Starting November this year, Google will make the outdated apps (in terms of API levels) to be less reachable to new users in Play Store.
The company stated that all Android apps in Play Store should target their API levels close to the recent Android OS versions, to be able to discoverable by new users for installation. This rule is already applicable for the new apps in making and now applies to current apps too.
Android Apps Targeting Latest API Levels
For a long, Apple in the name of privacy and security has been dumping iOS apps in its Appstore that aren’t tuned for its latest iPhone or iOS version. This forced the iOS app developers to regularly update their apps to meet the stated API levels, to be compatible with the latest iOS version.
This is good, as suiting the apps to the current OS version will make it good for development and also offers more privacy to users, due to the inclusion of such tools by OEMs in every latest OS version. And while we’re wondering why Google isn’t implementing such changes in its Play Store, it just came through now.
As per its blog post, Google said
“Starting on November 1, 2022, existing apps that don’t 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.”
The requirement window will be adjusted as per the launch of new Android OS versions. Google already requires the new apps to target an API level of 30 (Android 11), which will be increased to API level 31 (Android 12) in August this year. And this new policy change now pushes the current apps too.
Snapchat is the best example in this course, which stuck to API level 22 (Android 5.1) for years to avoid Android runtime permissions, which are introduced in Android 6.0 that limit the app’s running time.