Google Will Require Android Apps To Support Android Pie In 2019
Google’s operating system Android has been really popular because of the millions of apps available on the platform. What also helps its case is the level of customisation Android devices offer. This includes the ability to sideload apps from third party sources. But, some of these sources have been known to spread spyware through bypassing the app permissions as they support older Android’s Application Programming Interface(API). Google in a bid to counter the problem, has announced that all the new apps submitted to the Play Store in the year 2019 will have to support the latest API level 28, that is Android 9 Pie.
What Does This Mean?
According to Google, over 150,000 applications have added support for runtime permissions in 2018. Shockingly, the feature was introduced back in 2016 with Android Marshmallow, which had the API level 23. This meant that these apps were capable of bypassing permissions altogether, creating a security risk. Google tackled this by mandating all new apps to support API level 26, which was in Android 8.0 Oreo. Updates to the existing apps also had to support the same API.
Google is updating these restrictions up a notch by mandating the app developers to update these apps to the latest API. Google Play Protect which was launched in 2017 is a security suite integrated into the Play Store. This service will be used to warn users of the apps not supporting the latest API. Here are the new timelines for the developers:
- August 2019: New apps will be required to target API level 28 (Android 9 Pie).
- November 2019: Updates to existing apps on the Play Store will be required to target API level 28(Android 9 Pie).
- By 2020: The target API level will increase annually.
Android will also use the Google Play Protect to warn the users if the app they are about to sideload targets to an API level older than Android Oreo (API level 26). It has also gotten the major Chinese application markets to comply with the new API levels on their app stores. These are from companies like Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, Alibaba, and Baidu.
Google has said that 95% of the spyware target API level 22 (Android 5 Lollipop) or older, which creates a host of security issues. Notably, the Android platform gets monthly security patches, but some devices take a long time to be updated because of their respective OEMs. This leaves these devices vulnerable to new security threats. Therefore, this move is expected to make Android more secure.