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How to publish an Android app to the Play Store

Updated on August 9, 2017
FV Imagination profile image

iOS and Android Mobile Apps developer. From Italy with Love. Check out my portfolio of apps on my website.

About the Google Play Store

Google Play, which was originally born and named as Android Market, is the Google's official store for Android apps, games and books for Android phones, tablets or Android TV devices. Just as Apple has its own App Store, Google has the Google Play Store.

The Play Console is the web interface that allows you to upload signed APK's of your apps and publish them to the Play Store. Keep reading to see how to do this process and have your apps live on the Google Play Store.


Generate a Signed APK with Android Studio

Android Studio is the perfect IDE to build Android apps, is powered by Google and it has a nice Design interface that helps you a lot on editing layout without editing the xml code. It also has built-in features to check and correct your Java code in case of errors on typing or importing libraries in your project.

So, I assume you already have your project opened in Android Studio and you've carefully tested it on a real device before getting ready to publish it on the Play Store. I'll be using a basic project I've created as an example for this tutorial, now let's create a Signed APK before getting into the Play Console and publish your app.

1. Click on Build -> Generate Signed APK.

Open the Signed APK generator window
Open the Signed APK generator window


2. In the Generate Signed APK popup window, click Next


3. Since you haven't created a Key store path yet, click on Create new...

4. In the next popup window, click on the ••• button and select a folder where you want to store your .jks file. Type a name for that file in the text field on the bottom and hit OK.


5. Now that your Key store path is set, you need to set a password for it, so type your desired password and confirm it in the text fields below the Key store path.

6. in the Key section, leave the Alias as it is (key0), and type a password for it as well - you may enter the same password you've set for the Key store path, or type another one. Just remember your password in case of future updates.

7. Leave Validity (years) as it is - the default value if 25 years.

8. The other fields are optional unless the First and Last Name one, so you're free to fill all of them or just the one with your full name.

9 Finally, click OK.

Generate Key store path popup window
Generate Key store path popup window


10. You'll be redirected to the first popup window where you can check your Key store details. If everything is fine for you, check the Remember passwords button and hit Next.

Check if your Key store data are ok
Check if your Key store data are ok


11. The next popup you'll get is the last one. By default, Android Studio sets the APK Destination Folder as the app folder inside your project fodler. You're free to change it if you want to do so by clicking on the ••• button on the right side, otherwise just leave it as it is.

12. Leave Build Type as is it - release - since what you're creating is a Singed APK to be uploaded to the Play Store.

13. Ignore the Flavors box, it's not needed at all.

14. Select V1 (Jar Signature) in the Signature Versions section

15. Click Finish to let Android Studio generate the Signed APK of your app.

Last step to generate a Singed APK
Last step to generate a Singed APK


It may take up to 1-2 minutes to Android Studio to build your APK, you may check its process on the bottom of the Android Studio's window, you'll see a blue progress bar next to a rotating wheel and the Gradle Build Running statement.

Once the process will be done, a small popup will show up in the bottom-right corner of your window with a link to your generated APK. The name of your APK will be app-release.apk. You're free to rename it as you wish, just be careful in case you're using a Mac because you may accidentally rename your file without leaving the extension's name - .apk -. Windows OS lets you rename files and hit enter without overwriting the file extension.

You're ready to finally enter your Google Play Console and start the publishing process of your app!


Publish your app on the Google Play Console

I assume you already have a Google account and you've paid the $25 fee to be able to publish apps on the Play Store. In case you still have to subscribe for it and create a Play Store account, read this guide.

1. Click All Applications on the left menu of your Play Console page to see a list of your current apps (published or still in pending status), and click CREATE APPLICATION.

Your Applications page on the Play Console
Your Applications page on the Play Console


2. A popup window will show up, where you'll have to select the primary language of your application and type a title.

Click CREATE when you're done.

Set Language and Title for your app
Set Language and Title for your app


3. You'll be redirected to the Store listing section, where you'll have to set the app descriptions and images.

  • In the Tile field, type your application name
  • In the Short description field, type a brief phrase that should capture users attention
  • The Full description box is where you have to write as much details as you can about your app. Be descriptive, let your users understand what your application does and how it works, your description must have max. 4000 characters
  • In the Screenshots section, the page shows you the dimensions and type of images you can upload for your app icon and screenshots, based on the device type - PHONE - TABLET - ANDROID TV or ANDROID WEAR. Please note that the fields with * are required, the other ones are optional.
  • If you've recorded a video of your app, you should upload it to YouTube and paste the URL of such video in the Promo Video field.
  • In the Categorization section, select the type of your application - App or Game - and its Category.
  • Skip the Content rating for now, you'll edit it later.
  • In the Contact details section, type the link to your website - or the one you've made for your application, like a landing page - and a valid email address where Google reviewers can contact you in case of rejection or other info requests.
  • Lastly, if you have created a web page with a Privacy Policy, paste its link to the relative section.
  • When you're done, click on SAVE DRAFT on the top of the page.


4. Click on App releases and scroll down to find the MANAGE PRODUCTION button. Click on it to open the Production screen where you'll create the release of your app.


App releases section
App releases section


5. Scroll down and click on CREATE RELEASE.


6. In the Google Play App Signing section, you may either click ENROLL to enable Google to optimize your APK or NOT NOW to skip that step and directly upload your APK. The choice is yours, either way it won't affect your app's publishing process.

7. Scroll down to Release name and type a name to identify your release, it's for internal use only so you may type your app name and its version, for example.

8. In the What's new in this release section just type something about your app, if it's your first release then you may type something like "First release, V.1", or whatever you like.

9. Scroll up again and finally click on UPLOAD APK, a popup window will show up and you'll have to drag and drop the signed .apk file you've previously created.

10. Wait for the upload process to be done, click SAVE DRAFT in the popup window with the details of your app version and size.

11. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, click SAVE and then REVIEW.


Upload your APK
Upload your APK


12. Switch now to the Content rating section, read the terms about it and click CONTINUE.

Content ratings page
Content ratings page


13. In the Content Rating Questionnaire, type twice your email address - must be a valid one where you can receive emails - then scroll down and select your application category.

14. Select the options relative to your app about Violence, Fear, etc., choose either Yes or No in all sections based on how your app looks like and what content is displays

15. When you're done, click SAVE QUESTIONNAIRE and then CALCULATE RATING.

16. Review your ratings, scroll down and click APPLY RATING.

Apply your app rating page
Apply your app rating page


17. Now it's time to edit the Price & distribution section, so click on it in the left menu.

18. Select the pricing type - free or paid. Please note that if you want to publish a paid app you need to set up a merchant account.

19. Select the countries where you want your app to be available, if you want to select the whole world, just click the Available radio button.

Pricing & distribution section
Pricing & distribution section


20. Scroll down to Primarily Child-Directed section and select if your app is for kids or not.

21. Select the Yes for Contains ads if your app serves AdMob or other ad monetization services, otherwise select No.

22. Scroll down to Content guidelines and US export laws sections and check both radio buttons.
23. Scroll up to the top of the page and click SAVE DRAFT.

Content guidelines and US laws
Content guidelines and US laws

You-re ready to publish your app!

Excited?

If you are feeling like that, I totally agree with you, publishing your first app is always a great experience and we all expect our works to get visible and well downloaded in the Play Store, so now click on App releases section again and on EDIT RELEASE button.

Scroll down and click the REVIEW button. In the next page, scroll down and click START ROLLOUT TO PRODUCTION.

Finally, you'll be just a click away from getting your app published on the Play Store: click on CONFIRM and your app will go under review. Usually it takes just a few hours - even less - to your app to get published and visible in the Store.

Conclusion


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, don't forget to read my other tutorials and my app template on CodeCanyon as well!

© 2017 FV iMAGINATION

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