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Improving app security and performance on Google Play for years to come

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Posted by Edward Cunningham, Product Manager, Android

Google Play generates billions of installations and application updates each year. we
focus relentlessly on safety and performance to make sure everyone has a
experience of discovering and installing apps and games that they like. Today we are
give Android developers a heads-up on three changes designed to support
these goals, as well as to explain the reasons for each change, and how they
will help make Android devices even safer and more efficient in the long run
term.

In the second half of 2018, Play will require new applications and application updates
target a recent Android API level. This will be necessary for new applications
August 2018 and for updates of existing applications
November 2018 . This is to ensure that applications are built by the latest
Optimized APIs for security and performance.
In August 2019 Play will require new applications and applications
updates with native libraries provide 64-bit versions in addition to their
32-bit versions.
In addition, in early 2018, Play will begin to add a small amount of
Security metadata above each APK file to further verify the authenticity of the application. You do
no need to take action for this change.

We deeply appreciate our developer ecosystem, so let’s hope this long lead
The notice is useful for planning the versions of your applications. We will continue to provide
reminders and share developer resources as key dates of approach to help you
to prepare.

Target API level required from the end of 2018

The behavior changes of the API advance the security and privacy protections of Android –
help developers secure their applications and protect people against malware. Right here
are some changes from these latest versions of the platform:

Implicit intentions of bindService () are no longer supported ( Android
5.0 )
Execution Permissions ( Android
6.0 )
User-added CAs are not approved by default for secure connections ( Android
7.0 )
Applications can not access user accounts without the explicit approval of the user ( android
8.0 )

Most of these changes only apply to applications that explicitly declare their support
for new API behaviors, via targetSdkVersion
manifest attribute. For example, only applications with a TargetSdkVersion value of 23
(the level of API of Android 6.0) or higher gives the user total control over
private data – such as contacts or location – the application can access via runtime
Permissions Similarly, recent versions include improvements in the user experience
that prevent applications from accidentally using resources such as battery and memory;
background
the limits of execution is a good example of this type of improvement.

In order to provide users with the best Android experience possible, Google
Play Console requires that applications target a recent API level:

August 2018: New applications required to target the API level 26
(Android 8.0) or higher.
November 2018: Updates of existing applications required to target
API level 26 or higher.
2019 and following: Every year the targetSdkVersion requirement
progresses. In the year following the release of each Android dessert, new applications
and the application updates will have to target the corresponding API level or
superior.

Existing applications that do not receive updates are not affected. The developers remain
free to use a minSdkVersion
of their choice, so there is no change to your ability to build apps for the older ones
Android versions. We encourage developers to provide backward compatibility
far as reasonably possible. Future Android versions will also limit applications
do not target a recent API level and affect performance or security. we
want to proactively reduce fragmentation in the ecosystem of the application and ensure that applications
are secure and efficient while offering developers a long window and
a lot of notice in order to plan in advance.

This year, we released Android Oreo, the most secure and powerful version
of Android still, and we presented the project
Treble to help the latest versions reach the devices faster. To start
building applications that target Android 8.1 Oreo
aujourd & # 39; hui.

64-bit support requirement in 2019

Platform support for 64-bit architectures has been introduced in Android 5.0. Today & # 39; hui,
over 40% of Android devices online have 64-bit support, while
maintain 32-bit compatibility. For applications that use native, 64-bit libraries
In general, code offers significantly better performance, with
registers and new instructions.

In anticipation of future Android devices that support 64-bit code only, the
Play Console requires new applications and application updates to be able to run
devices without 32-bit support. Applications that include a 32-bit library will need to
have a 64-bit alternative – either in the same APK file, or in one of multiple
APKs published. Applications that do not include native code are not affected.

This change will take effect in August 2019. We provide advance notice
today to allow enough time for developers who do not support 64-bit yet
plan the transition. Stay tuned for a next post in which we will take a
a thorough review of the performance benefits of 64-bit native libraries on Android,
and see the processors and
Architectures NDK guide for more information.

Security metadata in early 2018

Next year, we’ll start adding a small amount of security metadata over each
APK to verify that it has been officially distributed by Google Play. Often when you
buy a physical product you will find an official tag or a badge which means
the authenticity of the product. The metadata we add to APKs look like a game
authenticity badge for your Android application.

No action is required by developers or users. We will adjust the maximum size of the Play APK file
take into account the addition of small metadata, which is inserted in the APK Signing Block
and does not change the functionality of your application. In addition to improving the
the integrity of the ecosystem of mobile applications of Play, these metadata
distribution opportunities for developers in the future and help more people
Keep their apps up to date.

Looking to the future

2017 was a fantastic year for developers who have experienced growth and success
on Google Play. We worked hard on the features (including those advertised
at I / O
2017 and Playtime )
to help you improve the quality of your application and the performance of your business. With those
features and upcoming updates, we hope to see the Android and Play ecosystem
continue to prosper in 2018 and beyond.

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