This guide contains the general information on the procedures and requirements for the successful submission of an Android app to the Google Play.
Publishing is the general process that makes your Android applications available to users. When you publish an Android application you perform two main tasks:
- You prepare the application for release. During the preparation step you build a release version of your application, which users can download and install on their Android-powered devices.
- You release the application to users. During the release step you publicise, sell, and distribute the release version of your application to users.
Usually, you release your application through an application marketplace, such as Google Play. However, you can also release applications by sending them directly to users or by letting users download them from your own website.
Preparing Your Application for Release
Android users expect high-quality apps. App quality directly influences the long-term success of your app—in terms of installs, user rating and reviews, engagement, and user retention. The Android Simulator is ideal for prototyping your ideas, debugging memory leaks, simulating memory warnings, and getting a good feel for how your app is going to work. However, since the Android Simulator simulates the Android, not hardware, it is not a replacement for testing on an actual device.
Preparing your application for release is a multi-step process that involves the following tasks:
- Configuring your application for release. At a minimum you need to remove
Logcalls and remove the android:debuggable attribute from your manifest file. You should also provide values for the
android:versionNameattributes, which are located in the <manifest> element. You may also have to configure several other settings to meet Google Play requirements or accomodate whatever method you're using to release your application.
- Building and signing a release version of your application. The Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin and the Ant build script that are provided with the Android SDK tools provide everything you need to build and sign a release version of your application.
- Testing the release version of your application. Before you distribute your application, you should thoroughly test the release version on at least one target handset device and one target tablet device.
- Updating application resources for release. You need to be sure that all application resources such as multimedia files and graphics are updated and included with your application or staged on the proper production servers.
- Preparing remote servers and services that your application depends on. If your application depends on external servers or services, you need to be sure they are secure and production ready.
You may have to perform several other tasks as part of the preparation process. For example, you will need to get a private key for signing your application, and you may need to get a Maps API release key if you are using the Google Maps external library. You will also need to create an icon for your application, and you may want to prepare an End User License Agreement (EULA) to protect your person, organization, and intellectual property.
When you are finished preparing your application for release you will have a signed
.apk file that you can distribute to users.
Releasing Your Application to Users
You can release your Android applications several ways. Usually, you release applications through an application marketplace such as Google Play, but you can also release applications on your own website or by sending an application directly to a user.
This guide focuses primarily on the release of your application to the Google Play.
Information and Assets
In addition to your binary, you will need to submit or assign several attributes for your application, including:
|App Name||The localized name of your app as it appears on the store. The app name must be no more than 75 characters.|
|Description||A localized description of the app, detailing features and functionality. Descriptions are limited to 4000 single-byte characters. The description should be in plain text, with line breaks as needed. HTML formatting isn’t recognized. Make sure to check your text for spelling or grammar errors.|
|Promo Text||A localized promotional description of the app, limited to no more than 80 characters.
|Application Type||Indicate if the app is an Application or a Game.|
|Category||The category that best describes the app you are adding. Choose one from the list:
|Content Rating||Google Play requires you to set a content rating for your app, which informs Google Play users of its maturity level. Before you publish, you should confirm what rating level you want to use. The available content rating levels are:
On their Android devices, Android users can set the desired maturity level for browsing. Google Play then filters apps based on the setting, so the content rating you select can affect the app's distribution to users. You can assign (or change) the content rating for your apps in the Developer Console, no changes are required in your app binary.
Please check the guidelines published by Google on content rating for more information.
|Version||The version number of the app you are adding. Numbering should follow typical software versioning conventions (for example, 1.0 or 1.0.1 or 1.1).|
|What's New in this Version||
Localized release notes detailing the changes in this version of your app. For example, you might want to list new features, UI improvements, or bug fixes. This text can be as long as 4000 single-byte characters.
This field isn’t available for the first version of an app.
|Website||The website you plan to provide for users who have questions regarding the app.|
|The email where users can send their feedback and get more information about the app.|
|Pricing||All apps by default will be released to the App Store as free. If you are adopting a paid model for your app, kindly contact IITS for further information.|
|Available Date||After the app has been published, it will become available within a few hours to users and your product page will appear in Google Play for browsing, searching, or linking from your promotional campaigns.|
|Distribution||Google Play lets you control what countries and territories your apps are distributed to. Unless specified, your app will be available in all territories worldwide. Placing the app worldwide is recommended as some international students are using their own country's account instead of the one from Singapore.|
|App's Overall Size||The overall size of your app can affect its design and how you publish it on Google Play. Currently, the maximum size for an APK published on Google Play is 50 MB. If your app exceeds that size, or if you want to offer a secondary download, you can use APK Expansion Files, which Google Play will host for free on its server infrastructure and automatically handle the download to devices.
Using APK Expansion files is a convenient, cost-effective method of distributing large apps. However, the use of APK Expansion Files requires some changes in your app binary, so you will need to make those changes before creating your release-ready APK.
To minimize the size of your app binary, make sure that you run the Proguard tool or similar obfuscator on your code when building your release-ready APK.
|Large App Icon||A large version of your app icon that will be used on the Google Play. It must be at least 72 DPI, in the RGB color space, and 512 x 512 pixels (it cannot be scaled up). The file type must be in PNG (with alpha).|
Engaging screen shots can make a significant influence on a user’s perception of your app. This is your opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities, graphics, and usability of your app. When creating screen shots to be posted to the App Store, follow these general guidelines:
- Make sure the content is legible and appropriate.
- Consider cultural sensibilities and restrictions.
- Always remove the status bar from screen shots.
- If your app is localized, donʼt forget to localize screen shots as well.
The screenshots must be in the following format:
- At least 72 DPI
- In the RGB colour space
- In the JPG or 24-bit PNG format (no alpha)
- Min length for any side: 320px
- Max length for any side: 3840px
At least 2 screenshots are required overall. A maximum of 8 screenshots can be uploaded.
Signing Identities and Certificates
Code signing your app lets users trust that your app has been created by a source known to Google and that it hasn’t been tampered with. All Android apps must be code signed to be submitted to the store. Code signing uses cryptographic technology to digitally sign your app and installer package.
The university maintains the set of production identities and certificates required for the signing of your binary to be submitted to the Google Play. Developers are required to submit the entire Android project, including all external libraries and SDKs, and a set of specific instructions to compile and run, where applicable. The codes will subjected to vulnerability assessment before being signed and submitted to the Google Play.