Chrome App management overview

Chrome web app pack
This article is for Chrome for Work and Education administrators.

Chrome application settings in the Admin console allow administrators to control which Chrome applications and extensions users can access, configure Chrome Apps, and deploy them as kiosks.

Views for managing Chrome Apps

Chrome management lets you manage Chrome Apps through 2 different views:

  • User settings–A view of Chrome Apps at the organizational unit (org unit) level, which gives you a broad view of app policies and settings.
  • App management–A view of Chrome Apps on an individual basis, which lets you focus on policies and settings for a specific app.

These views offer different approaches to managing Chrome Apps, but all of the app polices that you can set in User settings (such as block, allow, force install, and recommend apps in the Chrome Web Store to your users) are available in App management.

Additionally, App management lets you view a list of all your configured apps, configure settings for customizing them, and deploy them as kiosk apps.

What are the main differences between the views?

Configure a Chrome App

App management gives you more control over your apps by letting you set a policy for a Chrome App using a config file that you upload. When a Chrome App supports a config file, it allows you to install customized policies and settings supported by the app.

For example, a digital signage kiosk app would have a schedule of events that’s contained in a config file. A config file for a call center kiosk app would contain the VoIP server IP address and port number.

App management - kiosk settings

Refer to the documentation for the Chrome App to determine if the app supports a config file and if so, what customizations it lets you configure.

Deploy a Chrome App as a Kiosk App

App management lets you deploy a Chrome App as a Kiosk App and configure the app as a Single App Kiosk (the app launches automatically when the device boots).

View a list of your Chrome Apps

Selecting App management shows you a list all of the apps configured across all org units in your domain. The list gives you details about each app, such as whether it’s blocked, installed, recommended in the Chrome Web Store, or is a kiosk app.

Chrome app management - app list

In User settings, the list of apps shown depends on the setting you are configuring, such as force-installed, whitelisted (allowed), blacklisted (blocked), pinned, or recommended apps. Basic information about app settings is shown, such as whether the app is inherited or local to that org unit, options to add or remove the app, and a link to the app in the Chrome Web Store.

Chrome app list in user settings

Search for a Chrome App

When you search for an app in User settings, you search the Chrome Web Store. The results list depends on whether you are looking at  force-installed, allowed, blocked, pinned, or recommended apps.

When you search for an app in App management, the default is to search the Chrome Web Store and all of your configured apps. Search results show all apps that match your search criteria, not just those that are force-installed, allowed, blocked, pinned, or recommended. For apps in the results list that have policies set by you, there is information about the settings, such as if it’s blocked or allowed for some users.

Select the right view for the task

Here are some recommendations of which app management view you would use for some common administrative activities.

Force install multiple apps:

  • Select the org unit in User settings.
  • Select Manage pre-installed apps.
  • In the dialog box that appears, select the apps you want to pre-install.
    You can do this in App management as well, but you do it one app at a time. You would use App management when you need to configure additional policies and settings for an app.

Block or allow all apps for everyone:

  • Select the org unit in User settings.
  • Select Block/Allow all apps and extensions except the ones I choose.

Block or allow all apps for everyone except for those I apps I choose:

  • Select the org unit in User settings.
  • Select Block/Allow all apps and extensions except the ones I choose.
  • In App management, select the apps to block or allow.
    You can do this in User settings as well, but the app list in App management includes all apps you have configured. The app list in User settings shows either all blocked apps or all allowed apps.

Block or allow one app for everyone:

  • Select the app in App management.
  • Block or allow its installation in the top-level org unit. Changing the setting in the top-level org unit affects everyone unless the setting is already overridden in a child org unit.

Block or allow one app for a set of users:

  • Select the app in App management.
  • Block or install it in the child org unit that contains only the targeted users.

Set a policy for an app using a config file:

  • Select the app in App management and upload a config file.
How are settings inherited?

Before March 2015, you couldn’t add apps to a child org unit and still inherit existing apps and their policies from a parent. In March, 2015 the inheritance model was updated. Each app in a child org unit can now have inherited or overridden settings from a parent org unit.

For example, if you add 3 apps to the top-level org unit, those apps and their policies are inherited to all child org units. If you then add an app to a child org unit, it is local to that child but the child can still inherit apps added later to the top-level org unit.

When you add a fourth app to the top-level org unit, the app and its policies are inherited to the child–provided that the app is not already in the child and you have not overridden the top-level settings for it.