Create and set up your app

Starting August 2021, new apps are 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.

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

Create your app

  1. Open Play Console.
  2. Select All apps > Create app.
  3. Select a default language and add 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. In the "Declarations" section:
  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 your app and app bundles

Google Play uses Android App Bundles to generate 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 to support optimized APKs for a wide variety of device configurations. Google Play then manages and serves your app's distribution APKs for you.

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 release 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 bundles and APKs:

  1. Open Play Console and go to the App bundle explorer page (Release > App bundle explorer).
  2. 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 (Details, Downloads, and Delivery) to explore different versions and configurations of your app’s APKs on different devices. 
  • Note: This version filter is the functional equivalent of the “Artifact library” on the old version of Play Console.

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

Maximum size limit

Apps on Google Play have a size limit, which is based on the maximum compressed size of your APKs at the time of download across all supported devices.

After you upload an app bundle, Play Console uses gzip to estimate what your app’s download size will be. Google Play uses the best possible advanced compression tools meaning a user’s actual download size will often be smaller than the estimate you see in Play Console.

The maximum size limits are:

  • 150MB: Maximum compressed download size of APKs for one device generated from app bundles. The app bundle itself can be many times larger than this size.
  • 100MB: Maximum compressed download size of APK for apps published with APKs (only applicable to apps created before August 2021).
Configure Play App Signing

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. When you create your first release you can configure Play App Signing to decide whether your app should use a Google-generated app signing key or an app signing key that you choose.

App version requirements for Play Console

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

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

When selecting the versionCode for your app bundle, 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 app, go to the Android Developers site. Keep in mind the Android MAXINT differs from Play Console upload requirements.

Target API level requirements for Play Console

Every app 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 app bundle, 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, Play Console will prevent you from submitting new app bundles 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 Play Console and go to the Main store listing page.
  2. Fill in the fields under "App Details."
Field Description Character Limit Notes
App name Your app's name on Google Play. 50 character limit You can add one localized name 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 name, 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.

Preview assets

Learn more about adding preview assets (including a short description, 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 that 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 that 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 in 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 Play Console and go to the Store settings page (Grow > Store presence > Store settings)
  2. Scroll down to "Contact Details."
  3. 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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