To make Android safer, Google hides old apps in the Play Store – Tecnoblog

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App updates are super important. In addition to bringing new features, developers implement improvements in the software to ensure more security for users and fix bugs. And that’s why the Google will start to restrict old or abandoned apps to android at Google Play Store.

Google will hide old Android apps from the Google Play Store (Image: Vitor Pádua / Tecnoblog)

The change was announced on a company blog on Wednesday (6). In the post, Google reinforced that it already requires new apps submitted to the store to point to an API level within a year of the most recent release. But the company intends to redouble this care to make Android safer.

“Today, as part of the latest Google Play policy updates, we are taking additional steps to protect users from installing apps that may not have the latest privacy and security features by expanding our target-level API requirements. ”, they announced.

Google wants to limit old apps on the Play Store (Image: André Fogaça/Tecnoblog)
Google wants to limit old apps on the Play Store (Image: André Fogaça/Tecnoblog)

Android: Old apps will be limited on the Play Store

The change points directly to the app API level. If you are not aware, when preparing an application for the system, you need to assign it to an API level. It is through this element that the developer informs about how the app runs on different versions of Android, according to a Google document.

Each OS version has a different level. For example, Android 11 is identified by API level 31 while Android 10 brings level 30. That is, the level increases with each new version of the software – but, of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

And it is from this element that Google will limit old applications. According to the publication, if existing apps do not target an API level “within two years from the latest Android major version”, the software will be restricted in the store. So, if the mobile has system versions higher than the target API level of the apps, the user will not be able to find or install them.

“Okay Bruno, but this looks confusing.” Yes, but I’ll explain: we are currently on Android 12, which uses API number 31. This means that if your phone is up to date, the block will not be applied to apps that point to Android 10 (level 29) and Android 11 (level 30). The diagram below also exemplifies this:

Apps will have to reach API level of the last two years to be widely displayed on the Play Store (Image: Playback/Google)
Apps will have to reach API level of the last two years to be widely displayed on the Play Store (Image: Playback/Google)

The rule is expected to take effect on November 1, 2022. But it is important to note that the policy will not prevent users of older versions of the system from installing apps from the Play Store. O Android Police also notes that if you use a phone with Android 9 Pie (level 28), you will still be able to find apps for level 28, for example.

With information: Android Police and Android Developers Blog

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