You will soon be unable to download outdated apps from the Google Play Store

You will soon be unable to download outdated apps from the Google Play Store

Apple has frequently removed apps from the App Store that aren’t compatible with the latest iPhone models or iOS versions, which is generally good to the overall software experience but makes preserving old apps and games much more difficult. Google has been cautious to make similar changes to the Google Play Store, but this is about to change.

Google announced in a blog post, “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. As new Android OS versions launch in the future, the requirement window will adjust accordingly.”

The minimal API level and the ‘target’ API level are the two Android versions for which apps and games are developed. The former refers to the oldest Android version for which an app is designed, whilst the later refers to the most recent Android version for which the app is designed.

The target API level should be maintained as near to the most recent Android version as possible, allowing an app to leverage the most up-to-date APIs and development features. Newer API levels, on the other hand, frequently impose greater limits on rights, which is why some apps continue to use earlier API levels as long as feasible. Snapchat is likely the most well-known example here, as it remained on API level 22 (Android 5.1) for years in order to avoid the runtime permissions paradigm introduced in Android 6.0.

Google already requires new and updated Android apps to target the latest Android release, which is now Android 11 (API level 30) and will be upgraded to Android 12 (API level 31) in August 2022. That rule, however, only applies to apps that are still under development; outdated and abandoned apps and games were left alone as long as they followed other Play Store policies.

If apps want to be accessible on the Play Store, they’ll have to keep up with Android’s growing permissions and security updates, which will likely increase privacy and security. Many older apps will become more difficult (or impossible) to access as a result, especially after the first purge on November 1. Thankfully, backing up and preserving outdated apps and games on Android is easier than on iOS.

Topics #Google Play Store #outdated apps

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