Many Google Pixel users are experiencing a frustrating bug that is preventing them from installing apps from third-party sources. This problem seems to have emerged following the December 2023 feature drop update, leaving users unable to install various applications that aren’t available on the Play Store.

Pixel users ‘Unknown apps can’t be installed’ error after December 2023 update

While Play Store is the primary source for installing on Android devices, there are some applications or older version of an app that are not available on the store, and users often resort to third-party sources for downloading them. But unfortunately, Pixel users are now facing an error when attempting to install these APKs.

Despite being able to download the APK, an error message stating ‘Unknown apps can’t be installed by this user’ appears upon tapping the install button. This wasn’t an issue prior to December 2023 update, which indicates that the recent patch is responsible for this happening.


Consequently, users are unable to use certain apps that aren’t available on the Play Store. Unfortunately, the actual cause of this issue is unknown as Google has yet to acknowledge it. But there are some potential workarounds suggested by the affected users that might help you fix this glitch temporarily.

Potential workarounds

One workaround involves using an app named APK Extractor, available on the Play Store, to install APKs on your Pixel device. This app may help bypass the installation issue for some users.

If the APK Extractor doesn’t resolve the problem, there’s an alternative method for installing APKs called ADB (Android Debug Bridge). However, this method requires a level of technical know-how and might be a bit complex for newbies. Here are the steps involved in the ADB method.

  • Enable USB Debugging on your Android device through Developer Options in Settings
  • Connect your device to your computer via USB
  • Download ADB tools or ensure you have ADB installed
  • Open Command Prompt (on Windows) or Terminal (on Mac)
  • Navigate to the directory containing the APK using the command line
  • Install the APK by using the command “adb install filename.apk” command (replace filname.apk with the actual APK filename)
  • Wait for the installation to finish

That said, we hope that Google fixes this issue in the upcoming software update. And while awaiting a fix for this error, these suggested workarounds could help alleviate the issue temporarily.

Aashish Singh
502 Posts

I developed a keen interest in technology ever since my school days. And writing about it keeps me closer to this fascinating world. When I’m not working you can catch me playing video games.

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