Google has announced several new measures which will be undertaken in the coming years in order to tighten up the security of its Google Play ecosystem and the apps which are available through it, as well as improving the performance of the platform. The company has made the plans available now so that developers can prepare for the coming changes.
Edward Cunningham, Product Manager of Android, outlined three key changes that will come down the pipeline in 2018 and 2019. Firstly, he says in the second half of 2018, Play will require new apps and app updates to target a recent Android API level. New apps will have to meet this requirement in August 2018 and existing apps will have to do this from November 2018. This measure is to ensure that apps are using the latest APIs to provide the best security and performance for users.
The second measure will mean developers have to provide a 64-bit version of their apps in addition to their 32-bit versions. This requirement will start in August 2019. This measure, while providing better performance, is mainly to make sure that the ecosystem is ready for a future where Android devices only support 64-bit code. Any apps that include a 32-bit library will need a 64-bit alternative, but apps which do not include native code are unaffected by the change.
The final change which was outlined, which is due to come about first, in early 2018, pertains to security metadata attached to each APK. Developers do not need to do anything to include this security enhancement. The additional security metadata which will be added by Play will provide further app verification to determine authenticity.
Slowly but surely, Google is finding ways to make its ecosystem more secure and performant to match the likes of Apple with its tightly controlled iOS environment.
Source: Android Developers Blog