Updated by Laura Curran
Excited about launching your app? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to submit and release your app on the Google Play Store for your Android users.
Google Play is arguably one of the largest platforms for distributing, promoting, and selling Android apps. Like any other app store, the platform comes with its own set of rules and procedures, and you need to understand how it works in order to avoid any future issues.
Before we get started, make sure you have the following:
- You have an app!
- Your app will need a unique Bundle ID to represent it
- Also, a signed app release. This requires a signing certificate, for info on how to do this check here
- If your app is too big, you will need APK expansion files to break it up into parts so it can be uploaded (Google Play Store’s maximum size for an APK is 100MB)
- You should be signed up to Google Play Console and be a Play publisher
If all of the above is checked off, it’s time to submit your app to the Google Play store.
Get your app information ready
Log into the Google Play Console using your Play publisher account. To create an application:
- Select All applications in the left-hand menu
- Click on Create Application in order to begin creating your app
- Choose a language and enter a title for your app (limit of 50 characters)
- And continue by clicking Create.
- On the following page shown below, you’ll add all the relevant information about your app.
- Short description: A brief summary of your app. This will be shown on the app’s Google Play Store listing and is critical for convincing people to download your app. Make sure you get across the most important and exciting information in the first three lines.
- Full description: Go into more details about your app. You have a maximum of 4000 characters. Highlight benefits and key features. This is shown when a user opens your app’s store listing.
- Screenshots: Essential to show your app in action. Click Add screenshot and upload screenshots of the app. You are required to upload at least two screenshots, but aim for seven or the maximum of eight for the best results and put the best ones at the beginning. To be featured in the Play Store’s “Designed for tablets” list, upload screenshots of your app running on a 7-inch and 10-inch tablet.
- Hi-res icon: This is the icon that will be shown in Google Play Store and on your users’ devices when downloaded.
- Feature graphic: This is labelled as optional even though it’s essential since your app cannot be featured anywhere on the Google Play Store without a feature graphic. Aim for a bold, vivid, and simple image that promotes your brand with minimal writing.
- Video link: You can also add a link to a video of your app. This can be a YouTube link.
- Application type: Whether it’s an app or a game.
- Category: Business, travel, education, etc.
- Make sure all your information is correct in the contact details and add anything missing
- We’ll get back to the content rating, which requires you to fill out a questionnaire
- Click on Save Draft to save your app information and let’s move onto the next steps
Upload the APK or app bundle files for your app
Make sure you've got everything ready that you need (unique bundle ID, signed app release, and expansion files in the case of a large app) to release your app.
- Go to the App releases section from the left menu.
You are given the option of the type of release. Production is the final release to submit a live version of your final app to the Google Play store. Beta and Alpha releases give you the opportunity to test your app and receive valuable feedback to make improvements to your app before a final release.
- After selecting the type of release, you will be redirected to the next page. Click on Create Release to go to the New release to production page
- Choose whether you want to use Google Play app signing on your app or click on OPT-OUT to ignore and sign in locally
- Click on Browse Files
- Choose your app’s APK or App Bundle files to upload
- Click on Review at the bottom right of the page. This confirms and submits your app’s release information
Before sending your app out, it needs a content rating and a distribution and pricing plan.
Set your app’s content rating
- To set your app’s content rating, you will need to go to the Content rating page from the left menu
- Click on Continue
- Enter your email address and confirm it
- From the options, select your app category
- Go ahead and start filling in the survey for your app rating. This is basically to help Google identify if there is any explicit content in your app
- Click on Save Questionnaire
- Click on Calculate Rating. This will show you the app rating your app will have on the Play Store
- Click on Apply Rating to confirm your app’s content rating
Set pricing and a distribution plan
If you plan to have users pay for the app you will need to set the pricing. Also, your app can be distributed to selected countries instead of a worldwide release.
- Go to the Pricing & distribution page from the left menu
- Select whether you want your app to be FREE or PAID. For more details on the paid option check here
- Select Available for the countries you want your app released in. Select the Unavailable option otherwise
- If your app is suitable for children under the age of 13, select Yes for Primary Child-Detected. Otherwise, select No
- If your app contains ads, check Yes for Contains ads. If not, check No
Publish your app
Now that the entire checklist is done and we’re ready to release the app.
- Go back to App releases from the left menu
- Click on Manage Production (otherwise if you’re releasing a beta or alpha build select that instead)
- Click on Edit Release
- Then click on Review at the bottom right on the page
- Click Start rollout to production to finalise
- Finally, click Confirm when prompted
Congratulations! You’ve now successfully rolled out your app, and it will send all its information to Google for review. It usually takes approx. two hours for your app to be published on the Google Play Store in the countries that you’ve selected.