Google tightens security when it comes to Android app developers, hiding behind outdated APIs to avoid being exposed to modern privacy restrictions (and other security enhancements). The actions of certain developers become an issue as Google seeks to strengthen security and privacy all around.
Newly submitted apps and updates must meet strict requirements, e.g. B. Using an Android API level that is “within a year of the release of the latest major version of the Android operating system”. Google blocks anything that doesn’t live up to that.
Now the company is passing on similar requirements to older apps that haven’t been updated in a while.
“Starting November 1, 2022, existing apps that do not target an API level within two years of the latest major Android release will be disabled for new users with devices running Android OS versions higher than the apps’ target version. not be available for discovery or installation at the API level. As new Android OS versions are introduced in the future, the requirements window will be adjusted accordingly.” — via Google
So if a user’s device is newer than the app’s API level and the API level is older than two years after the latest major version of the Android OS and the user has never downloaded that app before, their device won’t get the app see as available for download in the play store.
If the user previously downloaded the app or is using an older device with an OS version at the same API level or earlier, the user can continue to see and download the app as usual.
As mentioned, the idea is to improve security and privacy. So this move forces app developers to keep their apps up to date if they want new users to keep downloading the app. It will weed out any developer who has abandoned an app or (as mentioned) is trying to hide behind an older API layer to avoid heavy privacy and/or security restrictions.
This will cause many apps to disappear from Play Store that have not been updated for a long time. It will also force many big names to play their policies well otherwise they will be hidden from the business.
The new restrictions will begin later this year (November 1, 2022).