Control when app changes are published with managed publishing

You can use managed publishing to control exactly when changes to your app are published. When managed publishing is turned on, you can clearly see what changes you submit are in review and what changes are ready for publishing on the Publishing overview page.

Note: In classic Play Console, managed publishing was referred to as "timed publishing." Several improvements have been made to managed publishing, resulting in significant differences between the two. These differences are described below.

See an overview of your changes

The Publishing overview page helps you to 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 you’ve provided to help us review your app, such a 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 APK 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.

Before you start: important notes about managed publishing

Prerequisites

Testing

  • If you want to use managed publishing for your production 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.

Planning for review times

  • 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.

Turning managed publishing on / off

  • Managed publishing can be turned on or off at any time, including while your change is being reviewed and processed.

Changes that are not held back by managed publishing

  • 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 store listing experiments and custom store listings
    • 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

Publish an app update with managed publishing

Step 1: Turn on managed publishing

  1. Open the Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu, select Publishing overview.
  4. In the “Managed publishing status” section, select Turn on managed publishing
  5. Select Save.

After you’ve turned on managed publishing, you’ll see a green check mark 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

  1. After you’ve made changes to your app, select Publishing overview on the left menu.
  2. 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 the 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.

  1. On the left menu, select Publishing overview.
  2. Check that all your changes have been approved and are listed under “Changes ready to publish.”
  3. 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.

Differences between timed and managed publishing

Managed publishing works similarly to timed publishing, with some notable differences and improvements. While timed publishing is still available in classic Play Console, you should switch to managed publishing as soon as possible – it more accurately reflects changes and provides greater flexibility.

  • In classic Play Console, timed publishing cannot be turned on or off if you have any pending changes. We’ve removed this limitation in the new Play Console. Managed publishing can be turned on or off even if you have pending changes in review or ready to be published.
  • Changes made with timed publishing cannot go live until all pending changes have been approved. Managed publishing allows you to publish your approved changes even if other changes are still in review. 
  • Timed publishing shows all the changes you’d made since turning the feature on, which can be overwhelming. Managed publishing only shows the changes covered by Managed publishing and that will be visible on Google Play or impact how your app is reviewed.

Timed publishing turned off after pressing Go live, and would need to be turned back on after each use. Managed publishing remains on until you actively turn it off

Frequently asked questions

Will submitting additional changes to my app lead to longer review times?

The SLA 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.

How does managed publishing work with internal testing? Will the update be covered by managed publishing?

Internal test tracks are not covered by managed publishing. In most cases, if you upload an APK to an internal test track, changes will become available immediately after. 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 APK to an internal test track, changes will not become available until the review is complete and approved.
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue