Why Discord is dropping support for Android 4

Starting Tuesday, November 19th, all new updates to the Discord Android app will require users to run at least Android 5 (API 21).

Users with devices on Android 4 will still be able to use the existing Discord Android app but simply won’t receive any new updates (except for critical security patches, and some important upcoming features).

Why are we doing this?

While we don’t make this decision lightly, the goal of this change is to speed up the development of the Android app. This should make it both faster and easier to bring new features and bug fixes to the app.

By increasing our minimum version of the Android app, we unlock new features and APIs that the app is able to take advantage of. The time we would spend writing code to handle split functionality if the OS version is below Android 5.0, can now be more valuably invested into moving the Android app forward.

These code blocks, BE GONE!

if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT < Build.VERSION_CODES.LOLLIPOP) {
// Do some special thing for Android 4
} else {
// Do un-special, normal thing for everyone else
}

If you are interested in what bumping your minimum SDK up unlocks, you can read a great post by Kaushik Gopal on Github:

kaushikgopal/why_bump_android_minsdk

As you can see, there is widespread consensus that Android 5 (API 21) should be the standard minimum going forward:

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Why now?

Our primary concern and the reason we delayed this decision for so long was the number of existing users we may be cutting off from updates. For the past year, we have been closely looking at what percentage of our users are running each OS version.

In November 2018, Android 4 users composed roughly 4% of our Android active devices. By March 2019, that number slid to 3%. Unsurprisingly, it kept sliding as our userbase purchased new phones or upgraded their phone’s OS. By July 2019 it was 2%, and as of this month, November 2019, it's down to 1.5%. Not only is this due to our rapidly growing userbase with newer phones, but the actual number of Discord users on Android 4 is on a steep decline.

Breakdown of Discord Android apps’ user base that runs Android 4
The percentage of our user base on Android 4 is on a steady decline

Moving forward not back

It’s not a happy moment for us to tell some users they need a new device to keep using the latest Discord Android app, but we believe what this unlocks will enable us to make a higher quality app in less time. We hope you understand our decision to stop supporting Android 4.0. We gave this decision considerable thought and time before making the switch. However, in the end, we think this will improve Discord for our users in the long run.

If you find this interesting or would like to help us make the Android app even better, please check our job opening for an Android Engineer:

Discord – Senior Software Engineer – Android

Don’t know Android but still want to help out? Believe it or not, we hire other roles too:

Discord – Discord Jobs and Company Information


Why Discord is dropping support for Android 4 was originally published in Discord Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Discord

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