In a bid to improve application safety across its ecosystem and as part of Google Play’s latest policy updates, Google is preparing to get rid of outdated apps that have failed to keep up with the latest Android OS releases.
According to Google in its blog post, starting on November 1, 2022, existing apps that do not target an API level within two years of the latest major Android release version will not be available for discovery or installation for new users with devices running Android OS versions higher than apps’ target API level.
This move is an additional step to protect users from installing apps that may not have the latest privacy and security features and for smartphone users to maximize all the privacy and security precautions Android has to offer.
Hear from Google
Users with the latest devices or those who are fully caught up on Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer. Expanding our target level API requirements will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place. The good news is that the vast majority of apps on Google Play already abide by these standards. For other apps, we know this will require additional attention, which is why we are notifying developers well in advance and providing resources for those who need them.
This strengthened Target Level API policy is just one of the policy updates we announced today to expand user protections and improve user experiences on Google Play. We will continue to share updates about this important work that will help raise the bar for app privacy and security across the board, making Google Play and Android a safer place for everyone.
Google requires new Android apps and upgrades to target an API level within one year of the most recent major Android OS release. The outdated apps would not be completely removed from Google Play as older apps will still be able to be found, installed, and used on any Android OS version that the app can run on.
Google has made available a technical guide to help developers on migrating apps to meet Google Play’s target API level requirements. Through a form that will be made available in the Developer Play Console later this year, an optional 6-month extension can be requested where developers need more time for migration.