Attention Android Developers: Take a look at the new Google guidelines

Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS both have close competition in the mobile phone market. The competition becomes more intense as each one releases new updates at a regular interval. Android has a massive number of users but it still holds the second place whenever it is compared with iOS.

Still, Google is trying to plug the loopholes to make Android have a fair win in the competition.  Google has announced new app development guidelines for Android and the changes will give more security which will benefit both users and developers.

 Target Recent API level:

When it comes to security API plays a vital role and with consideration to that Google has incorporated few changes in the API which will increase the security and privacy protections of Android. The changes will provide malware protection. Some of the changes are as follows.

  • Implicit intents that are required for bindService() in Android 5.0 is no longer supported.
  • In case of Android 6.0, Changes in Runtime permission
  • For secure connections, the user added CAs are not trusted by default, in case of Android 7.0
  • Android 8.0 will require Explicit user approval by the apps to access the user account.

With runtime permission, Android 6.0 or high will have full control over what data or information apps can access due to targetSdkVersion 23 of API level. Similarly, the recent release stops the apps from using device resources such as memory and battery. From August 2018 Google Play console will ask apps to target recent level of API and the new apps will have to target API level 26 which is Android 8.0 or high.

From 2019 there will be an advancement in targetSdkVersion. With each release of Android version, the new apps and the updates will require to target corresponding API release that too within the span a year.

The developers will get enough freedom to build apps for older Android versions keeping in mind about backward compatibility and the apps which do not receive any updates will not be affected as the future versions of the Android will put restrictions on the apps that are not targeting recent API level.

The requirement of 64-bit support

Android 5.0 came with 64-bit architecture and now nearly 40% of Android devices have 64-bit support and they are compatible with 32-bit. Still, 64-bit code will provide better performance for the apps using native libraries.  To think of a future growth of Android devices, Google play will require apps to have 64-bit version along with the 32-bit version. This change would be included either in single APK or in one of the several APKs being published. However, Google Play will support apps and devices having 32-bit version and the apps without native code are unaffected.

Android OS Current Market Share

By August 2019 you will see the changes as this will provide developers ample of time and also for those who don’t yet support 64-bit and they can plan the transition accordingly.

Metadata for Security

Now each APK will have a small metadata so it can verify its distribution officially by Google Play. Same like we have a label or a badge on a product which indicates its authenticity APK will have an additional security of metadata for all Android app. It is automatic additional thus it does not require any action by the developers or users.  The metadata will be added in the APK Signing Block taking into account the maximum APK size of Google Play and this won’t disturb the functionality of the app.

This new security metadata addition in the APK will open more distribution opportunities for the developers and also it will help you keep your app updated.

Bottom Line

Security and performance are the two main factors for any app thus there is an increase in the number of Android apps Google has to enhance its Android app development. With each year mobile app development will become more and more crucial and Google needs better security in terms of giving tough competition to its competitor Apple.

To be the part of Google Play, new apps, and existing app updates will have to target a recent Android API level. The new apps will have to implement these guidelines from August 2018 and the existing app updates from November 2018. The main motive for this modification is to make sure that the apps are built on the latest APIs, which have been optimized for more security and better performance.