Google requires new app on the Play Store must target API level 28 (Android 9) starting from August 2019

Android sharing menu

According to the Android Developer Blog, Google will put more demands on Android apps in 2019, for example, the API version must reach Android 9 at the minimum. Requiring developers to improve the API level is primarily to improve the security of the Android ecosystem, using a more modern API version to help improve security and privacy performance. Since November 2018, all newer versions of the app on the Google App Store have been updated to API 26 (corresponding to Android 8.0) or higher.

Android sharing menu

Google’s 2019 plan is as follows:

  • August 2019: New apps are required to target API level 28 (Android 9) or higher.
  • November 2019: Updates to existing apps are required to target API level 28 or higher.

Google also specifically mentions Chinese users who are unable to use Google Store for special reasons. These users mainly rely on the Chinese app store to download. Google said that China’s Android app stores such as Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent will also upgrade the API level to version 26. Subsequent Google will continue to work with Chinese companies to improve the security of the Android ecosystem, as most malware is targeted at low API levels.

Google said that more than 95% of malware detected from outside the app store is for API 22 or below to bypass access control. In order to prevent users from being attacked by malware and supporting Android eco-security, Google will also make the following measures to promote version updates in 2019:

  • August 2019: New apps will receive warnings during installation if they do not target API level 26 or higher.
  • November 2019: New versions of existing apps will receive warnings during installation if they do not target API level 26 or higher.
  • 2020 onwards: The target API level requirement will advance annually.