Inspect app versions with the app bundle explorer

Starting August 2021, new apps will be required to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play. New apps larger than 150MB can use either Play Asset Delivery or Play Feature Delivery.

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

The Android App Bundle is the recommended publishing format on Google Play. By publishing your apps using app bundles, you can reduce the size of your app, simplify releases, and enable advanced distribution features. 

Using the app bundle explorer in Play Console, you can easily manage your app bundles and versions in one place. You can also access useful metadata, downloads, and insight into what Google Play generates for asset delivery.

How app bundles work and their benefits

Google Play uses app bundles to build and deliver APKs that are optimized for each device configuration, providing users with more efficient apps. This means you only need to build, sign, and upload a single app bundle in order to support optimized APKs for a wide variety of device configurations. Google Play then manages and serves your app's distribution APKs for you.

App bundle features and benefits
  • Publish smaller apps, facilitating faster installs and smaller size-on-disk, which can lead to fewer uninstalls.
  • Simplify release management, removing the complexity of publishing and managing multiple APKs.
  • You can use the Play Feature Delivery to modularize your app and include feature modules. You can deliver feature modules in different ways:
    • Install-time delivery: Feature modules are delivered at install time. You may choose to do this to take advantage of faster build times or to deliver modules at install time and then uninstall them later to avoid taking up size on disk unnecessarily. 
    • Conditional delivery: Feature modules are delivered at install time based on conditions such as user country, device features, and minimum SDK version.
    • On demand delivery: Install and uninstall feature modules as needed, instead of delivering them to all users for the lifetime of your app.
    • Instant experiences: Feature modules can be instant-enabled to offer instant experiences from links and the Try Now button on your app’s store listing that don’t require a user to install your app first.
  • You can use Play Asset Delivery to deliver large asset packs. You can customize delivery of asset packs in different ways:
    • Install-time delivery: Asset packs are delivered with the install ("upfront") and are available to the app at launch.
    • Fast follow delivery: Asset packs are delivered automatically after the app is installed. The app does not have to be opened to start the download. The download also doesn’t prevent the user from opening the app.
    • On demand delivery: Asset packs are downloaded as needed when the app is running.
  • If your app has its own in-app language picker, you can use the additional languages API to let users access and download additional language resources on demand.

Using the app bundle explorer

You can use the app bundle explorer to inspect app versions, download assets, and and get insights into what Google Play generates for delivery. 

The App bundle explorer page features a version filter on the top right of the page, which you can use in conjunction with the three tabs below to explore different versions and configurations of your app’s distribution APKs on different devices. This version filter is the functional equivalent of the “Artifact library” on the old version of the Google Play Console.

The App bundle explorer has three tabs:

  • Details: Review granular details for each version of your app.
  • Downloads: Generate install links for each version of your app, download device-specific APKs for testing or pre-installing on devices, download a universal APK, and manage other assets related to each version.
  • Delivery: Review what Google Play generates from your app bundle and under what conditions all distribution artifacts are delivered.

Prerequisites and recommendations

Review your APK details

To view the APKs that Google Play generates from your app bundle:

  1. Open the App bundle explorer page (Release > App bundle explorer).
  2. On the Devices tab, select the version filter near the top right of the page.
  3. On the “Choose a version” table, select the right arrow on the version you want to view.
  4. Review the version details.
    • Optional: Under “Supported Android devices,” you can select View device catalog to view and manage the devices that are compatible with this version of your app.

Share an install link

To share a link to install the appropriate device-specific APK that Google Play generates from your app bundle:

  1. Open the App bundle explorer page (Release App bundle explorer).
  2. Select the version filter near the top right of the page.
  3. On the “Choose a version” table, select the right arrow on the version you want to view.
  4. Select the Downloads tab.
  5. To share a link to install a device-specific APK: In the “Internal app sharing link” section, select Copy shareable link.
  6. Share the link.
    • Tip: You can select Manage access to visit the Internal app sharing page and quickly share app bundle and APK links with your team. To learn more, go to Share app bundles and APKs internally.

Download device-specific APKs

You can download device-specific APKs and download device-specific pre-install APKs to share with OEMs to pre-install on their devices (so that they can subsequently be updated by Google Play).

To download device-specific APKs that Google Play generates from your app bundle:

  1. Open the App bundle explorer page (Release > Devices and versions > App bundle explorer).
  2. Select the version filter near the top right of the page.
  3. On the “Choose a version” table, select the right arrow on the version you want to view.
  4. Select the Downloads tab.
  5. In the “Device-specific APKs” table, select the download icon next to the APK you want to save our share.

Download a signed, universal APK

To download a signed, universal APK:

  1. Open the App bundle explorer page (Release App bundle explorer).
  2. Select the version filter near the top right of the page.
  3. On the “Choose a version” table, select the right arrow on the version you want to view.
  4. Select the Downloads tab.
  5. In the “Assets” table, select the download icon next to the "Signed, universal APK" file.

Download asset and deobfuscation files

To download asset files, deobfuscation files, and native debugs symbols for APKs that Google Play generates from your app bundle:

  1. Open the App bundle explorer page (Release App bundle explorer).
  2. Select the version filter near the top right of the page.
  3. On the “Choose a version” table, select the right arrow on the version you want to view.
  4. Select the Downloads tab.
  5. In the “Assets” table, select the download icon next to the files you want to save our share.

View delivery information for feature modules and asset packs

If you use Play Feature Delivery to customize delivery of feature modules or Play Asset Delivery to customize delivery of asset packs, your Delivery tab on the App bundle explorer page will be populated with useful information. To view this information:

  1. Open the App bundle explorer page (Release App bundle explorer).
  2. Select the version filter near the top right of the page.
  3. On the “Choose a version” table, select the right arrow on the version you want to view.
  4. Select the Delivery tab.
  5. View delivery information in the available tables, which list the name, delivery conditions, and download size:
    • Modules: Shows feature module information. This table is always available and contains your app's base module.
    • Asset packs: Shows your app's asset pack information. This table is only available if there are asset packs associated with your app.
  6. Click a table row to view everything Google generates from your app bundle relating to specific feature modules or asset packs, including:
    • Detailed delivery conditions (if applicable)
    • Details of any generated split APKs
    • Details of any generated standalone APKs
      • Note: Standalone APKs always include the base module and any install time feature modules or asset packs. Standalone APKs also include any on demand modules that have fusing enabled.

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