Android users who run devices with Android 4.4 KitKat will no longer receive Google Play updates from August 2023 onward. The decision to end support for the ancient version of Android comes almost 10 years after its initial release.
Google notes on the Android Developer Blog that less than 1% of all Android devices run Android KitKat. Most manufacturers have long stopped supporting devices running Android KitKat. Some may still support upgrades to newer versions of the Android operating system, but most won’t.
Google writes: “The Android KitKat (KK) platform was first released ~10 years ago and since then, we’ve introduced many innovative improvements and features for Android, which are unavailable on KK. As of July 2023, the active device count on KK is below 1% as more and more users update to the latest Android versions. Therefore, we are no longer supporting KK in future releases of Google Play services. KK devices will not receive versions of the Play Services APK beyond 23.30.99.”
Many apps and games do not support Android 4.4 anymore, but there is a selection of apps, or older versions of apps, that users of this system may still use on a day to day basis.
Google’s decision to end support for Google Play Services for Android 4.4 limits services further on these devices. The service is used by Google to push updates to user devices and it is also powering Google services, including sign-in functionality.
App developers who still support Android 4.4 may soon stop supporting the version, especially if they distribute their apps and games only via Google Play and not using third-party marketplaces such as F-Droid.
Android KitKat devices won’t receive Play Services APK versions beyond 23.30.99 according to Google.
Users of the devices that run KitKat may run into issues when using their devices. Issues may range from being unable to use Google Play to download or update applications over failures to sign-in to services and even issues opening apps on their devices.
As Günter Born puts it, ending support is the death blow for these devices. While some features, such as making phone calls or sending SMS text messages may still work, most services won’t anymore. End of support does not necessarily mean that devices become bricks from one day to the next though.
KitKat device owners may check for Android OS updates for their devices to extend the lifespan of the devices even further. Another option may be the switching to custom ROMs, but these are not available for all devices.
Updates to Android 5 Lollypop may still be available for some devices.
Now You: which versions of Android are powering your mobiles?
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