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Manage Google Play private apps

More information about using and publishing private apps is available in the managed Google Play help center.

Google Play private apps are a feature of the Google Play Store which lets you distribute Android apps internally to users in your G Suite domain.

Using the Google Play Store to host internal apps lets you control which users or user groups can download apps. It also provides additional features such as user authentication, virus and malware detection, and device targeting.

There are three requirements for setting up private apps:

  1. Enroll with an EMM, such as Google Mobile Management and set up your Android device advanced management policies.
  2. Enroll with managed Google Play. This is done automatically for you, if you use Google Mobile Management and enable EMM binding with Android.
  3. Register with the Google Play Developer Console, which you use to publish private Android applications.

As domain administrator, once you register with the Developer Console you can grant Console access to other users, or authorize a 3rd party developer to publish private apps to your domain.

Enable private apps

G Suite administrators can enable private apps using their G Suite, Education, or Government Admin console.

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Click Apps > Additional Google services, click filter to open the filter pane, and deselect the Show top featured services checkbox. Where is it?
  3. Turn on the Google Play Developer Console for users in your organization who you want to publish private apps.
  4. Click Nav icon and choose Device management.
  5. Click Advanced Settings > Other Google Services.
  6. To allow users to publish private apps, check Allow users to update Google Play Private Channel. Note: You can also configure an administrator role to upload private apps.
    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 Channel in Advanced Settings > Other Google Services to allow users to access and download private apps.

 

Publish private apps

To get publishing access, a domain administrator must register for a Google Play Developer Console account at https://play.google.com/apps/publish. We recommend that administrators create dedicated role accounts for publishing private apps, so the domain can retain access to published apps in case an employee leaves the organization. Learn how to publish private apps.

Download private apps

Once the G Suite 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.

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 support.

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 it’s settings to make it a private app. You need to check the Restrict Distribution in the Pricing & Distribution section in the Google Play Developer Console.

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

No. All publishers have the same set of basic rights, features, and responsibilities, whether they're publishing public or private apps.

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

Yes. After registering with the Google Play Developer Console, you can grant a 3rd party developer access to the Developer Console by sending them an invitation from within the Console. When creating the invitation, assign the permission Create apps restricted to domain. The 3rd party developer can then log into the Developer Console and publish private apps to your domain.

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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