This checklist brings together the processes you should follow to ensure your app is launched successfully. The tasks are numbered to give you an idea of the normal sequence in which they would be actioned. However, you can handle the tasks in any sequence that works for you and skip steps as appropriate.
- Understand the Developer Program Policies. The Developer Program Policies are designed to ensure that the Play store remains a trusted resource for Android users. Review the policies thoroughly as there are consequences for violations.
- Prepare your developer account. Sign up for a developer account and check your developer account details are accurate. If you're going to sell products, set up your merchant account.
- Plan for localization. If you plan on including localized copies of your app at launch, start planning early and follow the Localization checklist.
- Plan for simultaneous releases. Releasing your app on multiple platforms and devices maximizes your promotion activities and the number of installs, so include it in your development plans upfront. If you can't launch your app on all platforms at once, ask for users' contact details and let them know when your app is ready.
- Test against the quality guidelines. Quality guidelines for all apps plus specific criteria for tablet, TV, and Auto apps provide testing templates. You use these to confirm that your apps offer the basic UI design, features, and functions expected by Android users.
- Target a recent API level. Google Play will require that new apps target at least Android 8.0 (API level 26) from August 2018, and that app updates target Android 8.0 from November 2018.
- Build your Android App Bundle. When you're ready to make your app available to users, either for testing or as a final product, build your Android App Bundle in Android Studio. Google Play's Dynamic Delivery will use your app bundle to generate, sign and serve optimized APKs for each user's device, resulting in a smaller app to download and install.
- Run internal tests. Use the internal test track to push your app to up to 100 internal testers to get feedback before making your app available to external users in the closed, open, or production tracks. Use multiple closed test tracks for different versions of your app before pushing them to open test tracks or production.
- Build interest in your app or game with pre-registration and set up a custom pre-registration listing page.
- Upload your Android App Bundle to the closed or an open test track. Closed and open testing tracks can help greatly in discovering issues with your app, giving you the opportunity to fix those issues and raise the quality of your initial release. Learn how to upload an Android App Bundle and learn about best practices for open tests.
- Define your app's device compatibility. Let the Play store know which Android versions and device screen sizes your app is designed to work on.
- Check the pre-launch reports. When you upload an Android App Bundle to the closed or open track, you'll receive a pre-launch report. With this report you can identify the issues found after your app is tested automatically on a wide-range of real devices running different versions of Android.
- Setup your app's price and countries of distribution. Once you've determined your monetization model, setup your app as free or paid and select the countries in which it will be distributed.
- Opt- in to the right distribution options. From the pricing & distribution page, opt-in to specific devices and programs, such as Wear OS by Google, Android TV, and Designed for families. Google Play can then review your app and, once approved, make it more discoverable for users.
- Set up your in-app products and subscriptions. Confirm the countries you can sell into and currency and tax issues to consider. Then set up your merchant account and add details and prices for your in-app products and subscriptions.
- Determine your app's content rating. Providing an appropriate rating for your app is a requirement of the Developer Program Policies but, it also ensures your app gets seen by the right age-based audiences.
- Final checks and publishing. First, go back and double check you've done everything on this list. Now you're ready to publish your app to the production channel. If you're releasing an app update, use staged rollouts to release your update to progressively more users. This allows you to halt the update if you find an issue, so you can limit the number of users it affects.
- Promote your app. Start promoting your app with the Google Play badge. Check out our other marketing tools and growth best practices to start growing your audience.
- Browse and reply to user reviews. Understand what users think of your app and reply to their reviews to address any issues you might not have spotted in testing.
- Check your vitals. Android vitals shows you important information based your app running on real devices to help you understand and fix stability and performance issues. Improving your vitals will result in a better user experience, more engaged users, and higher ratings.
- Woohoo, you've launched! What next? First, take a break. Then check out our best practices on increasing engagement and retention in your app, growing your audience, and earning more revenue.