Deprecations

This page lists all the managed Google Play features which are currently in a deprecation period. This includes features and methods under the Google Play EMM API and features in the managed Google Play store.

Reason for deprecating the features

The reasons for deprecating a legacy feature or method may include:

  • Improve product quality: Some legacy features are complex and error prone, and it’s not rare for developers to make mistakes when integrating with these features, which then results in bugs visible to customers and end-users. By migrating to modern replacements, an EMM improves the quality of its EMM product.
  • Reduce product maintenance: It can take a lot of effort for both EMMs and Google to maintain some legacy features, typically because of bug investigation or extensive regression testing before each new release. Migrating to modern replacements or deprecating features with low usage allows both EMMs and Google to spend more time building the new features that users need.
  • Enable future developments: Some legacy features are incompatible with new features that Google would like to release. Deprecations unlock these new features and add value for users.

How deprecation works

The deprecation period for a feature or method begins on the announcement date. The feature or method will continue to be available throughout the deprecation period (typically 12 months). However, once the deprecation period has elapsed, the feature or method is expected to be decommissioned and will no longer be available.

For most deprecations, Google recommends an alternative approach to provide the same functionality, often with no visible change for customers and end-users. When available, the alternative approach is described in the deprecation announcement in the list below.

Instead of migrating to the proposed alternatives within the GooglePlay EMM API, you can also migrate to the modern Android Management API, which is simpler to integrate and maintain.

If you have questions or feedback, you can contact Google via the Android Enterprise EMM Provider community.

Active deprecations

This section lists all features and methods which are currently in a deprecation period.

App approval (September 1, 2022)

The app approval in managed Google Play is deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022. This includes:

Instead of using app approval to control available apps, you can set the Devices policy for each device. If you want to allow IT admins to preselect a list of apps for the whole enterprise, you can store that list in your EMM server, and you don’t need to pass it to Google via the Play EMM API.

If you use the EMM notification AppUpdateEvent, you can instead use the high-priority update mode (documentation coming soon) to automatically update an app on a device when the developer releases a new app version.

Currently, IT admins need to approve an app before being able to add it in a collection in the managed Google Play iframe. The managed Google Play iframe will soon support adding an app to a collection without first approving it. This change will be rolled out before September 1, 2022. It will not require any action from EMMs (the exact timeline of this change will be communicated at a future date).

Lost capabilities

There is no replacement for the EMM notifications AppRestrictionsSchemaChangeEvent and ProductAvailabilityChangeEvent. If you expose a feature in your EMM console based on these notifications, you will need to deprecate this feature.

Entitlements and available product set (September 1, 2022)

The following methods of the Google Play EMM API are deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022:

To control the available apps that users can install from the managed Google Play store, you can set a Devices policy. You can define the managed Google Play Store behavior by setting the field policy.productAvailabilityPolicy, and select available apps by adding them to policy.productPolicy. See how to distribute apps.

Installs API (September 1, 2022)

The following methods of the Google Play EMM API are deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022:

To install apps on devices, you can instead set policy.productPolicy.autoInstallPolicy in the Devices policy.

To force-update an app, you can instead use the high-priority update mode (documentation coming soon).

If the app cannot be installed on the device, the method installs.update currently returns the reason for the failure (productNotAvailableInCountry, productNotCompatibleWithDevice, etc.). However, the reason for the failure is not currently exposed for apps installed via the policy. To address this gap, the managed Google Play Store will soon return the app feedback to your DPC with the reason for the failure to install the app via the policy. This change will be rolled out on or before March 1, 2022.

Product methods: getAppRestrictionsSchema and getPermissions (September 1, 2022)

The following methods of the Google Play EMM API are deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022:

To get the permissions of an app, you can instead call the method products.get.

The method products.get will also soon return the app restriction schema of the app with the same format as returned currently by products.getAppRestrictionsSchema. This change will be rolled out on or before March 1, 2022.

Managed configurations methods (September 1, 2022)

The following methods of the Google Play EMM API are deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022:

To set managed configurations for an app and for a device, you can set policy.productPolicy.managedConfiguration in the Devices policy.

Custom store layout (September 1, 2022)

The following methods of the Google Play EMM API are deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022:

By default, the managed Google Play Store homepage shows all apps listed in the Devices policy.

If IT admins want to customize the homepage layout, they can organize apps into collections in the managed Google Play iframe.

Lost capabilities

It will no longer be possible to create or edit store collections programmatically via an API. Therefore, if you have built a custom user interface for managing store collections, you will need to deprecate this interface in favor of the managed Google Play iframe.

Service account key service (September 1, 2022)

The following methods of the Google Play EMM API are deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will be turned off on September 1, 2022:

If you’re using programmatically created ESAs, we recommend that you switch to using a service account configured via Cloud IAM to call the Play EMM API. From Cloud IAM, you can create and delete keys for service account keys.

You can choose to continue using programmatically created ESAs for now, but you will no longer be able to rotate the ESA keys.

Closed track field (September 1, 2022)

The field policy.productPolicy[].tracks[] in the request of the method devices.update is deprecated as of September 1, 2021, and will stop working on September 1, 2022.

You can retrieve the list of tracks available to an enterprise for a specific app using products.get. You can then distribute a track to a device by setting policy.productPolicy[].trackIds[] in the Devices policy. See how to distribute closed tracks to users.