How To Upload an App to Google Play Store
Google Play Store is both a popular and dominant means of getting your mobile app in the hands of users. Boasting higher numbers than the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store released about 90,000 apps in June 2022. Backed by these stats, uploading your application on Google Play seems like a no-brainer.
If you’re wondering how to submit an app to Google Play, you’ve come to the right place. This guide covers the Google Play process for Android app owners.
Publish Your App to Google Play in Just 8 Steps
1. Create Your Developer Account
Your developer account is crucial for uploading your Android application to the Google Play Store. Google Play Console is a central dashboard for your developer account where you can submit Google Play Store apps. When opening your account, you’ll pay a one-time $25.00 fee, but after that, you can submit apps for free.
Complete all the credentials, including your name, country, and other information. After submitting these details, you’ll need to wait up to 48 hours for Google to approve your application.
2. Link Paid Apps to Google Wallet
A merchant account automatically links to your Google Play Console developer account. The merchant account enables you to manage your app’s sales. But, you only need to complete this step if your app supports in-app purchases—otherwise, skip to step 3.
Sign in to your developer account on Google Play Console to create a merchant account. Select Reports, and next, Financial Reports. Then, click Set up a merchant account now. Finally, add your details to your Google account.
3. Create Your Google Play Store App
A quick note before you start here: Google doesn’t allow you to convert a free mobile app into a paid one, so if your new application is free, know this decision is permanent. However, you can change the app’s price if you so desire.
To create your app, log in to your Google Play developer console. Then, go to All applications, a tab in the menu, and select Create Application. Provide the following details:
- Your app’s default language.
- The name of your app as it will appear on the Google Play Store (which you can change later).
- Whether your app is an app or a game.
- Whether your app is a free app or a paid app.
- The email address where users can contact you.
Next, you’ll need to complete the Declarations section, acknowledging the required policies and laws. You’ll also need to accept the Signing Terms of Service.
Finally, click Create.
4. Set Up Your Google Play Store Listing
Once you’ve created your app, you can begin setting up the details for your Google Play Store listing. It’s hard to capture the attention of a potential customer without a great app store listing—so you’ll want to spend ample time performing app store optimization. Here’s where to focus:
- Keywords—consider your app’s primary functions and the pain points it soothes. Try including a few keyword synonyms as they help plant your app in your specific market for your app listing.
- Short Descriptions—only 80 characters of your description are visible to users unless they opt to read more. This text must be compelling. Make sure you include one or more keywords, as well.
- Visuals—create a promo video to show functionality and usability. If you use app screenshots instead, creating a feature graphic that includes the screenshot plus some descriptive text above it can be helpful.
When ready, select Dashboard from the left-hand menu in Play Console. Follow the guides to complete the details you’ve prepared for your Play Store listing.
5. Upload Your Android App Bundle
As of August 2021, Google Play requires new apps to publish with the Android App Bundle. Google Play uses these bundles to deliver device-optimized APKs that make apps more efficient. To support optimized APKs for multiple Android device configurations, you need to build, sign, and upload only one bundle. Google Play then uses it to serve your app’s distribution APKs and manage them for you.
Before approaching this step in your Google Play Console account, ensure you have a unique bundle ID and a signed app. For large apps, you’ll also need expansion files. You can use Android Studio to prepare your app release. For additional details on release preparation, see the Android Developers site.
Once you have these items ready, you’re ready to upload APK bundle files in your Android package kit. From the left menu in Play Console, navigate to App releases. Now, you’ll need to choose the type of release:
- Production—the final release to submit a live version of your finalized app to your Google Play account.
- Beta & Alpha Releases—these include internal test, close test, and open test, allowing you to test your app before the final release.
In this instance, we’re submitting a production-ready release for your uploaded app, so select the Production track and click Create Release.
After selecting the type of release, you’ll be redirected to the New release to the production page. From here, choose whether to use Google Play app signing or opt out to sign locally.
Select Browse Files, and select your bundle or APK file to upload. Follow the on-screen instructions to name your release and provide release notes. At the bottom of the page, click Review to confirm and submit your app’s release information. When everything is complete, click Save.
6. Apply Your Content Rating
This next step is crucial: Google doesn’t allow apps without a content rating on its store. Complete the rating questionnaire to prevent your app from an “Unrated” listing.
Per Google developer program policies, content ratings inform consumers of potentially objectionable content and enable filtering and blocking of content from users’ Google Play accounts where the law requires it. The rating questionnaire asks about the nature of your apps’ content and then assigns a content rating based on your responses. Misrepresentation can result in removal or suspension from the store—so it’s essential to be accurate.
When ready to complete the questionnaire, go to the Content rating page on Play Console and click Continue. Enter and confirm your email address. Select your app category, then complete the survey. When you’re done, click Save Questionnaire, then select Calculate Rating. You’ll see your app’s rating on the Google Play Store. To confirm your app’s content rating, click Apply Rating.
7. Set App Pricing & Distribution
Every app needs a pricing and distribution plan. Assigning a price to your app is a critical step. With distribution, you can control where you distribute your app geographically—e.g., to select countries instead of a worldwide release.
When your plan is determined, navigate to Pricing & distribution on the left menu from Play Console. Choose whether your app is FREE or if it is PAID. Check Available for countries where you want to release your app and Unavailable where you don’t want it released.
Additionally, if your app is suitable for children 13 years or younger, select Yes for “Primary Child-Detected.” If not, choose No. Similarly, select whether your app contains ads.
8. Publish Your App
When you’re ready to release your mobile app into the wild, you have this last step to complete. On Play Console’s left menu, go back to App releases for release management. Click Manage Production, Edit Release, and select Review from the bottom right of the page. Select Start rollout to production, and when prompted, click Confirm.
That’s it! The only thing left to do is to wait for the approval. This can take some time, so be patient. According to Google, due to adjusted work schedules, review times may be longer than usual. In our experience, the first review of a Google Play app takes roughly one week to complete, give or take a few days—but subsequent reviews are much quicker. You can check your app store status in Play Console anytime.
Google Play Submission: Concluding Thoughts
Congratulations on submitting your app! We hope this guide has helped you through the process. Working with an app development partner like InspiringApps can make it even more seamless. We’re ready to help as a dedicated resource when you need it.
In the meantime, check out these additional free resources: