Android sucks at keeping its users updated. Through checkpoints at the component, device manufacturer and carrier levels, the efficacy of spreading out software updates has been limited. With security vulnerabilities building up for every day an OS update is out, it’s no wonder why the closed-off iOS takes the cake here, being the total antithesis of Android.
Google has already laid out roadwork to solving this problem: currently with Android Pie, anyone opening up an app will be notified if it was developed with a target API for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, level 17, or older. Our partners at XDA-Developer have found an updated AOSP commit which may be destined to be pushed to Android Q that ups the notification threshold to Android 5.0 Lollipop, level 23.
As the code is committed right now, users will not be prevented from using the app, but the prompt will appear each time the app is opened until it is either deleted or updated — minimum API level support can still be set well below 23. Furthermore, the target threshold could be tinkered with between now and launch time.
XDA editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman acknowledges that such a prohibition would trigger complaints from a small, but vocal group. But any vulnerabilities an older version of Android would still be sususceptible to long-standing bugs and that susceptibility would be sustained.
From August 1, the Google Play Store limited new app submissions targeting API Level 26 or Android 8.0 Oreo or later. Updates to existing apps must also target level 26 from November 1.