January 6, 2023
Posted by: DevDigital
Like most things in the digital world, privacy and security standards for mobile apps evolve. It should not be too surprising to learn that Google is making some major changes to its standards for Android apps. If you have an Android app in the Google Play Store you should update it to use the latest API (application programming interface) as soon as possible. Google says they are doing this to make sure app users going forward have access to the latest security features. Your app may also need updating to stay compliant with European data protection standards. Keep reading to learn what this means for Android app owners.
Google wants everything in the Google Play Store to offer the latest in privacy and security, so they are requiring all app owners to upgrade their products. Here is the key information that Google shared:
“Starting November 1, 2022, apps that don't target an API level within 2 years of the latest Android release won't be available to new users with devices running Android versions newer than your app’s target API level. This means that new users will not be able to discover or install your app on Google Play if your app is targeting API 29 and below. You can request a one-time extension for each app if you need more time. Go to your Play Console Inbox Messages to find the link to each of your app’s extension forms.”
The basic message about making those upgrades is clear. The rules and timeline for compliance with this new API standard vary depending on whether the app is new, existing, or updated (meaning you are uploading a new version of an app that is already available in the Play Store. The details of what level you need to be at and when depend on a few factors. Existing Android 11 apps need to use API level 30 while updated apps on Android 12 need to be at API level 31. You can read more about the requirements and compliance deadlines on Google’s support site.
App owners might want to take a couple of development steps as soon as possible. Updating the API to the correct level would be the more important step. The second action to consider is this: Add a “delete” function to keep your app compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards.
GDPR gives app users power over the personal information they share online. This means that any app owner must give users the ability to permanently remove their personal information. Compliance requires giving the user the power to fully and completely delete their information. Letting users delete certain information, like purchase history, is not enough to remain compliant with GDPR requirements. GDPR compliance is mandatory for apps to be available in most of Europe so now might be a good time to ensure yours meets their data privacy and other requirements.
Android app owners who want to make sure their products remain available through the Play Store need to update their apps every couple of years. Keeping your mobile app available via the Play Store is critically important so the time and effort of complying with Google’s new API standard is a worthwhile investment. DevDigital has tens of thousands of hours of experience with Android app development. Get in touch with us to set up a brief discovery call if you have an app in the Play Store and want to be sure it remains compliant with Google’s new API requirements.