We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but there’s a good chance that your app is on end-of-life care right now and just a few short days away from shuffling off into the app afterlife.
Worst of all, it’s not going to be a pretty sight as it happens.
Let us explain what’s going on so you can hit your app with the virtual defibrillator and breathe new life back into it.
The Google announcement that changes everything
Google has just announced that new apps and app updates must target API level 33 to be submitted to Google Play.
But more importantly, if your existing app currently targets API level 31 or below (and many do), then as of August 31st, 2023, your app will no longer be available on the Google Play Store for the majority of Android users.
So, what does that mean in English?
Basically, if your Android app hasn't been updated in a while, there's a good chance it'll be removed from the Play Store on August 31st.
But don’t head for your nuclear bunker just yet - carry on reading, and we’ll tell you what you need to do to fix this.
API Levels explained
Android releases new versions of its operating system roughly every 12 months. It’s always got a new cute name, and the upgrade always begins with the next letter in the alphabet. So, 2021’s iteration was called Snow Cone, while 2022’s was named Tiramisu, and we’re currently on Upside Down Cake (who gets paid to come up with these names, seriously?)
Alongside the cute name, they also get assigned a new SDK/API level (Software Development Kit/ Application Programming Interface). Snow Cone’s is 32, Tiramisu’s is 33, and Upside Down Cake's is 34.
API Level 33 and API Level 31 explained
What this news from Google means is that existing apps that target API level 31 or below will still be available in the Google Play Store, but they’ll only be available on devices running the same or a lower Android OS version than your apps' target API level.
If you’re developing an app now, it has to aim for API Level 33, or it’ll instantly drift into obscurity. If your app is being developed to run on Android 11 or below, then it won't be allowed on the Google Play store.
To put that into some sort of perspective, 86.6% of apps on the Google Play Store are currently targeting Level 28.
Which Android apps will this affect?
Better sit down for this one...
All of them.
What does this mean for apps built on Xamarin?
This could have a massive impact on apps developed on Xamarin that are targeting API level 30 or below. Why? 13,000 Xamarin-powered apps have been downloaded over 2 billion times on the Google Play Store. That’s a sizeable chunk of the revenue of 37,000 companies all over the world.
And what does it mean for the app users?
For users with newer devices, this means that they may not be able to use existing apps built on Xamarin or any other platform that is currently targeting API level 31 or below. If they want to use them, they’ll need to update them so they now target API level 33, but they may encounter security and functionality issues.
So, what can you do to stop this from happening?
If you want to keep your app alive, you’ve got a few options:
Speak to the experts
If, for whatever reason, you can’t do any of the above (you’ve fallen out with your app developer, they’re holding you hostage by restricting your access to retain your business, you can’t remember your password details to access the back end, etc.), then just speak to us.
We’ve got years of experience working with Xamarin and loads of other cross-platform development programmes. We can make your app lightning-fast, ultra-secure, and futureproof it against any lags, glitches, or whatever the next ridiculously-named Android update is.
Let Foresight Mobile bring your app back from the brink.