Google is updating its policies regarding Android APIs, with plans to block outdated apps in Android 14.
Outdated and abandoned apps are a big problem for both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. In fact, recent research shows that some 32% of Android apps are abandoned. Unfortunately, outdated software poses a significant security risk, opening up an attack vector for bad actors to abuse.
Google is looking to address the problem with changes to how Android 14 handles apps. According to 9to5Google, Android 14 will not install apps that use outdated APIs, or are designed for older versions of Android. An exception will be made for apps a user previously downloaded and have not yet been updated to use the latest APIs.
Google emphasized the need for these changes in an update to its Android developer guidelines:
Every new Android version introduces changes that bring security and performance improvements and enhance the Android user experience. Some of these changes only apply to apps that explicitly declare support through their
targetSdkVersionmanifest attribute (also known as the target API level).
Configuring your app to target a recent API level ensures that users can benefit from these improvements, while your app can still run on older Android versions. Targeting a recent API level also allows your app to take advantage of the platform’s latest features to delight your users.