Android P Will Stop Supporting Apps Developed for Android 4.1 or Lower Versions


It was only a fortnight ago that Google had unveiled its latest version Android P after Oreo with some noteworthy changes. Now, it seems that the Company has already finalized its next set of action. Yes, the news from the center is that Google is going to block all apps that have been developed for Android 4.1 or the lower versions.

So, attention you Android App Developers, your priorities have changed; now, you have to lookout for the API, which has a minimum level of 17 or equal to Android 4.2. The intentions are clear; Google Play Store will not allow you to install and run the apps on Android P with a lower level API target.

As per the report published on official website of Android Police, all blocks below the target level of 17 shall be legitimately blocked and they will no more be able to function on Android P.

Now, the question is what compelled Google to take such a step. The reason is that recently, there was an APK teardown of Android P Developer Preview that came across a new MIN_SUPPORTED_TARGET_SDK_INT class that does not allow the latest version to function below the minimum API level 17. Therefore, anything lower than 17, apps will not be able to install and run on Android P.

As for the user, if they try to run the app on the lower level, they will come across an instruction stating that this app is developed for the older version and will not function appropriately. They would be asked to check the updates or contact the app developer.

It was last December that Google clearly informed the app developers through a post that apps submitted to Google Play Store must not be more than one year old. In addition, the developers were also said to enhance the security measures of the app.

So, if the developers will submit apps on Play Store with Android P, the starting support will be available for Android 4.2 and target submission would be Android 8.0 or higher.

However, the Company has not taken any final decision or fixed any specific date as to when it will be starting to block the apps. It is also not very specific whether the apps will be blocked entirely or initially during the early stages you would only receive the warnings.

But whatever may be the fact, the point is that Google is taking this step to better and increase the security of the apps. It has always faced a tough competition from Apple on that front. In Android P, the idle apps will not get an access to your Smartphone mic or camera.

The Company also feels that Android 4.1 is not adequately advanced to support the latest devices such as Pixel 1 or Pixel 2.

A Few Important Changes from Developer’s Perspective

So, now, if you are an Android app developer, then it is essential to note down a few vital points that hold substance. We know that Android P has been rolled out with some changes. So, what’s next if Android 4.1 gets blocked?

  • The first step will be to ensure app compatibility. The app developer needs to make sure that apps are fully functional on the new version. You are not required to change your app’s targetSdkVersion or make use of new API. However, small changes are essential.
  • The app developers have been asked to update the apps once in a year. That’s what the current instruction from Google is.
  • Next job is to update the targetSdkVersion and see that apps are running successfully. Once this is done, the developer can begin with new APIs.
  • Fourthly, the app developers have to brace the security of the newly built apps even more as this decision of Google to block Android 4.1 is mainly due to enhancing the security element preventing idle apps to access mic and camera.
  • Another important thing which you need to do is to test compatibility.

Read also: How Would You Know When Your App Needs A Major Update

So, say farewell to all those old apps because you will no longer be able to see them anymore. Only those having old models of smartphones will have their access. We can also view this shift in response to Apple’s move of discontinuing the support for 32-bit apps in iOS 11 or higher.

Written by Dhruv Mevada

Dhruv is Sr. Android Engineer at Mindinventory. He is passionate about Android and has got his hands dirty and feets wet with all things Android. He loves to explore the bleeding edge tech stuff. He is an early adopter and would like to stay up to date regarding latest trends in Industry.