This article explains how to manually submit your Android app to the Google Play Store for the first time, using the .APK file obtained via the 'Create new APK' button on the Publish page in AppMachine.
Please note that this documentation shows screenshots of the classic developer console. If your screens do not match the ones in this article, then please click the 'Use classic Play Console' button on the main page of the console to navigate to the classic console.
Publishing an Android app in the Google Play Store consists of the following steps:
- Creating a new application record.
- Entering the app's store listing details.
- Uploading the app's APK file.
- Setting the app's IARC content rating.
- Describe the app's content.
- Enter pricing and availability settings.
- Publishing the app to the Google Play Store.
We'll go through all these steps one by one, explaining what to do and where to do it, resulting in a published Android app in the Google Play Store. Please note that after publishing the app in the Google Play Store, Google will first have to review an accept the app before it will become available for download.
Creating a new application record.
- Login on https://play.google.com/apps/publish/?hl=en with your Google Play developer account.
- Click the 'Create new application' button to create a new app record.
- Enter the app's default language and title. The default language is the language in which you'll be providing the app's description in the Google Play Store.
- Click the 'Create' button to finish the process. You will automatically be directed to the Store listing page.
Entering the app's store listing details.
After creating the app, you'll be directed to the Store listing page. Before we continue with entering the store listing details of the app, please have a look at the left-side menu of the developer console. This menu shows a series of checkmarks. When all the checkmarks are green, your app is ready to be published to the Google Play Store.
On the store listing page, you'll have to (at least) provide the following information for your app:
- Short description.
- Full description.
- App icon.
- Two or more screenshots.
- Feature graphic.
- Application type.
- Contact email address.
It is not a problem if the values you enter on this page are different from what you've entered on the publish page in AppMachine. The values you enter directly into the Google Play developer console are leading, but will be overwritten by the AppMachine values if you perform a store update from within our system.
When you've entered all the required fields you can use the Save Draft button to save your changes. If all required fields are entered you'll notice that the checkmark on the Store listing section has turned green.
Uploading the app's APK file.
To upload the app's APK file, navigate to the App releases page of the Google Play developer console. On this page, click the Manage button within the Production track section of the page.
* If a release has already been created you will see an Edit release button on the Production track page displayed in the screenshot below. If that is the case, click the Edit release button. On the next page, scroll to the bottom and use the Discard button to remove the release. After removing the existing release, you will be re-directed to the 'Create Release' page displayed below.
After clicking the Manage button, or after discarding an existing release, click the Create Release button to create a new release for your app.
On the next page, upload your app's APK file via the provided tools.
Note: The release name will be automatically determined based on the internal version number of the app, please don't change this.
If you wish you can add release notes for this version at the bottom of the screen. This will allow you to tell your users what's been added to the app in this latest release.
Once you've completed the upload and provided all the required information, use the Save and Review button to continue to the next page.
On the next page, you'll notice two things:
- A warning from Google regarding the app that was just uploaded. This warning concerns the fact that the app contains unused code and resources. This warning is caused by the fact that you're using an app building platform. This means that the app contains more functionality than what you're using in your app.
- The 'Start Rollout to Production' button is disabled. This is correct. Before we can rollout (publish) this application, we have to provide the rest of the required information.
You will also notice that the checkmark next to the App releases section has turned green, meaning we can continue to the next step.
Setting the app's IARC content rating.
To set the app's IARC content rating, navigate to the Content rating page of the Google Play developer console. On this page, click the Continue button to start a new content rating questionnaire.
* If a questionnaire is already in progress, use the Resume button to continue.
Enter and confirm the email address you would like IARC to use for rating related communications. After doing so, click on the category that best describes your app.
On the following page, answer all yes or no questions as best you can. Once completed, use the Save Questionnaire button to save your changes, and afterwards use the Calculate Rating button to determine the IARC rating for your app.
Review the rating and use the Apply Rating button to complete the process.
If the content of your app ever changes drastically, then you can use the Start New Questionnaire button on the Content rating page to reset your app's IARC rating.
You'll notice that since an IARC rating has been applied to your app, the checkmark for this section has turned green. This means we can continue to the next step.
Describe the app's content.
To describe the app's content, navigate to the App content page of the Google Play developer console. On this page, you'll notice a total of four sections which have to be completed.
- App access.
- Target audience and content.
Use the Start button to enter each of the app content requirements.
If your app is (partially) locked by means of a lock block and/or user login, then you'll have to provide Google with a username and password for full app access. You will be able to enter this data in the App access section.
Complete all app content requirements and confirm that they're in a 'Submitted' state within the 'Completed' section as displayed in the screenshot below. The short description displayed after the 'Submitted' state differs based on the information you've provided. (e.g. the app below does not contain ads)
You will notice that the checkmark did not automatically turn green. This seems to be a bug within the developer console. If you refresh the page, or navigate to another page, the checkmark will turn green if all content requirements are in a Submitted state.
Entering pricing and availability settings.
To enter the app's pricing and availability details, navigate to the Pricing & distribution page of the Google Play developer console.
Start off by determining whether the app should be Free or Paid.
To publish a paid app to the Google Play Store, please follow the steps in this article after you've entered the pricing and availability settings: How to sell your app in the Google Play Store
Note: If you publish the app as a Free app, it may never be changed to Paid again. To change a free app to paid, the app will have to be re-submitted to the Google Play Store as a new app and all your app users will have to re-download the app from the Google Play Store.
Next, select specific countries you want your app to be available in, or click the Available button in the top of the table to select all countries.
Last but not least, confirm that your application meets the Android Content Guidelines and acknowledge that your application may be subject to United States export laws.
Save your changes by using the Save draft button. After saving the changes you'll notice that the checkmark for the Pricing & distribution section has turned green.
Publishing the app to the Google Play Store.
Now that all checkmarks are green, we're ready to publish the app to the Google Play Store. Open the App releases page from the left-side menu and click the Edit release button in the Production Track section.
Since we've already provided all the required information during the 'Uploading the app's APK file' step, we can scroll down the page and click the Review button to review the release.
Use the 'Start rollout to production' button to publish your app to the Google Play Store. Note that the app will first have to be reviewed and accepted by Google before it will be available to download. This review process may take several days.
If the 'Start rollout to production' button is disabled, then please check the left-side menu for incomplete (non-green checkmarked) sections. Completing these sections will allow you to publish the app to the Google Play Store.
Your app should now be displayed with a 'Pending publication' status in your developer console app overview. Google will review the app and, if accepted, the app will become available to download from the Google Play Store. In case the app is rejected -or suspended as Google calls it- you will receive an email notification from Google on the owner email address of your Google Play developer account explaining why the app was suspended and what needs to be changed.
The time it takes Google to review is generally anywhere between 2-7 days, depending on the amount of apps that have been submitted to Google.
Congratulations, you've successfully submitted your Android app to the Google Play Store!