Manage Google Play private apps

This feature requires advanced mobile management.

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.

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. Apps are usually ready for users in 10 minutes.

Step 1: Open the Private apps page
  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 Device management.

    To see Device management, you might have to click More controls at the bottom.

  3. On the left, click App management and then Manage apps for Android devices.
  4. Click Manage Whitelisted Apps.
  5. At the bottom, click Add Add.
  6. On the left, click Private apps private apps.
Step 2: Publish a private app

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. Follow the steps above to open the Private apps page.
  2. At the bottom, click Create Create.
  3. Enter a title.
  4. Click Upload APK.
  5. Select an APK and click Open.
  6. Click Create.
  7. Whitelist the app for your users (steps below).
Step 3: Whitelist a private app
  1. Follow the steps above to open the Private apps page.
  2. Select the private app you want to whitelist.
  3. Click Select and choose your whitelisting preferences. For more details, see Add an app.
Edit the title or APK of a private app
  1. Follow the steps above to open the Private apps page.
  2. Select the private app you want to edit.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. Update the title or click edit to upload a new APK.
  5. Click Save.
Edit advanced private app details

To add a description, screenshots, and other advanced app details, you need to use the Play Console. To access the Play Console from the Private apps page:

  1. Follow the steps above to open the Private apps page.
  2. Select the private app you want to edit.
  3. Click Make advanced edits.
  4. Using a Google Account, sign in to the Play Console. You can use this account in the future to sign into the Play Console.
  5. On the Store listing page, make any edits and click Submit Update.
Unpublish a private app

If you unpublish an app, existing users can still use your app. Your app won’t be available for new users to find and download in managed Google Play. To unpublish an app:

  1. Follow the steps above to open the Private apps page.
  2. Select the private app you want to unpublish.
  3. Click Make advanced edits.
  4. Using a Google Account, sign in to the Play Console. You can use this account in the future to sign into the Play Console.
  5. Select Store presence  Pricing & distribution.
  6. In the App Availability section, select Unpublish.

Publish private apps from the Play Console

Step 1: Register for a Play Console account

Before you can publish private apps from the Play Console, you need to register for a Play Console accountand pay a one-time 25 USD registration fee. 

As domain administrator, once you register with the Play Console you can grant console access to other users, or authorize a 3rd party developer to publish private apps to your domain. To ensure your domain retains access to published apps in case an employee leaves the organization, we recommend that administrators create dedicated role accounts.

Learn how to publish private apps from the Play Console.

Step 2: Enable private apps
  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. Turn on the Google Play Console for users in your organization who you want to publish private apps.
  4. Click Nav icon and click Device management.
  5. Click Advanced Settingsand thenOther Google Services.
  6. To allow users to publish private apps, check Allow users to publish and update Google Play Private apps.
    Note: You can also configure an administrator role to upload private apps.

Tip: Apply these settings to an organizational unit to give a specific group of users access to private apps.

If your organization uses managed Play without an EMM (formerly called Google Play Private Channel) to grant access to private apps, then you must check Allow users to access Google Play Private apps in Advanced Settings and then Other Google Services to allow users to access and download private apps.

Download private apps

Once an administrator whitelists a private app, users can download it using the Google Play Store app on their devices. To access private apps, they need to go to the managed Play Store on their Android device.

Manage Play Console admins

You can manage the users who have access to your organization’s Play Console account. For example, if an IT admin leaves your organization, you should remove them as a Play Console admin. For details, see Add developer account users & manage permissions.

FAQ

Will this feature allow me to publish internal apps to my users' BlackBerry devices, iPhones, and Windows Phones?

No, only Android apps on Android devices are supported.

Can I publish an app to both the public Google Play store and as a private app?

This functionality is not supported. However, the Work Apps tab contains both private apps and any managed apps for your organization. This allows your users to easily find all work related apps in one place.

Can I publish an existing app as a private app?

No. Google Play does not allow duplicate applications in the store. However, you can give your users access to any public app by whitelisting it and making it available via the managed Google Play Store. Your users can then access all their work related apps (both public and private) from the managed Play Store.

If I publish an app to the public store, can I change it to to a private app later?

Yes. If you publish a public app to the Google Play store you can later change its settings to make it a private app. You need to check the Restrict Distribution in the Pricing & Distribution section in the Play Console.

If I publish a private app, can I publish it to the public store later?

Private apps published through the Google Admin console can never be made public. If you publish a private app through Play Console, you can later change its settings to make it a public app. You need to check the Restrict Distribution in the Pricing & Distribution section in the Play Console.

Can users get a waiver for the $25 publisher registration fee?

If you publish private apps directly from the Google Admin Console, you’re exempt from the registration fee. If you publish private apps from the Google Play Console, you need to pay the $25 registration fee.

I already have a Play Console account. Can I manage my existing private apps in Google Admin Console?

No. It’s not possible to transfer existing private apps.

Can I delegate a 3rd party developer to publish private apps?

Yes. If you use 3rd party developers (such as an agency or software development house) to create custom private apps for your organization, you can send them your Organization ID so that they can publish apps to your organization. For details, see Allow 3rd party developer publishing.

Can publishers charge for private apps?

No. Private apps do not support billing features.

Can I publish an app to a specific group of users?

No. But 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.

When will the private app show up in Google Play on my users’ devices?

A new app can take a few hours to appear in the managed Play Store on a users' device.

Why can't I see private apps on the Google Play Store app on my Android device?

Make sure that you select the right tab in the Play Store.  Private apps are listed in the managed Play Store, which also contains any managed apps if your organization uses an EMM provider. Also, remember that a new app can take a few hours to appear in the store. 

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