Google is introducing policy changes to Google Play to better protect Android users. New target level API requirements will prevent users from installing apps that don’t have the latest privacy and security features.
Beginning on November 1, 2022, existing apps that don’t target an API level that is within two years of the most recent major Android release won’t be available for download for users of devices that are running OS versions that are higher than the target API level.
Google plans to continually adjust this requirement window in accordance with new Android releases.
The reason behind these changes is that Google believes users running the latest devices expect to receive the full privacy and security protections from Android, but installing an older app without the latest security updates could make their devices vulnerable.
Google also stressed that the majority of apps already adhere to these upcoming guidelines. For those that don’t, it recommends reviewing the technical guide on meeting API level requirements, reading this Help Center article on the requirements, or requesting a six month extension to meet the requirement if needed.
“This strengthened Target Level API policy is just one of the policy updates we announced today to expand user protections and improve user experiences on Google Play. 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, Krish Vitaldevara, director of product management for Android, wrote in a blog post.