Prepare & roll out releases

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.

With a release, you can manage your app's Android App Bundle, which is Google Play's recommended publishing format, or APKs, and then roll out your app to a specific track.

Step 1: Create a release

A release is a combination of one or more build artifacts that you'll prepare to roll out an app or app update.

To start your release:

  1. Go to your Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu, select Release management > App releases.
  4. Next to the release type you want to create, select Manage. You can select between:
    • Internal test: Create an internal test release to quickly distribute your app for internal testing and quality assurance checks.
    • Closed: Create a closed release to test pre-release versions of your app with a larger set of testers. Once you've tested with a smaller group of employees or trusted users, you can expand your test to an open release. On your App releases page, an Alpha track will be available as your initial closed test. If needed, you can also create and name additional closed tracks.
    • Open: Create an open release after you've tested a closed release. Your open release can include a wider range of users for testing, before your app goes live in production.
    • Production: When you create a production release, this version of your app is available to all users in the countries you've targeted.
  5. To create a new release, select Create release.

Note:  For more information on testing, go to set up an open, closed, or internal test.

Step 2: Prepare your app's release

  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to add APKs or app bundles, describe what's new in this release, and name your release. For more information on any of these fields, select the matching section heading below.
  2. To save any changes you make to your release, select Save.
  3. When you've finished preparing your release, select Review.

Country distribution

For details on managing country availability across your app's production, open, and closed releases, go to distribute app releases to specific countries.

Release details

Select a section heading below for more information.

Android App Bundles and APKs to add

In this section, view details about app bundles or APKs that you've added directly to a release.

Android App Bundles and APKs to deactivate

In this section, view details about app bundles or APKs from your previous release that will no longer be served to users.

Clicking Retain moves an artifact to the list of app bundles or APKs that will continue to be served to users.

Android App Bundles and APKs to retain

In this section, view details about app bundles or APKs from your previous release that will continue to be served to users.

Clicking Deactivate moves an artifact to the list of app bundles or APKs that will no longer be served to users.

Declare permissions for your app (optional)

Permission requests are evaluated during the release process after adding your APKs or App Bundles. If your app requests the use of high risk or sensitive permissions (e.g., SMS or Call Log), you may be required to complete the Permissions Declaration Form and receive approval from Google Play.

Release name

The release name is only for use in the Play Console and won't be visible to users.

We'll auto-populate the field with the version name of the first APK or app bundle added to the release.

To make your release easier to identify in the Play Console, add a release name that's meaningful to you, like the build version ("3.2.5-RC2") or an internal code name ("Banana").

What's new in this release?


Let your users know about recent updates you've made in this release of your app. Your "What's new" description shouldn't be used for promotional purposes or to solicit actions from your users.

Add release notes & manage translations

In the "What's new in this release?" section, add the description for your app's release between the relevant language tags. Language tags will be shown in the text box for each language your app supports.

To change your app's supported languages, you must first add translations on your Store Listing. When you return to the Prepare release page, the latest set of languages will be shown in the text box.

When entering text, make sure the language tags are on separate lines from the release notes. The format should match the following:


The release notes description can take up multiple lines.


Copy from previous release

To copy release notes from a previous release, select Copy from previous release. On the next screen, selecting a release will copy the release notes and any translations into the text box for further editing. This will replace any existing release notes you may have entered.

Step 3: Review and roll out your release

Prerequisite: Before you can roll out your release, make sure you've completed your app's store listing, content rating, & pricing & distribution sections. When each section is complete, you'll see a green check mark next to it on the left menu.

Once you're ready to roll out your app:

  1. Go to your Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu, select Release management > App releases.
  4. Next to the release you want to roll out, select Edit release.
  5. Review your draft release and make any additional changes that are needed.
  6. Select Review. You'll be taken to the "Review and roll out release" screen, where you can make sure there aren't any issues with your release before rolling out to users.
  7. Review any warnings or errors.
  8. If you're updating an existing app, select a rollout percentage.
    • If you're rolling out your first  release, you won't see the option to select a rollout percentage.  
    • For details on how to target a staged rollout to specific countries, go to release app updates with staged rollouts.

  9. Select Confirm rollout.
    • If you're rolling out your app's first release on production, clicking Confirm rollout will also publish your app to all Google Play users in the countries you selected.

Step 4: Review release details

Once you've created a release, you'll see the following information for the latest app release you rolled out to each track on your App releases page.

  • Release name: Name to identify release in the Play Console only, such as an internal code name or build version.
  • Rollout details: A timestamp indicating the last rollout event for each release.
  • Device support: A summary of your app's device compatibility, including supported, unsupported, and excluded devices. Device support is managed per app instead of per release or track.
  • APK details: A list of active version codes added in your current and previous releases.
  • Rollout history: A timeline that shows timestamps for when your app's release was halted, resumed, or served to a new percentage of users.
  • Release history: A list of all previous releases with version code details, rollout history, and release notes.


Draft releases

When you save a release in draft, you can separate the preparation of your release from the rollout. This can be helpful while you add or edit other parts of your app's information.

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