Like anything worthwhile, publishing an Android app takes a lot of time, work, and dedication. That said, it’s a great way to get your big ideas out there, especially if your idea can help solve the problems that many of us face. Read on for five steps you can take to publish your Android app!
1. Create Google Developer and Merchant Accounts
Before creating an app, you must first create a Google Developer Account. To do this, use any of your Google accounts (or create a new one) to sign up for the Google Developer account. Note: you can sign up using a private account or a business account, and if you’d like, you can transfer the app to another account later on.
Here are some of the steps to becoming a Google Developer:
- Sign the Google Play Developer distribution agreement
- List your personal information
- Pay a registration fee of $25 (this is a one-time fee)
Once you’ve done that, it takes up to two days for you to get approval from Google. If you forget to list some information, you can edit it later.
Planning to sell your app or offer in-app purchases? In that case, you’ll need to create a Google Merchant account. From this account, you’ll be able to manage your monthly payouts, analyze sales reports, and manage your app sales. When you’ve finished this step, your Developer account will be automatically linked to it.
2. Do Research on Policies and Requirements
An inevitable part of app development is the legal paperwork, but you’ve also got to know the Google Developer Policies and technical requirements of creating an app.
An End User License Agreement is an agreement between you as the owner and the user of the product. It should feature:
- Info on what users can and shouldn’t do with the app
- Licensing fee information
- Information about intellectual property, etc.
- Technical info that the app collects about the device and OS
- Functional features of the app (both paid and free)
- A list of all the personal data that’s collected, processed, or used by the app
- Age criteria for the app, and whether specific types of content are featured
- Terms of subscription
- The citizenship of the majority of your app users
- The legal system/legislation that will be used to resolve disputes
- The place of registration of the company
- Location of the copyright holder of the app
Google Developer Policies
Double-check the Google Developer Policies to ensure that your app idea doesn’t violate them. Neglecting this step could mean that your app is rejected, blocked, or deleted from Google Play. If you violate policy too many times, your Google Developer account could be terminated.
Here’s the info you should look into:
- App store listing/promotion
- Monetization and ad rules
- The definition of restricted content
- Intellectual property and impersonation
- Spam and minimum functionality required
- Regulations regarding deception, security, and privacy
Check these things on a regular basis to ensure compliance, even after your app is published.
A lot of development, testing, and bug fixing goes into creating an up. Before you can upload it, though, there are a few more things to look into:
- App size. For Android 2.3 and higher, apps must be no larger than 100MB. For lower Android versions, apps must be no larger than 50 MB. If your application is larger than this try switching to APK Expansion Files.
- File format. Google allows two different release formats: app bundle (.aab) and APK (.apk), but they prefer the app bundle format. To use it, you must enroll in app signing.
- Signed app release with certificate. Every app should be digitally signed with a developer’s certificate. This identifies the author of the app and can’t be generated again, ensuring the app is genuine.
- Unique Bundle ID. Set the package name in the app’s manifest file. Choose wisely, though: It can’t be changed once you begin distributing the app.
3. Create the App on Google Console
Creating your app is easy – just follow these simple steps:
- Click the “All applications” tab in the menu
- Choose “Create application”
- Select the default language for the app from the drop-down
- Add an app description (don’t overthink this – you can edit it later)
- Click “Create”
- Add app data into the store entry page
The Store Listing page contains important info that will allow users and app software to learn who your app can help, what your features are, and the type of functionality to expect.
Required fields include:
- Short description
- Full description
- Feature graphic
- App type
- Content rating
There are specific details about what to include on the Store Listing page, but that’s a basic overview.
4. Figure Out Content Rating and Price
If you don’t want your app to be unrated (which can lead to removal), you need to pass the rating questionnaire that can be found on the left side of the menu.
Provide accurate info and click “Save Questionnaire” when you’re done, then click “Calculate Rating.” Apply the rating to confirm it.
Next, go to the “Pricing and distribution” section and fill out the following details:
- Whether your application is paid or free
- The countries in which the app will be available
- Whether the application has content that’s not suitable for children under 13 years
- The devices on which the app will be available
- Whether your application has ads
Note: you can change a paid app to a free one, but you cannot switch from a free app to a paid one. If you’d like to start distributing the application for money, you’ll have to create another application.
5. Upload and Send for Review
After all of that, you’re ready for the best part: uploading your Android app file. Go to the “App releases” section on the left side of the screen. There are three track options for you there: Production, Alpha, and Beta.
It’s best to choose Alpha or Beta testing, since it allows you to recruit others to test out the app first and give you their feedback as to how it works. Alpha testing ensures that only the ones you invite will help test the app, and Beta allows anyone to join your testing program and send feedback. Choose the option that seems best to you.
If you choose Alpha or Beta testing and feel you’ve gotten enough feedback to enter the Production stage, keep in mind that you’ll need to go through another review round.
Once you’ve chosen the release type, do the following:
- Click “Manage”
- Select “Edit Release”
- Upload a .apk or .aab file
The first time you release your app, you can delete the “What’s new in this release?” field. Finally, click “Review” to confirm the changes, and click “Start rollout to production” to send your app for review.
Once the app’s been reviewed, you’ll get a Google Console Dashboard notification.
Promote Your App with the Matcha QR Code Generator
Did you know we’ve made some apps, too? You can use our QR Code Generator to promote your app and allow users to download it as soon as they scan the code! You can also send users to your website, landing pages, the possibilities are endless. And if you decide to market your app, we’d be happy to help!