Distribute your instant experience

All new instant experiences must publish with an instant-enabled app bundle on Google Play. In the second half of 2021, updates to existing instant experiences will also be required to publish with an instant-enabled app bundle.

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

Once you've built an app that supports an instant experience, you can use Play Console to distribute your app to users.

Note: Apps in the Designed for Families program can't publish an instant experience.

Tip: If you use the Android App Bundle to build your app, you only need to build, sign, and upload a single artifact once to support your app’s installed version and instant experience.

Step 1: Enable Instant apps

First, you need to add Google Play Instant as a release type, and ensure that it’s active.

  1. Open Play Console and go to the Advanced settings page (Release > Setup > Advanced settings).
  2. Select the Release types tab. 
  3. Click + Add release type and select Google Play Instant.

After completing these steps, “Google Play Instant” is listed as a release type. You should also see the status listed as “Active” along with a green check mark.

Step 2: Create a release

A release is a combination of one or more build artifacts that you'll prepare to roll out an app or an app update. You can create an instant release on the following tracks:

  • Internal testing: Internal testing releases are available to up to 100 testers that you choose.
  • Closed testing: Closed testing releases are available to a limited number of testers that you choose, who can test a pre-release version of your app and submit feedback.
  • Production: Production releases are available to all Google Play users in your chosen countries.

Important: You must have the Release apps to testing tracks permission to create a new release.

To create your instant experience release:

  1. Open Play Console and go to the track you want to start your release on: 
    • Closed testing(ReleaseTesting > Closed testing)
      • Note: To create a release on an existing closed testing track, select Manage track. To create a new track, click Create track.
    • Internal testing(ReleaseTesting > Internal testing)
    • Production (Release > Production)
  2. Near the top right of the page, there’s a release type filter with Standard selected by default. Click the down arrow to view the release types and select Instant apps only.
  3. Creating an instant release differs slightly depending on what track you’re creating a release to:
    • For internal testing and for production releases: Near the top right of the page, click Create new release.
    • For closed testing releases: Click Manage track next to the “Alpha” tack, and then select Create new release.
      • Note: If Create new release is disabled, you may have outstanding setup tasks to complete. These may be listed on the Dashboard page.

For more information about setting up each track type, select the relevant section below. To learn more about testing in general, go to set up an open, closed, or internal test.

Track Details

Internal and closed testing

Add testers

Follow the instructions on our testing article to create tester lists and invite testers to use your app and distribute your instant experience to the internal testing or closed testing track. 

Before sharing your app’s link with testers, note the following:

  • Tester configurations apply to the corresponding installed and instant app track. For example, when you add a tester list to a closed testing track for your installed app, the same list applies to the closed testing track for your instant experience. 
  • Testers can only test one instant experience release track at a time. This means if a tester is trying your app's internal test release and then opts in to test the closed testing release, they will automatically be removed from the internal test release.
Production

When you're creating a production release, you can change the countries where your instant experience is available. By default, the selected countries will match where you offer your installed app. 

You can target countries and regions that have been selected for your standard app in production or pre-registration. To change your app's country distribution, select the Countries / regions tab on the instant app release’s Production page (Release > Production).

Step 3: Prepare your instant experience's release

  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to add your instant experience APKs and name your release. 
    • The release name is only for use in Play Console and won't be visible to users.
    • We'll auto-populate the field with the version name in your manifest.
    • To make your release easier to identify in 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").
  2. To save any changes you make to your release, select Save.
  3. When you've finished preparing your release, select Review release.

Step 4: Review and roll out your release

Prerequisite: Before you can roll out your release, make sure you've completed your app's store listing and content rating sections, and set up its prices

If you've filled out these sections for the installed version of your app, the same information will apply for your instant experience. Keep in mind, instant experience availability is defined by your instant experience manifest and not by your app's device exclusions

Once you're ready to roll out your instant experience, you can follow the instructions to review and roll out your release.

Step 5: Review release details

Once you've created a release, you'll see the information for the latest app release on your Closed testing, Internal testing, or Production page. Use the release type filter (Standard is selected by default) to select Instant apps only, find your release, and view the following information:

  • 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.
  • 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 or resumed.
  • Release history: A list of all previous releases with version code details, rollout history, and release notes.

You can also find your instant release by searching for it on the Releases overview page (Release > Releases overview).

Direct users to the mobile web

A percentage of users

If you're interested in testing the performance between mobile web and your instant experience, you can direct a percentage of traffic to mobile web. This is known as mobile holdback.

To set up mobile holdback:

  1. Open Play Console and select an app. 
  2. Go to the track page for the instant release you want to adjust (Closed testing, Internal testing, or Production), or search for it on the Releases overview page (Release > Releases overview).
  3. Near the top-right of the page, click the release type filter (Standard is selected by default) and select Instant apps only.
  4. Select the Mobile Web tab.
  5. Next to "Users to direct to mobile web," enter the percentage of users you want to direct to mobile web. For example, if you enter 0.95, 95% of instant experience-eligible traffic will be sent to mobile web. The remaining 5% will be sent to your instant experience.
  6. Save your changes.
All users

If you've found an issue with your instant app and want to redirect all of your users (across all tracks) to the mobile web:

  1. Open Play Console and go to the Advanced settings page (Release > Setup > Advanced settings).
  2. Scroll down to the “Google Play Instant” section and click Manage.
  3. Uncheck the Instant app active checkbox.
  4. Click Save.

Fix an error

If you're receiving an error about split APKs, go to the Android Developers site for more information.

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