Google today announced three major changes to the Play Store that will require new apps and app updates targeting a recent Android API level, native apps 64-bit support and security metadata to APKs for verification purposes.
Google said that by 2018 second half, Play Store’s existing and new apps will target a recent Android API level just to ensure that the Play Store apps are on the latest APIs optimized for security and performance. This move is to provide and help developers secure their apps and prevent Android users from any Malware attack.
Starting 2018, all new and updated apps will require targeting an SDK that is no more than one year older than the current codename release. This change will go into effect for new apps in August 2018, and for updates to existing apps in November 2018.
Another change to the Play Console is the requirement of 64-bit support to apps which was introduced in Android 5.0. Google believes that 64-bit apps offer significantly better performance, so now developers are required to bring out 64-bit support for their app for which they can use either bundle 64-bit code alongside the 32-bit code in the same APK, or can also have as one of the multiple APKs published. This change will come into effect in August 2019.
Google also announced that starting from 2018, it will now include a small amount of security metadata into APKs which will serve as a verification and to know that it was officially distributed by Google Play. Developers don’t have to do anything and Google will auto adjust Play’s maximum APK size to take into account the small metadata addition and does not alter the functionality of your app.