A new set of changes to its developer policy aim to make the platform more secure.
Google this week announced updated target level API requirements for Android applications in an attempt to improve the overall security of the ecosystem. These new developer requirements will take effect between May 11th through November 1st, 2022, giving developers enough time to adjust to the new changes.
Krish Vitaldevara, Director, Product Management for Google, described the new changes in a post in the Android Developers Blog. “Today, as part of Google Play’s latest 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,” he writes.
Respecting the target API level for the myriad OS versions in circulation
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, Vitaldevara explains.
“The rationale behind this is simple,” he continues. “Users with the latest devices or those who are fully caught up on Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer. Expanding our target level API requirements will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place.”
Vitaldevara assures us: “the good news is that the vast majority of apps on Google Play already abide by these standards. For other apps, we know this will require additional attention, which is why we are notifying developers well in advance and providing resources for those who need them.”
He goes on to express how security is a focus for Google now. “We’ll continue to share updates about this important work that will help raise the bar for app privacy and security across the board, making Google Play and Android a safer place for everyone,” he says.
Also read: New Android 13 preview focuses on security and privacy.