Use Android apps on Chrome devices

If you are a Chrome Education customer, this feature is only available as a beta version.

As an administrator, you can force-install or decide which Android apps users can install on their managed Chrome devices. Users can’t automatically install Android apps. 

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Before you begin

(Optional) Monitor forced app installs

You will be able to monitor the success and failures of the installations to users and devices on your network by using the reporting tool found in the Admin console. 

Setup information can be found on the Monitor forced Android app installs page and will provide details such as installation status, filter details and error messages.

Note: The report only shows information for managed users using managed Chrome devices that support managed Google Play.

(Optional) Publish 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 Play store. For details, see Manage Google Play private apps.

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. On the left, select the organizational unit where you want to configure settings.
    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 or Kiosks.
  6. Click AddAddand thenAdd from Google PlayAdd 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.

The managed Google Play help center contains detailed information on how to manage apps and app licenses for use in your organization.

Step 2: (Optional) Add private apps to your managed 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 for the app to be displayed in the My managed apps list.

Step 3: Decide how apps are installed

You can specify the type of installation available for each of your selected apps. You can create a subset of apps that users can choose to install, and also create a different subset of apps that the system automatically installs for every user in the organizational unit. You can also allow users to install any app from the managed Google Play store.

Allow the installation of selected apps

You can create a list of apps that your users can voluntarily choose to install. The apps must have been already selected in managed Google Play.

  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 configure settings.
    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 you want to let users install.
  7. Under Installation policy, choose Allow install.
  8. Click Save.

Apps configured to allow installation appear in the Store home section of the managed Google Play store on users’ devices.

Allow the installation of any app

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

Note: This feature is not available for any account on an educational domain.

  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 configure settings.
    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. For Allow users to install other apps & extensions, choose one of the following:
    • 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 you block.
    • Allow other apps from the Google Play Store only—Users can install all apps from the Google Play Store except the ones you block.
  7. Click Save.

Force the installation of selected apps

From the list of apps you selected in managed Google Play, you can choose a subset that the system automatically installs for every user in the organizational unit. When the user logs into the device, the system automatically starts to download these apps.

Note: This policy is independent of any other Android phone or tablet policy you have in place with a third-party EMM. That means that you can have one set of apps configured to force-install on your Android phones and tablets using a third party EMM, and a different set of apps configured to force-install on Chromebooks using the Admin Console.

  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 configure settings.
    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 you want to automatically install.
  7. Under Installation policy, choose Force install or Force install + pin.
  8. Click Save.

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

Step 4: Enable Android apps for users in an organization

Before you let Google Play store be installed on Chrome devices, make sure you’ve selected and configured apps for users. Otherwise, they might not see the Google Play application or they will find an empty Google Play store on their devices.

  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 configure settings.
    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. For Allow users to install other apps & extensions, choose one of the following:
    • 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 you block.
    • Allow other apps from the Google Play Store only—Users can install all apps from the Google Play Store except the ones you block.
  7. On the far right, click Additional settingsSettings.
  8. For Android applications on Chrome Devices, select Allow.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Go to Device managementand then Chrome managementand then User & browser settings.
  11. Scroll to Android applications.
  12. (Optional) To stop users adding a second Google Account, for Account management, check the Google account box.
  13. (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.
  14. Click Save.

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

Step 5: (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 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. 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 or Kiosks.
  6. Find and click the app you want to configure policies for.
  7. In the panel on the right, under Policy for extensions,  enter the JavaScript® Object Notation (JSON) data in the text field.
  8. Click Save.

Sample policy configuration files

The following sample configuration shows how to define a very restrictive blacklist that stops the app from accessing any URL. It also includes a whitelist 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  customers or version 56 for Chrome Education customers.
Step 2: Open Google Play
After you enable Android apps for users in your organization, users see Google Play Google Play in the shelf at the bottom or side of the screen on their Chrome device.
  1. On a Chromebook, open Google Play 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 Google Play Google Play.
  1. On a Chromebook, open Google Play Google Play.
  2. Click Menu Menu > Store Home.
  3. Browse or search for the app you want to install.
  4. Click the app you want to install.
  5. Click Install.
  6. (Optional) 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 you want to remove.
  7. Under Installation policy, choose Block.
  8. Click Save.

Remove an app from the Admin Console

  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 you want to remove.
  7. In the panel on the right, click Remove app from current org unitRemove.
  8. Click Save.

Note: Users that already have the app installed will continue to be able to use it. 

(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?
Currently, these Chromebooks support Android apps.
  • For Chrome Enterprise, Android apps are supported on Chrome OS version 53 and later.
  • For Chrome Education, 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 create and manage a list of Google Play apps to use in your organization. You can then choose how you want to install apps, depending on which organizational unit users belong to. 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 customers or version 56 for Chrome Education customers.

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