Instant Apps break Package Manager’s ability to list installed apps on Android 8.0 Oreo

Instant Apps break Package Manager’s ability to list installed apps on Android 8.0 Oreo

With the advent of Android 8.0 Oreo, we’ve seen a number of changes that are have improved the performance and security. Systems separated from the Android OS itself have seen revamps and improvements over the years, with Google’s Instant Apps becoming used more and more. Instant Apps are a great way for site owners to give users a better way to view their website. Opening some sites in Chrome will let you try out the app for that website through your browser. It effectively “streams” the app to your device. Later Google allowed users to even add Instant Apps to their home screen, effectively installing them. In Android Oreo, however, this functionality completely breaks the Android package manager’s installed apps listings. Check out what happens in the video below by the original reporter of the bug on Google’s issue tracker.

As you can see, the installation of an Instant App breaks Android package manager functionality. This means apps which function solely off of this service will cease to function, like SD Maid and other applications like Titanium Backup. It’s unknown what actually causes the issue, but it’s detrimental to the normal functionality of many applications as it only returns an empty list rather than what’s actually installed on the device.

The only saving grace appears to be that the issue only affects Android 8.0 Oreo but not 8.1. This was tested on the Nexus 5X (on both Android 8.0 and 8.1), Google Pixel on Android 8.1, and an AOSP emulator on Android 8.0, where it was found that the issue only appears to affect a single version of Android. Still, with many devices running on 8.0 the issue likely can’t go ignored. Hopefully, it can be fixed with a security patch.

If the issue affects you, check out the link to the Google issue tracker below and star the issue. Do not comment on the post.

Thanks to XDA Member dark3n for the tip!


Google Issue Tracker

About author

Adam Conway
Adam Conway

A 21-year-old Irish technology fanatic in his final year of a Computer Science degree. Lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter Strike. You can contact me at [email protected] My Twitter is @AdamConwayIE and my Instagram is adamc.99.