Google has shared timing for a change for Google Play developers announced last summer during Google I/O: starting in August, Google will require that new Play apps will have to be published using the Android App Bundle format. Your phone will still download apps as APKs, but the app bundles will create APKs that are optimized for your device.
On a Google page about Android App Bundle, the company touts many potential improvements with the new format, such as smaller app downloads for users. But the format has a catch: Android App Bundles are a format that only Google Play uses, which could complicate app redistribution.
The App Bundles requirement only applies to new apps
The timing of Google’s announcement also comes just days after Microsoft announced Windows 11, which has the ability to let you sideload Android apps as APKs. Google’s switch to App Bundles may mean that there will be fewer apps available to run on Microsoft’s new operating system, though you’ll also be able to get Android apps on Windows 11 from the Amazon Appstore.
The requirement to use Android App Bundles only applies to new apps, according to Google. “Existing apps are currently exempt, as are private apps being published to managed Google Play users,” the company says. And if you’re a developer planning on releasing a new app, you only have a short time to make sure you’re using the new format.
Update July 1st, 6:38PM ET: Clarified how long this change has been in the works and specified more detail about the Android App Bundle format.