Update your apps

In the second half of 2021, new apps will be required to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play. New apps larger than 150MB will have to use either dynamic feature delivery or dynamic asset delivery.

Read this post on the Android Developers Blog for more details.

When you're ready to make changes to your APK or Android App Bundle, use the following checklist to make sure that existing users will receive your update.

Prepare your updates

  • The package name of the updated APK or app bundle needs to be the same as the current version.
  • The version code needs to be greater than the current version. Learn more about versioning your app.
  • The updated APK or app bundle needs to be signed with the same signature as the current version.
Confirm an APK's signature

To confirm that an APK's signature will be verified successfully on all versions of the Android platform supported by the APK, you can use the apksigner tool (available in revision 24.0.3 and higher of the Android SDK Build Tools) with the following syntax:

apksigner verify --verbose --print-certs apkname.apk

If the signature isn’t verified successfully, you need to use the key associated with the APK that you already uploaded.

Learn more about signing your app.

Confirm an app bundle's certification
To confirm that your app bundle is using the same certification as the previous version, you can run the following command on both versions and compare the results:

$ jarsigner -verify -verbose -certs my_application.aab

If the results are identical, you’re using the same key and are ready to continue. If the results are different, you will need to re-sign the app bundle with the correct key.

Learn more about signing your app.

Upload your APK or app bundle

Once your updated artifact is ready, you can create a new release.

Delivery of updates

After you’ve submitted an update to an app, you’ll see “Update pending” near the top right of your app’s Play Console pages. Once the update is published, your update will start being distributed to existing users.

Once your update is available, users can download the update on your app’s store listing page or from their My apps page on the Play Store app. If a user has turned on automatic updates for your app, the update will be downloaded and installed automatically.

Note that app updates can take some time to be delivered to existing users. 

Unpublish an app

When you unpublish an app, existing users can still use your app and receive app updates. Your app won’t be available for new users to find and download on Google Play.

Prerequisites: Before you can an unpublish an app, you must ensure that:

To unpublish your app:

  1. Go to your Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. Select Store presencePricing & distribution.
  4. In the "App Availability" section, select Unpublish.

Updating system apps

Users will see system apps (including any pre-loaded apps) in the My Apps section of the Google Play Store as soon as an application with the same package name is uploaded to the Play Console (even if the application is unpublished).

Google Play can manage updates to preloaded applications, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The preloaded app needs to be in the system partition
  • The preloaded app needs to be free
  • The preloaded app needs to be signed with the same signature as the app published in Google Play
  • The package name of the preloaded and updated app needs to be the same
  • The version code of the updated app needs to be greater than that of the preloaded app

If you need to upload a system application and encounter an error message when doing so, please contact us.

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