You can use managed publishing to control exactly when changes to your app are published. When managed publishing is switched on, you can see what changes you submit are in review and what changes are ready for publishing on the Publishing overview page.
See an overview of your changes
The Publishing overview page helps you keep track of upcoming changes and control when approved changes are published.
The changes listed can include updates to how your app is distributed on Google Play, such as the addition of new countries/regions to your app’s production release. Changes can also include content that you’ve provided to help us review your app, such as content rating questionnaire or changes to your app’s target audience. Each change is listed in a table, with a high-level change description and a link to the change itself.
If managed publishing is turned on, you control when your approved updates are published on Google Play.
When you should use managed publishing
Managed publishing is useful for anyone who wants to easily track app changes and their review statuses, or push an app update live at a specific time. This can be helpful when coordinating an ad campaign, launch event, or a new app version release with changes to your app’s store listing or distribution.
Managed publishing can also be useful for apps that are subject to extended review times, such as apps submitted by new developer accounts or by developers participating in the Designed for Families (DFF) program.
- You need one of the following permissions to turn managed publishing on or off:
- Release to production, exclude devices, and use Play App Signing
- Release apps to testing tracks
- Manage testing tracks and edit tester lists
- Manage store presence
- Admin (all permissions)
- Important: This permission gives a user admin access. With this permission, an admin also gets all other permissions. To learn more, go to Add developer account users and manage permissions.
- Your app must already be available to use managed publishing. You can’t use it when publishing an app for the first time.
- If you want to use managed publishing for your product launch, we strongly recommend publishing your app to a closed testing track first. To learn more about testing, go to Set up an open, closed, or internal test.
- All app changes need to be processed before they can be published. Processing can take a few hours or up to 7 days (or longer in exceptional cases), as it depends on the review time that your app is subject to.
- Tip: We recommend that you adjust your planning to include a buffer period of at least a week between submitting your app and going live.
Depending on your app's update status, it may not be sent for review automatically. For example, if your app update was rejected and you've subsequently made changes in an attempt to resolve the issue, your changes aren't sent for review automatically. You must go to the Publishing overview page and click Send for review to submit your changes. To learn more. go to App update statuses.
- Managed publishing can be turned on or off at any time, including while your change is being reviewed and processed.
- Managed publishing holds back the vast majority of changes until you actively decide to publish them. Examples include:
- Full and staged roll-outs of your releases (with exceptions listed below)
- Launching and updating pre-registration
- Store listing changes, including changes made to custom store listings and live store listing experiments
- App content changes
- Changes to your app category
- Managed Play settings
- However, there are some exceptions, which include but are not limited to:
- Increasing an existing staged roll-out to 100%
- Updating your app’s ”Release notes” section
- Changes to device exclusion rules
- Managing testers
- Unpublishing your app
- Changes to your app’s In-app products page
- Price changes
- Stopping store listing experiments
Step 1: Turn on managed publishing
- Open Play Console and go to the Publishing overview page.
- In the “Managed publishing status” section, go to Turn on managed publishing.
- Select Save.
After you’ve turned on managed publishing, you’ll see a green checkmark and the message “Managed publishing is turned on” in the “Managed publishing status” section until you turn it off.
After managed publishing is turned on, make and submit changes to your app as normal (go to Prepare and roll out a release to learn more). The changes won’t be published until they’ve been reviewed and approved and published from the “Managed publishing” page.
Step 2: Track and review your changes
- After you’ve made changes to your app, select Publishing overview on the left menu.
- In the “Changes in review” section, review the table:
- The Item changed column shows the item name and the relevant Console area (such as “Main store listing” or “App content”).
- The Description column provides a short description of the change.
- At the right side of the table, you can select the right arrow icon to go to the relevant section in Play Console.
As your changes are reviewed and approved, they’ll begin to populate the “Changes ready to publish” section of the page.
Step 3: Publish your app update
When the “Changes in review” section is empty and all your changes are listed under “Changes ready to publish,” you can publish your update on Google Play. If you still have changes in the “Changes in review” section, you’ll need to wait until they’ve been approved.
- On the left menu, select Publishing overview.
- Check that all your changes have been approved and are listed under “Changes ready to publish.”
- Select Review and publish. After you confirm that you want to publish, your update will be published on Google Play within a few minutes.
Important: When you select Review and publish and confirm that you want to publish, your changes will be available and visible to Google Play users.Will submitting additional changes to my app lead to longer review times?
The SLA (service level agreement or turnaround time) for review time is counted from the last submitted change to an app. This means that if you submit a change while there are changes in review, your app may be pushed to the back of the app review queue. If this happens, Review and publish will be disabled until the app review is complete.
Internal test tracks are not covered by managed publishing. In most cases, if you upload an app bundle to an internal test track, changes will be immediately available. App updates on internal test tracks are not subject to reviews but may be subject to retroactive reviews after going live on the Play store.
There are two caveats to note regarding reviews and internal test tracks:
- If your app's first release roll-out is on an internal test track, the submission must be reviewed before it can be published. Reviews can take a few hours or up to 7 days (or longer in exceptional cases), as it depends on the review time that your app is subject to.
- If your previous submission has been rejected, the next submission must be reviewed before it can be published. In this case, if you upload an app bundle to an internal test track, changes will not become available until the review is complete and approved.
- Learn more about choosing when your app updates are published with Managed publishing in the Academy for App Success.