Deploy Android apps to managed users on Chromebooks

If you are a Chrome Education Upgrade customer, this feature is only available in beta.

As an administrator, you can decide which Android apps your users can install and use on their Chrome devices. To get started, turn on managed Google Play and Android apps for users in your organization.

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Enable Android apps and managed Google Play

Step 1: Ensure that managed Google Play is enabled
  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 Apps.
  3. Click Additional Google services.
  4. Confirm that the Service Status for Managed Google Play is set to On for your intended users.
Step 2: Enable Android apps
  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers.
  6. On the far right, click Settings Settings.
  7. For Android applications on Chrome Devices, select Allow.
  8. (Optional) Enable Android Reporting for users and devices.
    The report only shows information for managed users using managed Chrome devices that support managed Google Play.
  9. Click Save.
Step 3: (Optional) Use additional controls
  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click User & browser settings.
  4. Scroll to Android applications.
  5. (Optional) To stop users from adding a second Google Account, for Account management check the Google account box.
  6. (Optional) To synchronize Google Chrome OS CA certificates available to Android apps, for Certificate synchronization select Enable usage of Chrome OS CA certificates in Android apps.
  7. Click Save.

Settings typically take effect in minutes. But they might take up to an hour to apply for everyone.

Install Android apps on Chrome devices

Step 1: Select apps
  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers or Kiosks.
  6. Click Add Addand then Add from Google Play Add from Google Play.
  7. Search for and click the app you’d like to manage.
  8. Click Select.
  9. To accept the app permissions on behalf of your organization, click Accept.
Step 2: Decide how apps are installed

As an admin you have 2 ways to install apps for your users on Chrome devices. You can automatically install apps (Force install), or you can allow the user to manually install apps from the Play Store (Allow install). You can also pin force-installed apps to the user’s taskbar and you can block users from installing apps.

Configure app installation settings

  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers.
  6. Find and click the app that you want to configure.
  7. Under Installation policy, choose Allow install, Force installForce install + pin, or Block.
  8. Click Save.

Note: While a force-installed app is downloading, the user sees a STOP button. If they press it, the download is stopped. Another attempt at installation is made at the next sign in and install attempts continue until the app is successfully installed or the app is no longer part of the list of apps that are force-installed.

Allow the installation of any app

This feature is not available for education domains.

If you give your users full access to the managed Google Play store, they can search for and install any app on their Chrome devices, even apps you haven’t selected.

  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers.
  6. For Allow users to install other apps & extensions, choose an option:
    • Allow all other apps and extensions—Users can install all apps and extensions from the Google Play store and Chrome Web Store except the ones that you block.
    • Allow other apps from the Google Play Store only—Users can install all apps from the Google Play Store except the ones that you block.
  7. Click Save.

(Optional) Add private apps

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

To deploy private Android apps to Chrome devices, first publish the apps to the managed Google Play store. For details, see Manage Google Play private apps.

  1. Sign in as an admin to managed Google Play.
  2. On the left, click Admin Settings and note your Organization ID.
  3. Go to the Google Play Console.
  4. Select your private app.
  5. Click Store Presence and then Pricing & distribution.
  6. Check the Privately target this app to a list of organizations box.
  7. Click Choose Organizations and add your Organization ID (noted in step 2).
  8. Click Submit Update.

It might take up to 24 hours to see the app in the My managed apps list. The managed Google Play help center contains detailed information on how to manage apps and app licenses for use in your organization.

Step 3: (Optional) Apply managed configurations to an Android app

For some apps and extensions, you can install custom policies. For example, a digital signage kiosk app might have a schedule of events that’s contained in a JavaScript® Object Notation (JSON) file.

  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers or Kiosks.
  6. Find and click the app that you want to configure policies for.
  7. On the right, under Policy for extensions, enter the JSON data in the text field.
  8. Click Save.

Sample policy configuration files

The following sample configuration shows how to define a very restrictive deny list that stops the app from accessing any URL. It also includes an allow list of specific URLs that the app can access:

{ "com.android.browser:URLBlacklist": "[\"*\"]"
"com.android.browser:URLWhitelist": "[\"www.solamora.com\", \"www.altostrat.com\”]" }

The following sample configuration shows how to specify all supported setting types (boolean, string, array, and object array):

{
"can_say_hello": true,
"message": "Hello, it's me",
"approvals": [ "read", "write" ],
"items": [{ "key": "key1", "value": "1"}, { "key": "key2", "value": "2"}]
}

Verify Android apps are available on users’ devices

Step 1: Check Chrome OS version
Before your users can get Android apps on their Chrome devices, they might need to update their Chromebook software. Make sure that the Chromebook is updated to at least Chrome OS version 53 for Chrome Enterprise Upgrade customers or version 56 for Chrome Education Upgrade customers. See Update your Chromebook's operating system.
Step 2: Open Google Play
After you enable Android apps for users in your organization, users see Play Store Play Store in the shelf at the bottom or side of the screen on their Chrome device.
  1. On a Chromebook, click Play Store Play Storeto open Google Play.
  2. Click Agree to accept the Terms of Service.
Step 3: Get Android apps
Users can install selected apps on their devices from Play StorePlay Store.
  1. On a Chromebook, click Play Store Play Storeto open Google Play.
  2. Click Menu Menu and then Store Home.
  3. Browse or search for the app that you want to install and click it.
  4. Click Install.
  5. If prompted, review the requested access permissions and click Accept.

To see a list of the Android apps installed on the device, from the Menu Menu, click My work apps or My school apps.

Remove Android apps from Chrome devices

Remove apps
You can remove Android apps that you no longer want on user devices. The next time users sign in to their Chrome device, the app and its associated user data are removed. And, although users can still see the app in the library in Google Play, they can't install it. 

Before you begin

If you give any users access to all apps in Google Play, you can’t modify the Allow installation setting (remove any Android apps) for those users.

Remove an app and its associated user data

  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions
  4. On the left, select the organizational unit where you want to view apps.
    For all users, select the top-level organization. Otherwise, select a child organization. Initially, an organizational unit inherits the settings of its parent.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers.
  6. Find and click the app that you want to remove.
  7. Under Installation policy, choose Block.
  8. Click Save.

Remove an app from the Admin Console

Users that already have the app installed will still be able to use it.

  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 Devicesand thenChrome management.

    If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Apps & extensions
  4. On the left, select the top-level organizational unit.
  5. At the top, click Users & Browsers or Kiosks.
  6. Find and click the app that you want to remove.
  7. In the panel on the right, click Remove Remove
  8. Click Save

(Optional) Run an Android app as a kiosk on a Chrome device

For information about how to push Android apps to a Chrome device in locked-down kiosk mode, see Use Android apps on Chrome devices running as a kiosk.

FAQs

Which Chrome devices support Android apps?
For a list of Chromebooks that support Android apps, read Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps.
  • For Chrome Enterprise Upgrade, Android apps are supported on Chrome OS version 53 and later.
  • For Chrome Education Upgrade, Android apps are supported on Chrome OS version 56 and later.
Note: As an administrator, you need to enable Android apps for your domain before your users can install Android apps on their devices. 
Can users install any Android app they want?
As an administrator, you can:
  1. Create and manage a list of Google Play apps to use in your organization. Learn more
  2. Choose how you want to install apps, depending on which organizational unit users belong to. Learn more

Chrome Enterprise admins can also let users search for and install any Android app from the Google Play store.

After completing all of the setup steps, why doesn’t the Google Play store appear on users’ Chromebooks?
Check the list of supported devices to confirm that the Chromebook supports Android apps. Also, make sure that the Chromebook is updated to at least Chrome OS version 53 for Chrome Enterprise Upgrade customers or version 56 for Chrome Education Upgrade customers. For details, read Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps.

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