Google is apparently getting ready to limit the availability of outdated apps on the Play Store. According to an announcement made by the search giant. Starting from November 1st, all existing apps on the Google Play Store should aim to target an API level within two years of the latest major Android OS release and in case they fail to do so, Google will place limits that will result in the users being unable to discover or install them.
Google Does Not Want Outdated Apps on the Google Play Store
Although these changes might seem harsh, they are meant to make sure that the software available from the Google Play store is making use of Android's latest privacy and security features. Device owners "expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer,” Google product management director Krish Vitaldevara writes in a blog post. “Expanding our target level API requirements will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place.”
However, one needs to know about a few caveats. First of all, the restrictions are only going to apply when a device is running a version of Android more recent than the app's API level. So, anyone who is still using an older version of Android will still be able to use the apps. Google has also mentioned that users will be able to re-download and install any apps that they have previously downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Developers can go ahead and apply for a six-month extension if their app is not ready in time for the November 1st deadline.
Google already has a similar policy, but that is only for new and updated apps that are submitted to the Play Store for review. At the time of writing, an app needs to target an API level from within year one of the last major Android version in order to be published on the store. What this new policy is doing is expanding the coverage to existing as well as possibly abandoned apps on the Play Store.