After announcing massive changes to its Play Store policies last December to make Android apps faster and more secure, Google is possibly looking to block even legitimate apps from running on Android P devices if the developers target older APIs to get around security and other restrictions.
That’s because a recent APK teardown of Android P Developer Preview has revealed that the newly-introduced MIN_SUPPORTED_TARGET_SDK_INT class restricts anything below API level 17 to be installed on Android P devices.
API level 17 corresponds to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which means all Android Apps that target Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and below, may well be barred from running on Android P smartphones and tablets. Apps targeting lower API levels are currently allowed to run on Android P Dev Preview, albeit, with a pop-up warning, as seen in the video below. It isn’t immediately clear whether the final Android P release will stick with the warning or stop such apps from running entirely in an attempt to bolster security.
The official documentation, meanwhile, clearly states that “Applications targeting lower values will fail to install and run”, so it will be interesting to see how all that plays out going forward.
Google last December announced that all apps on the Play Store will have to target recent API levels that are no more than one year old. If implemented strictly, it will mean that to be compatible with Android P devices, developers will have to target API level 26 (Android 8.0 Oreo) or higher. The restrictions will apparently come into effect from August 2018. Existing apps, however, will get a small respite, seeing as they will only need to push updates based on the newer APIs from November 2018.