Things are about to get stricter for developers on the Android platform. Google is cracking the whip on its Android Developers Blog, where it announced upcoming policy changes. The changes will first affect new apps being published starting August 2018 and come November, all app will have to comply with the changes.
The new regulations will require app developers to comply with the Android Oreo standard of security and privacy. This albeit arriving late, will help Google clean the tainted image of Android as being an insecure platform where lack of user’s privacy and security is rife.
Additionally, starting 2018, apps on Play Store will have to include extra metadata in the app file (.apk file) that verifies the authenticity of the app. In August 2019, all app on Play Store must have the 64-bit version if they want to target any of the native libraries on Android.
The blog by Google in part reads:
In the second half of 2018, Play will require that new apps and app updates target a recent Android API level. This will be required for new apps in August 2018, and for updates to existing apps in November 2018. This is to ensure apps are built on the latest APIs optimized for security and performance.
In August 2019, Play will require that new apps and app updates with native libraries provide 64-bit versions in addition to their 32-bit versions.
Additionally, in early 2018, Play will start adding a small amount of security metadata on of each APK to further verify app authenticity. You do not need to take any action for this change.
Perhaps the days when security experts down vote Android in terms of security and respect for privacy are coming to an end. The fact that Google is pushing developers towards releasing 64-bit versions of apps, means OEMs producing devices running on 32-bit binaries will also be affected.