Google decided to modify the existing requirements for app developers. Some of the new app security and performance changes include a compulsory 64 bit app version by August 2019, additional security metadata to each APK and more.
The new Google Play Store requirements
All new apps and updates for existing apps will have to target recent API level and the security metadata will be added on APKs in order to authenticate the app.
Starting on August 2018 all new apps and updates need to target API level 26, meaning Android Oreo or higher. Every year the API levels will continue to advance and developers will have to keep up with them.
64-bit support for apps
Google also announced that developers need to follow the 64-bit per app regulation. This was introduced for the first time in Android 5.0. Now, app developers must submit a 64-bit library with their APKs. By August 2019 the 64-bit per app will become the norm. Only apps which include native code are unaffected.
According to Google, 40 % of apps rolling on Android devices have 64 bit support and they are still maintaining 32-bit compatibility as well.
Apple already ended 32-bit libraries
Google will catch up Apple with the newest regulation. Apple ended in June 2017 support for 32-bit libraries.
Introducing security metadata on top of each APK and verify it was officially distributed by Google play is another measure that will have to be respected by app developers. However, the app’s functionality will not be modified. The only requirement is to insert the app into the APK Signing Block.
In August this year, Google discovered over 300 app which had the ability of taking control of Android devices to perform DDoS attacks. It seems that Google wants to improve the Google Play Store experience and add more security for Android users.