Manage private Android apps in Google Play

Make internal work apps available to users

Supported editions for this feature: Business Plus; Enterprise; Education and Enterprise for Education; G Suite Basic and Business; Cloud Identity Premium.  Compare your edition

You can use the managed Google Play store to host Android apps specifically for your organization. You can control who can download an app. You can also benefit from security checks, such as user authentication and malware detection. You publish private apps to the Play store from the Google Admin console or the Google Play Console.

After you add a private app to the apps list, users can download it from the managed Play Store on their Android device. It can take a few hours for the app to be available to users.

Before you begin

Managing private apps in Admin console versus Google Play Console

You might want to use Google Play Console if any of the following are true:

  • You might want to make the app public someday. If you publish a private app through Play Console, you can later change its settings to make it a public app. Private apps published through the Google Admin console can never be made public.
  • You have existing private apps in Play Console. You can't manage existing private apps in the Admin console.

You might want to use Admin console if any of the following are true:

  • You don't plan on making your private apps public.
  • You don't want to pay a one-time 25 USD registration fee.
  • You want to your apps list to include all managed apps—public mobile apps, SAML apps, and private apps.
  • You want to make the app available to only select organizational units and groups.

Important information about app publishing

  • Apps can't be published as a private app and in the public Google Play store at the same time. However, you can add public apps to your app list to make them available to your users as managed apps. This setup allows your users to easily find all work related apps in one place.
  • If you publish an app to the public Google Play store, you can change it to a private app but you won't be able to manage it in your Admin console.
  • Private apps don't support billing features. Publishers can't charge for private apps.
  • In Play Console, you can't publish the app for a specific group of users. You can publish an app targeting a specific country or specific device models. If you want to beta test your app with specific groups, or Play Store users, you can set up alpha/beta testing.

Publish private apps from the Admin console

To upload and publish private apps in the Admin console, you only need an Android application package (APK) and a title. When you publish a private app for the first time, a Play Console account is created on behalf of your organization. Private apps are automatically approved for your organization and are typically ready for distribution within 10 minutes. You can upload up to 15 private apps per day.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenWeb and mobile apps.

  3. Click Add appand thenAdd private Android app.
  4. At the bottom, click Create "".
  5. Enter a title.
  6. Click Upload APK.
  7. Select an APK and click Open.
  8. Click Select.
  9. Configure user access and app settings. For details, see Add a third-party app.

Edit the title or APK of a private app
  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenWeb and mobile apps.

  3. Click Add appand thenAdd private Android app.
  4. Select the private app you want to edit.
  5. Click Edit.
  6. Update the title or click edit to upload a new APK.
  7. Click Save.
Edit advanced private app details

To add a description, screenshots, and other advanced app details:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenWeb and mobile apps.

  3. Click Add appand thenAdd private Android app.
  4. Select the private app you want to edit.
  5. Click Make advanced edits.
  6. Using a Google Account, sign in to the Play Console. You can use this account in the future to sign into the Play Console.
  7. On the Store listing page, make any edits and click Submit Update.
Unpublish a private app

If you unpublish a private app, the app isn't available for new users to find and download in managed Google Play. However, existing users can still use your app.

To unpublish an app:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenWeb and mobile apps.

  3. Click Add appand thenAdd private Android app.
  4. Select the private app you want to unpublish.
  5. Click Make advanced edits.
  6. Using a Google Account, sign in to the Play Console. You can use this account in the future to sign into the Play Console.
  7. Select Store presence  Pricing & distribution.
  8. In the App Availability section, select Unpublish.

Publish private apps from the Play Console

  1. If you haven't already, register for a Play Console account and pay a one-time 25 USD registration fee. To avoid the registration fee, publish private apps from the Admin console.
  2. If you aren't the one who will publish the private app, allow other users or third-party developers to publish private apps:
    1. Allow other users to publish private apps for your organization. To ensure your organization retains access to published apps when an employee leaves the organization, we recommend that administrators create dedicated role accounts. You can also configure an administrator role to upload private apps.
    2. Allow third party developer publishing.
  3. Publish private apps from the Play Console.
  4. If your organization doesn't use an EMM, allow users to access private apps.

Allow other users to publish private apps

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. Click Apps and then Additional Google services
  3. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  4. Turn on the Google Play Console for users in the selected organizational unit.
  5. Click Nav icon and click Devices.
  6. Click Settingsand thenAdvanced Settingsand thenOther Google Services.
  7. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  8. To allow users in the selected organizational unit to publish private apps, check Allow users to publish and update Google Play Private apps.
  9. Click Save. If you configured a child organizational unit, you might be able to Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit's settings.

No EMM: Allow users to access private apps

If your organization uses managed Play without an EMM (formerly called Google Play Private Channel) to grant access to private apps, you must explicitly allow users to access and download private apps.

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devices.
  3. Click Settingsand thenAdvanced Settingsand thenOther Google Services.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  5. Check Allow users to access Google Play Private apps.
  6. Click Save. If you configured a child organizational unit, you might be able to Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit's settings.
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