Google already requires apps to be up to date and use the latest Android features for safety, but this only applies to apps submitted and uploaded to the Play Store. At this time, all newly listed apps must target Android 12 or higher to meet that requirement.
However, developers can easily circumvent this rule by placing their apps in third-party stores. A planned change will move API restrictions to the local level, blocking direct installation from the current device’s OS.
The move makes it much more difficult to install older apps on new Android phones, with security being cited as the main reason for the change. Many malware apps target older versions of Android with weaker security rules and restrictions.
Initially, this change will only affect apps targeting very old versions of Android, but our goal is to quickly move the threshold to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and continue to raise the bar after that.