Android App Distribution Tutorial: From Zero to Google Play Store

Learn how to generate a release build of your app, create a Google Play Store listing and finally release your app on the Play Store. By arjuna sky kok.

Leave a rating/review
Download materials
Save for later
You are currently viewing page 2 of 3 of this article. Click here to view the first page.

Creating a Signed Bundle

The App Bundle is a new delivery format for Android apps that helps to deliver an optimized version of your APK. It only includes what your users need. This reduces your app size, which is a plus for many users. It means that your users will receive a special version of your APK that only includes the language, screen density and resources they need per unique user configuration.

Now it’s time for you to create your own Android app bundle. Just like in the previous section, select Build ▸ Generate Signed Bundle / APK…. When you’re asked to choose between building an Android App Bundle or an APK, select Android App Bundle.

Android App Bundle keystore connection

Notice that there’s a difference between the window you build an APK with and the window you build an AAP with, though. There’s an option to export an encrypted key. When building an APK, it’s not needed. As before, choose the keystore path, enter an alias name and passwords, and click Next. Then, choose Build Variant and click Finish. You’re already a pro at this! :]

When the packaging process is complete, Android Studio will notify you that your bundle is ready and let you browse it in the File Manager.

Android Studio app bundle generated notification

Note: For more information about Android App Bundles and what the encrypted key does, take a look at Android App Bundles: Getting Started.

Using the Google Play Developer Console

Finally, you’re ready to start the process of sharing your app with other people. In the browser, sign in to your Google account.

Note: If you don’t already have an account, create one here: Google Accounts.

Then, navigate to Google Play Developer Console.

Next, agree to the Google Play Developer distribution agreement, pay the one-time $25 fee and then complete your profile with the required personal information.

Now you’re ready to start publishing apps on Google Play. Click Create app.

A page with the Create app button

Specify the default language for the app, the app name, the app category and whether the app is free or paid.

The page with required data fields

Then, check all the fields in the Declarations section. Finally, click Create app.

The Declarations section

This creates a draft store listing for your app. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the information and options. There’s not that much left for you to do.

If you take a look at the Publish your app on Google Play section, you can see that this part is locked.

A page with the Publish your App button

You have to complete the initial setup tasks first. So what are the initial setup tasks? Take a look at the Set up your app section.

Set Up Your App

Here is the list of tasks you need to do before you continue:

  • Set up app access and content rating.
  • Set up app target audience and news apps.
  • Set up COVID-19 contact tracing and status apps.
  • Select an app category and provide contact details.
  • Finally, you must set up your store listing.

Answering Questions About App Access

Google wants to know whether you restrict some functionality of your app. For example, you might limit certain functionality based on a user’s location. In this case, select the All functionality is available without special access option.

The All functionality is available option

Answering Questions About Content Ratings

To receive a rating for your app, you first need to answer a few questions about its suitability for children, level of violence, and more.

After selecting Content ratings, click Start questionnaire.

Content Ratings Page with the Start questionnaire button

In the beginning, you must give your email address and choose the category of your app.

Content Ratings

In this case, choose Utility, Productivity, Communication, or Other. For this app, you can select No for all the questions.

Other questions

On the Summary page, you’ll see a rating for all ages for some countries and age 3 for other countries.

Content Ratings Summary

Answering Questions About Target Audience and Content

Before finishing this section, you must also complete the Ads section. BookFinder doesn’t display ads.

Fulfiling Ads option

Then, you can determine the target age for your app. Click Start in the Target audience and content section:

App Content

Select 18 and over.

Target Audience and Content

Because your target audience doesn’t include children, you must declare whether you think your app might unintentionally appeal to children. After making a selection, click Next.

Target Audience and Content

Answering Questions About News Apps

The BookFinder is not a news app. So, select No for this section:

The option for setting the app as News App

Answering Questions About COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Status Apps

The BookFinder has nothing to do with COVID-19, so select the My app is not a publicly available COVID-19 contact tracing or status app option.

COVID-19 contact tracing or status

Choosing Store Settings

In this section, you will provide some information about your app. Choose App in the App or game field. Then choose Productivity in the Category field:

App Category

Next, provide your contact information.

Contact Details

Enter a short description of no more than 80 characters and a full description of no more than 4,000 characters. Google Play Store will show each of these descriptions in different places of your app listing.

App Details

Note: For your own app, you’ll want to create as engaging a description as possible, so start thinking about this early in the development process!

When you’re finished with this, scroll down a little and you’ll see that the Google Play Console asks you to upload graphic assets for your app.

You’ll need to upload a 512×512 high-resolution version of the app icon and a 1024×500 feature graphic to display at the top of the page.

If you’re using this sample app, use these resources:

When you upload your app icon, you’ll see a small thumbnail of how it will look when listed on the Play Store.

Graphics of App

Next, you have to provide at least two screenshots of your app. You can provide up to a maximum of eight images per form factor: phone, tablet, Android TV and Wear OS.

If you have the app on an Android device, you can simply take screenshots straight from the device.

If you prefer to use an emulator for the screenshots, you can easily do that, too. Build and run the app and navigate to the screen you want to use. With the app opened in Android emulator, click the camera icon on the top menu.

Android emulator taking screenshot

By default, the emulator will save this screenshot to the Desktop. Now, you can upload it to the Google Play Console.