Create and set up your app

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.

After you've created your Google Play developer account, you can create apps and set them up using the Play Console.

Tip: When building your app, use Google Play’s recommended publishing format, the Android App Bundle.

Create your app

  1. Open the Play Console.
  2. Select All apps > Create app.
  3. Select a default language and add a title for your app. Type the name of your app as you want it to appear on Google Play. You can change this later.
  4. Specify whether your application is an app or a game. You can change this later.
  5. Specify whether your application is free or paid.
  6. Add an email address that Play Store users can use to contact you about this application.
  7. Complete the “Content guidelines” and “US export laws” declarations.
  8. Select Create app.

Set up your app

After you create your app, you can start setting it up. Your app’s dashboard will guide you through all the most important steps to get your app available on Google Play. 

You’ll start by providing details about your app’s content, and entering information for your Google Play store listing. After that, you can move onto app release; this guides you through pre-release management, testing, and promotion to build pre-release excitement and awareness. The final step is launching your app on Google Play, making it available to billions of users.

To start setting up your app, select Dashboard on the left menu. For the next steps, go to Set up your app on the app dashboard.

Manage APK files

Package names for app files are unique and permanent, so please name them carefully. Package names can't be deleted or re-used in the future.

Your APKs can have one of three statuses:

  • Draft: APKs that have not been served to users yet
  • Active: APKs currently being served to users
  • Archived: APKs that were once active but are no longer being served to users
Find your APK files

To see your app's APKs:

  1. Open the Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. Select Release > Devices and versions > App bundle explorer
  4. The App bundle explorer page features an artifact filter on the top right of the page, which you can use in conjunction with the three tabs (Details, Downloads, and Dynamic Delivery) to explore different versions and configurations of your app’s APKs on different devices. 
  • Note: This artifact filter is the functional equivalent of the “Artifact library” on the previous version of the Google Play Console.

To learn more about managing your artifacts, go to Inspect Android App Bundles with the app bundle explorer.

Maximum size limit

Apps on Google Play have a size limit, which is based on the compressed size of your APK at the time of download.

After you upload an APK, the Play Console uses gzip to estimate what your app’s download size will be. When users download your app, because of the advanced compression tools used on Google Play, it’s possible that your app’s actual download size will be smaller than the estimate you see on the Play Console.

Depending on the Android versions your APK targets, the size limit is:

  • 100MB: APKs that target Android 2.3 and higher (API level 9-10, 14 and higher)
  • 50MB: APKs that target Android 2.2 and lower (API level 8 and lower)

If you can't support all devices with a single APK, you can upload multiple APKs for the same app that target different device configurations.

Note: Users must run Play Store version 5.2 or higher to install 100MB APKs.

Sign your app

Android requires that all apps be digitally signed with a certificate before they can be installed. For more information, go to the Android Developers site.

  • If you see a message that your APK is signed with an insecure certificate and key size must be at least 1024 bits, follow the instructions to sign your app manually.
  • Important: Enroll in app signing by Google Play or keep your keystore in a secure location. If you lose your keystore, you'll need to publish the app with a new package name and a new key. If you need to do this, you should also unpublish the original app and update its description.
APK version requirements for the Play Console

Every APK has a versionCode in the manifest file that's incremented with each update of your app.

To upload your app to the Play Console, the greatest possible value for versionCode is 2100000000. If the versionCode of your APK exceeds this value, the Play Console will prevent you from submitting a new APK.

When selecting the versionCode for your APK, keep in mind that you'll need to increase the versionCode for every update and still stay below the maximum.

Note: For more information on versioning your APK, go to the Android Developers site. Keep in mind the Android MAXINT differs from the Play Console upload requirements.

Target API level requirements for the Play Console

Every APK has a targetSdkVersion in the manifest file (also known as the target API level) which informs how your app is run on different Android versions.

Configuring your app to target a recent API level ensures that users benefit from significant security and performance improvements, while still allowing your app to run on older Android versions (down to the minSdkVersion).

When you upload an APK, it needs to meet Google Play’s target API level requirements. Here are the levels that apps currently need to target and will need to target in the future.

API level requirement Starting date
Android 8.0 (API level 26)
  • August 1, 2018: Required for new apps
  • November 1, 2018: Required for app updates
Android 9 (API level 28)
  • August 1, 2019: Required for new apps
  • November 1, 2019: Required for app updates

Android 10 (API level 29)*

  • August 3, 2020: Required for new apps
  • November 2, 2020: Required for app updates

Android 11 (API level 30)*

  • August 2, 2021: Required for new apps
  • November 1, 2021: Required for app updates

* Wear OS apps are not subject to the API level 29 or API level 30 requirements.

Once these requirements come into effect, the Play Console will prevent you from submitting new APKs using older target API levels.

Tip: For technical advice on how to change your app’s target API level to meet these requirements, refer to the migration guide.

Set up your store listing and settings

Your app's store listing is displayed on Google Play and includes details that help users learn more about your app. Your store listing is shared across tracks, including testing tracks.

Product details
  1. Open the Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. Select Grow > Store Presence > Main store listing.
  4. Fill in the fields under "App Details."
Field Description Character Limit Notes
Title Your app's name on Google Play. 50 character limit You can add one localized title per language.
Short description The first text users see when looking at your app's detail page on the Play Store app. 80 character limit Users can expand this text to view your app's full description.
Full description Your app's description on Google Play. 4000 character limit  

Note: Repetitive or irrelevant use of keywords in the app title, description, or promotional description can create an unpleasant user experience and result in an app being suspended on Google Play. Please refer to full guidelines in the Google Play Developer Program Policies.

Graphics

Learn more about adding graphic assets, screenshots, and videos to showcase your app.

Languages and translations

Add and manage translations

When you upload an app, the default language is English (United States, en-US). You can add translations of your app's information, along with in-language screenshots and other graphic assets. Go to Translate and localize your app to learn how.

Localized images and videos

To market your app in different languages more effectively, you can add localized graphic assets to your app's Main store listing page.

Users will see the localized graphic assets on Google Play if their language preferences match the languages you've added.

Automated translations

If you don't add your own translations, users can view an automated translation of your app's Google Play store listing page using Google Translate or the default language for your app.

For automated translations, there will be a note explaining that the translation has been done automatically, along with an option to view the app's default language. Keep in mind automated translations aren't supported for Armenian, Raeto-romance, Tagalog, and Zulu.

Categorization and tags

You can choose a category and add tags to your apps or game on the Play Console. Categories and tags help users to search for and discover the most relevant apps in the Play Store. 

Learn more about choosing and adding a category and tags for your app or game.

Contact details

When you provide an email address, website, or phone number for your app, your contact information is available to users on your app's store listing.

A contact email address is required, but to provide your users with the best support experience, we also highly recommend including a website where users can contact you.

To add your support information:

  1. Open the Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu under select GrowStore presence > Store settings.
  4. Scroll down to "Contact Details."
  5. Add your support email address (required), a phone number, and a website URL.

Tip: Learn more about providing support for your users.

Next steps

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