Make your app backward compatible

In this article we will know the importance of compatibility and how you can achieve.

What is backward compatibility?

In context of apps backward compatibility means if you have implemented a new feature in your app which is working in current Android O.S. version but it should also work in older Android O.S versions.

Why your Android app need to be backward compatible ?

Have your tested your app’s backward compatibility ? If not do it sooner because it is an important aspect of growth of your App business as because last two to three Android versions enabled devices percentage is far below than the entire ecosystem. And it will follow the same trend in future too, so prepare your app to support older Android O.S. versions too to increase your reach to users.

Is your Android app backward compatible ?

To test your app’s backward compatibility you can use following methods –

  • Use emulators pointing to different Android O.S versions you want to support.
  • Use Cloud testing labs to test your app in real devices remotely situated by Samsung, Google or any other companies.
  • Use different handsets or tablets physically available to you to test.

How you can make your Android app backward compatible ?

  • Use classes from v4 support library for Toolbar, Fragments etc.
  • Use classes from v7 support library for AppCompatActivity, RecyclerViews, CardViews etc.
  • Use classes from Design support library for material design which works in older versions than Lollypop.
  • Check for Android version and keep separate code or classes for different api levels like different code base needed for Camera after Camera2 apis due to unavailability of apis in support libraries.


There are several amazing classes provided by Google for backward compatibility. Explanation of those need another post so till then make you app backward compatible.

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Happy coding

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