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Google Play will Hide and Block Downloads for Outdated Apps

Google is getting ready to purge old apps from its Play Store. If developers don’t keep up with the latest Android OS versions, the company warned them that starting November 1, 2022, their apps will be hidden and blocked from being installed on customers’ devices. According to Google, apps that do not target an Android API within two years of the most recent major Android release version will no longer be discoverable or installable by new users whose devices run Android OS versions higher than the apps’ target API level.

Users who are updating their Android phones or who have recently purchased new Android phones will no longer be able to find or download outdated, out-of-date apps. This should not be a substantial change for any active Android developers, as Google already mandates new apps and app upgrades to target an Android API level within one year of the most recent major Android OS version release. Any app upgrades that do not match this condition will likewise be rejected from Google Play.

This move will affect abandoned apps or apps where the developer is still servicing users but has fallen behind on Android API upgrades. Because the apps aren’t completely deleted from Google Play, this isn’t the same as Apple’s massive App Store purges in the past, which saw Apple remove tens of thousands of obsolete and abandoned apps.

The search engine giant states that existing users of the older apps affected by the new policy will be able to find, re-install, and use them on any Android OS version that the app supports. This may be more consumer-friendly than Apple’s decision to remove apps from the app store. Google’s purpose, though, was similar to Apple’s in that outdated apps not only provide a bad user experience, but also pose a security concern.

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