Google Play is transferring ahead in its struggle on outdated, un-updated apps. The Play Retailer has had a rolling minimal stage for Android model help for some time now; builders have to make use of a “goal API stage” that’s one yr outdated or newer, or they are going to be unable to replace their apps. Now, Google is announcing a second rolling minimal—if an app’s goal API stage is 2 years outdated, the app shall be hidden from the Play Retailer listings. Meaning customers looking for a brand new app to put in will not see deserted apps.
Android’s “goal API stage” system is type of like a backward-compatibility setting for Android apps. Each new model of Android is recognized by a brand new API stage, which matches up by one with each launch. At the moment, Android 12L is API stage 32, and Android 13 shall be API stage 33. Each model of Android comes with new options and safety restrictions for app builders, however as a result of Google does not need to break outdated apps with each launch, the API stage system lets app builders “goal” the model of the Android options and restrictions they wish to run below.
The goal API stage does not have something to do with the minimal model of Android that an app will run on (that may be the second huge app setting, the “minimal API stage”); it simply lets apps say, “I’m coded with compatibility for Android 12 options and restrictions, if they’re out there.” On this case, the app would get entry to the Android 12 options and have the Android 12 safety restrictions utilized to it, and it will run usually on older variations.
Earlier than Google enforced these Play Retailer restrictions, the goal API stage was a voluntary system. Focusing on a low API stage was a viable technique for a developer like Fb, which in all probability does not care about new options and desires to run below as few restrictions as doable. Malware would additionally goal low API ranges. Google Play’s goal API guidelines, which launched in 2018, be sure that new restrictions apply to probably malicious and data-hungry apps within the Play Retailer.
The brand new guidelines will kick in on November 1, 2022. At that time, Android 13 (API stage 33) ought to be the newest model. The Play Retailer will cease accepting app updates that do not goal at the very least Android 12 (API stage 31), which shall be a yr outdated, although these apps will nonetheless seem usually on the Play Retailer. With the brand new rule, the Play Retailer will even cover apps that do not goal at the very least Android 11 (API stage 30), which is 2 years outdated. Builders can replace their apps to a supported model to take away the restrictions.
Nonconforming apps “won’t be out there for discovery or set up for brand new customers with gadgets working Android OS variations increased than apps’ goal API stage.” Customers who beforehand put in an app will nonetheless have the ability to discover and set up it once more, however new consumer acquisition shall be shut down. Additionally word that the hiding solely occurs in case you are working a model of Android that’s newer than the outdated app you are attempting to obtain.
The result’s that the Google Play search outcomes and class listings ought to solely present apps which might be supported by the developer, making it simpler to seek out high-quality apps. Builders have two years to replace their apps, and that is not even counting the eight-month heads-up they get from Android’s public Developer Preview program. It seems to be like solely essentially the most uncared for, deserted apps shall be hidden from the Play Retailer.