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Android P: Apps built for Android 4.1 or lower may be blocked

Android P may not support apps built for older versions of Android owing to performance and security issues.

  • Published: March 19, 2018 1:52 PM IST
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Google recently rolled out the first developer preview of the Android P and now some of the features of the upcoming OS are being unearthed. One of the features to gain attention this week is the possible elimination of support for older apps with the upgrade to the new OS.

It was in December that Google announced it will take a cue from Apple and require the Play Store apps to stick to an API level requirement of no more than one year older than current codename release. It appears with Android P, the change will take effect fully.

According to a report on Android Police, the first Android P Developer Preview shows a warning when old apps are opened. Now, whether Google will be blocking the older apps entirely in the final Android P release or it will only show the warning for now until app makers make the update is something that remains to be seen.

However, as the developer documentation for Android P states, the apps targeting lower API values will fail to install and run. This could mean that app makers will have to submit apps which have to target for Android 8.0 Oreo or above.

As the report says, with Android P, there is a new MIN_SUPPORTED_TARGET_SDK_INT class, which states the minimum supported API level that can be used on the device. For Android P, the minimum API level is v17, which corresponds to Android 4.2. This basically means the apps built for the older Android version will be blocked from running on a device running the newer Android OS.

Each Android version has a different set of rules for how apps are allowed to operate on a given device. However, some apps get around the limitations by targeting an older version of Android which did not have those requirements. While this allows them the liberty to target users on older platforms, it impacts the performance and security of a given device as there are lesser restrictions.

Google is expected to officially announce the Android P at its upcoming Google I/O 2018 which will kick start on May 8, 2018, and run until May 10, 2018. In addition to a focus on building a fluid experience for users, Google’s next Android version is also expected to bring support for the ‘notch’ design on future smartphones, enhanced AI support for camera and assistants, among other things.

  • Published Date: March 19, 2018 1:52 PM IST