_shrugging:t2: :roll_eyes:

Errrrr. You are absolutely wrong. Rahul and others always respond. Even on Git and not just Telegram.
Aurora Forum where? Give the link that you are trying.

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In Aurora Store long press Amethyst and select ‘Add to Blacklist’. App will no longer be shown in Updates list. Mentioned earlier, btw.

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Thanks everyone for suggesting Aurora, and for confirming that Google F-ed up …
Wish you all a happy new year … soon … :slightly_smiling_face: :fireworks:


I don’t know if the Play Store used to try to filter out F-Droid apps, or if it still does, but Amethyst is a reproducible app, so it doesn’t use an F-Droid certificate, and it’s thus not recognizable as an “F-Droid app” (because it truly isn’t, its signing keys are in the hands of the developer and he could distribute updates wherever he wanted).

When I read this I had first thought that the developer used the same key for the version on F-Droid and on the Play Store, but it’s not so; so it’s not really updatable through the Play Store.

If you switch to Aurora Store you should know that the current stable version lists Amethyst as well; but for some strange reason it doesn’t let you (or me) to even download it.

The current Aurora nightly instead for some reason does not list it.

By the way, some of the reproducible apps might well be using the same key that they use on the Play Store, and which thus Google has (and the Play Store reserves the right to forcefully update any app).
I don’t know if this has been discussed within F-Droid.

Before Google messed up, the Play Store would not consider any app without a Play Store signing key for updates, not targeting F-Droid apps specifically. Now, it simply ignores the signing key completely.

The Play Store also tries, and fails, to update an app that I signed with a test key. (I paid for the app. But when the developer made it “free” with ads at some point, I wanted to keep using the old ad-free version and prevent Google from updating it.)

I doubt that any app on F-Droid would/could be signed with a Google key.

Here’s a though, go to Android Settings, Apps, (an app from F-Droid), look at “Installed by …” entry*

*depending on Android version or flavour that might be there or not.

Eh…that thing whould plainly say “who installed it last” and “who is entitled to update it”

Is Google breaking that? Is it trying to forcefully (if it offers an option it’s just ok) update it and it fails???

Regarding reproducible builds, it’s okay to offer such an upgrade as the signing key matches and it can be updated.

If (biiig if) Play tries to update apps with mismatched signature…then there’s an issue…

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That’s indeed what’s happening. For example I have the Element messenger app installed via f-droid. The app info in settings says that it was installed by f-droid.

Yet Play Store tries to update it (and fails as expected) as there is a newer version there not yet in f-droid.

For me this would be clearly a play store bug. But I fear Google would disagree :confused:

UPDATE: Just to be clear, this is not limited to the f-droid app. I had the same issue happening with other apps that are available in both play store and f-droid. It’s just that Element is currently a good example as the f-droid update got delayed (by unrelated reasons).

And anyway, the issue is with Google, not f-droid. With a recent play update they broke this.

Not only is Play Store attempting to update applications installed by F-Droid but it appears to have completely broken updates via F-Droid for specific apps. In my case an app that’s messed up is ‘Telegram FOSS’. Now F-Droid is failing to update Telegram FOSS, if you retry a few times you see an android error dialogue stating “Package installer keeps stopping”

Hmm be sure that you’re not trying to update with F-Droid a GitHub version, that you have free space and that you haven’t installed the official Telegram in a working profile, I think that that might cause problems.

I actually would not be completely surprised if some google feature blocked Telegram FOSS though, since they weirdly use the same Application Id of the official Telegram (there’s hardly any reason to do it and it’s a source of problems).

The Play Store doesn’t require using Google signing keys, you can use your own (although for all apps published after 2021 you’re required to give Google your key).
So the Play Store would have had to either check that the installed app has the same key as the update or do some other checks.

Yeah with a Google’s one no, but keep in mind that apps with the same signing key on F-Droid and the Play Store can definitely exist.

A few days ago I was notified by Play Store that it had an update for Notally which I had installed from F-droid. A previous topic claimed this was not possible because of different signing keys.

Thinking I had made a mistake I uninstalled Notally, then re-installed it from F-droid, yet Play Store again wanted to update it. I repeated this process a second time, and still Play Store wants me to update it. How can this happen, and what can I do about it?