Google Play Store is adding some new rules and guidelines for app developers, which includes making 64-bit support mandatory from 2019 onward. Google says the new guidelines are to ensure improved security and performance for all users. Overall the Play Store app guidelines will see three major changes in order to support Google’s goals.
According to Google’s blogpost for developers in the second half of 2018, the Play Store will require that “new apps and app updates target a recent Android API level.” New apps in August 2018 and updates to existing apps in November 2018 will need to be on this API level. Google says this in order to ensure they are optimised for security and performance. It adds the API behaviour changes will advance security and privacy on the Android platform as a whole, and help ensure that users are secure from malware.
From early 2018, Google will also add “a small amount of security metadata on top of each APK to further verify app authenticity,” reads the blogpost. Google calls it a ‘badge of authenticity’ and says it is being added to verify that Android app is not malicious. The metadata also signifies that it was distributed by the Google Play Store. Developers will not have to take any action for this to be implemented to their apps.
Coming to the 64-bit support, Google says Play Store will require that “new apps and app updates with native libraries provide 64-bit versions in addition to their 32-bit versions.” The blogpost adds that over 40 per cent of Android devices which coming online now have 64-bit support, while still maintaining 32-bit compatibility.
According to Google 64-bit code offers much better performance, and says in future Android devices will support the 64-bit code only. Google is making it compulsory for apps with 32-bit library to have 64-bit alternative. Remember, Apple’s iOS has already pulled the plug on 32-bit apps, and developers need to upgrade to 64-bit on that platform.