Google Announces New App Development Guidelines for Android Developers

Kind attention for all the Android App Developers! Google has recently made some vital announcements regarding the guidelines related to app development. And all these set of instructions shall be implemented from the next year; i.e. 2018 and 2019. So, please go on reading the news further to remain up to date on the development process.

And yes, all these major changes are taking place with only one intend in mind to increase the robustness of the app security and improve the performance of the mobile applications. The important piece of information has arrived from none other sources but from the official blog post.

App security has always been one of the paramount requisites that the end users demand and there cannot be any compromise on that front. Mr. Cunningham in his post has stated that Google aims to provide an optimum experience with all bug free apps and so the Company is basically focusing on three major areas.

The android app developers should thoroughly be acquainted with all the points and apply the same when they create apps in the near future. Furthermore, he has also emphasized on the point why these changes were needed and how can the apps remain more secured.

  1. Firstly, the importance of the Android API level will further increase. As stated the developers will have to target the latest Android API level when they are launching a new app or updating the existing one. It would come into effect from next year in August for new apps and November for the upgrades. This will enhance the security and app performance.
  2. Another change that will come into force from August 2019 is that the app developers need to make sure that their apps are built on the 64-bit version apart from the 32-bit version.
  3. The third important announcement is that Google is going to add some more security metadata on the top of APK. This is being done to further strengthen the authenticity of the app during the verification process. This will be implemented during the first half of 2018.

Just remember these essential updates which will be required when are launching or updating the app. However, the company has assured that it will keep on sending reminders so that app developers are ready in advance.

The Announcements on API Level

The API levels play vital role in augmenting the security and privacy protections. So, Google has planned to bring an advancement into it with the intention of assisting developers to make securer apps. And this would come into effect from latter part of 2018.

The instructions are applicable for implied targets for blindService() Android 5.0 version that is no longer supported , runtime permissions in case of Android 6.0, user added CAs that have lost the reliability for secured connections in Android 7.0 and apps not able to access the account due to permission from user in Android 8.0.

Come August 2018 the new apps will require to get on with the API level 26 and the same actions need to be taken for updates in November 2018. And the company has further said that from 2019 onwards, the targetsdkversion will go advance. The app developers will have to keep on targeting the existing or the latest API levels accordingly.

Interestingly, as the security is becoming tighter with years to follow the users will only receive information on data and location from apps that extend their support to new API levels via targetSdkVersion. In fact, this will also bring an improvement in their battery life; which had been a common complaint of the users.

Google has said that those apps that don’t get any update instruction will not have any impact on them. The developers have been given the option to choose their own minSdkVersion so that they don’t have to change development process.

Those apps that do not target the API levels will not be allowed to be released or updated and shall remain restricted. This year Google had introduced the Android Oreo, which is based on the recent version and Project Treble so that developers get familiar with latest releases. The Company has already started working on bringing Android 8.1 Oreo.

Green Single for Building 64-bit Version

Google has given a green signal to the Android app developers that they get prepared to offer the 64-bit version for supporting the applications. And all this will come into effect from August 2019 onwards. Again here the aim is clear; to offer uncompromised security and app performance. Google intends all its apps to run seamlessly on the 64-bit version in addition to the 32-bit version compatibility.

The post further adds that even the Play Console will need the support of new apps and updates to run with absence of 32-bit version. It is important that all that’s including 32-bit are supported with 64-bit for performing better with extra registers and instructions.

August 2019 is far away, which means Google has given ample time to the developers to set to 64-bit version. And the company has also told developers to keep a check on further announcements.

The Announcement Made on Security Metadata

The last crucial information that the post contains is with respect to security metadata. Now this announcement is the first one which will be implemented in early 2018. Here the Google plans to add small amount of security metadata on the top of each APK just to check that the distribution has been done by Google Play and none else. It can be regarded as an authentic level that will make your app even more secured and reliable.

As such the developers don’t have to take any action from their side. The Google will only increase the size of the APK to add small metadata and insert it into the APK Singing Block. There is no change in app functionality. The metadata offers distribution chances, which in turn keeps the apps updated.

Conclusion

Android apps are increasing in numbers and so it becomes imperative for the Google to provide the topmost security to its uses with unmatched performance. The update on security becomes further more important as its main competitor Apple has already won the competition on the security factor.

So, it is time for the Android app developers to gather information on the announcements and remain upgraded. The 2018 and the years to follow are all going to be very crucial from the app development’s point of view.

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.