Android P, the next version of Google's mobile operating system, will seemingly block apps built for Android 4.1 and lower. Earlier this month, Google rolled out the Android P Developer Preview, and it looks like it will start blocking applications that are too old. As per latest reports, app developers will now be required to target a minimum API level of 17, which is the same as Android 4.2. This essentially means that the applications below the API level will cease from functioning when Android P is rolled out.
An Android Police report via Reddit spotted a new MIN_SUPPORTED_TARGET_SDK_INT class that finds out the minimum API level that is supported by Android P. As mentioned, the report said that the minimum API level for Android P defined by the new class is 17. The Reddit post, detailing an API teardown for Android P, also says that apps that target a lower value will fail to install and run on Android P.
Notably, in the Android P Developer Preview 1, Google is warning users when it spots an old app, and returning the message, "This app was built for an older version of Android and may not work properly. Try checking for updates, or contact the developer."
Back in December, Google had said in a blog post that new apps submitted to Google will have to target Android versions no more than a year old. So starting with Android P, minimum supported apps will be above Android 4.2, and new app submissions will have to target Android 8.0 Oreo or above.
It is unclear, whether Google will block the old apps entirely in the final Android P release or if it will only pop up a warning initially, remains to be seen. The move possibly comes as Google is looking to improve the security features with Android P, which the firm is also doing by blocking idle apps from accessing your smartphones' camera and mic. Some old apps, despite being functional, may contain security vulnerabilities. Another reason could be that applications built for Android 4.1 and earlier may not be as optimised for modern smartphones.
It's time to bid goodbye to archaic apps on the Google Play Store that have not seen an update since Android Jelly Bean. Or you will have to stick to your old smartphones or Android versions in order to use such apps. Google seems to be following in the footsteps of Apple, which in 2017 ended support of 32-bit apps in iOS 11.
To recap, Android P has added a ton of new features to the world's most popular mobile operating system, including notch and multi-camera support, upgraded performance and security, enhancements to Android Runtime, and more.