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Google is going to hide outdated apps from new users on the Play Store this year

If you haven't used an outdated app before and try to find it, your search will come up empty.
By
April 6, 2022
AetherSX2 on Play Store
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google will begin to hide outdated apps on the Play Store this year in the name of security.
  • You will still have access to the apps if you have used them previously.
  • New users, though, will be unable to find or install them from the Play Store.

There are a lot of apps on the Google Play Store. According to Statista, the official Android app store holds around 3.5 million applications. The chances are good that a large chunk of those apps are way out of date.

In most cases, an outdated app poses little to no harm to your phone or tablet. In some cases, though, it might, and Google wants to make things safer for Android users. That’s why, starting in November 2022, Google will hide outdated apps from new users.

See also: The best Android apps available right now

Now, if you rely on an old application, don’t worry: you will still be able to use it. In fact, you’ll still be able to see it on the Play Store and even re-install it should you wipe your phone or install it anew if you switch to a new device. However, if you’ve never used an app that Google considers to be outdated, it won’t appear on the Play Store if you go hunting for it.

Specifically, this will apply to Android apps that don’t target an Android API version within two years of the current one. In other words, apps that today target Android 10 or earlier will be blocked from new users. As new versions of Android launch, the two-year window will move forward accordingly.

Outdated apps: Why is Google making this change?

Google lays out its reasoning for this change quite succinctly:

Users with the latest devices or those who are fully caught up on Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer. Expanding our target level API requirements will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place.

Keeping up with this policy change falls squarely on the shoulders of app developers. Most devs update their apps frequently, so this won’t be a problem for the majority of apps and games on the Play Store. Even devs who have incredibly old apps still jump in annually to update them to target the latest version of Android.

Still, there’s no doubt that some severely outdated apps will get left behind with this transition. Thankfully, you’ll still have sideloading to get you through if there’s an old app you desperately need.