Google Play Work Apps Come To Pre-Marshmallow Devices

Google and its Play suite have left a number of legacy devices in the dust, but those running Android version 5.0 (Lollipop) and below will now find that they're able to access the Work section of the Play Store configured in G Suite, just like their Android Marshmallow and Nougat toting coworkers. Previously, those on older devices would have to obtain their organization's private apps a different way, but with this update, legacy devices on a G Suite account can access their organization's apps through the Play Store without issue. While the Play Store itself is not supported on devices stuck on the ancient Android 2.2 (Froyo), such as T-Mobile's Sidekick 4G, anybody running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher should now be able to access the Work section of the Play Store.

The reason behind the lack of function for older devices before the update was that they lacked support for Android's built-in Profiles feature, which newer devices use to set a work profile that can be used to access their company's G Suite holdings. This update does not bring support for Profiles to these older devices, of course; it simply allows them to view the private Work section of the Play Store set up by their company within the G Suite's Google Mobile Management console. These legacy devices can access the Work section of the Play Store at any time, but devices running Marshmallow or higher still have to be logged into their work profile to access the section.

The update is hitting on the server side, so no action will be needed from G Suite administrators. The rollout is expected to be fully finished and visible to all employees with legacy devices within the next 3 days or so. Admins should take caution, however; since this update allows these legacy devices access without the verification that comes with a work profile, personal use of the device could end up seeing the user encounter malicious content, which could in turn become a security risk because of the device's newfound access to the Work section of the Play Store. This has always been a risk with G Suite or any other Android solution centered around the workplace, of course, especially with legacy devices, but this is one more possible point of ingress that IT departments and G Suite administrators will have to be careful of.

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