Publishing Your App to the Google Play Store

Draftbit supports publishing your app to the Google Play Store. In order to do this, you'll need to complete a few setup steps and provide us with some information. This guide details those steps.

Choose a Package Name

The package name of an Android app uniquely identifies your app on the device, in Google Play Store, and in supported third-party Android stores.

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Package Name

For example, the URL of an app page is play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.example.app123. The app's package name is com.example.app123.

The package name should use the reverse-dns name structure. For example, if the domain you will use for this app is example.com, set your package name to com.example.appname.

Once you choose your desired package name, add it to the Build Configuration section of your Google Play Store Project Settings in Draftbit.

Setting Release Status

Google Play Store requires each app to be assigned a status when created. You can set that in the Build Configuration section of your Google Play Store Project Settings in Draftbit.

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Release Status Must Match The Release Status Of Your App In The Google Play Store Console

If you choose a release status in Draftbit that doesn't much the status of your app in the Google Play Console, the build will fail to upload to your account. By default, the status will be set to "Draft" in the Google Play Console unless you choose to promote it. So, selecting "Draft" as your Draftbit release status should be the appropriate setting in most cases.

Connecting Your Expo Account

We use Expo EAS to complete the Android build and submission process on your behalf. You will need to create a free Expo account so we can do this.

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Expo Account Type

You do not need to have an Expo Organization account. A Personal account is sufficient.

Once you've created your Expo account, add that account name in your Google Play Store Project Settings in Draftbit.

Your account name can be found on your Expo account Dashboard.

Inviting Draftbit to your Expo account

You'll also need to grant Draftbit access to submit app builds on your behalf via Expo EAS.

To do this:

  • Log into your Expo account.

  • Go to Settings (found in the bottom left in your dashboard) and then to Members.

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Note on Admin Access

Draftbit will only make use of admin access to automate the publishing process for your app. You may want to limit your use of the Expo account you share with us to just Draftbit apps.

Creating a Google Play Store Developer Account

To publish to the Play Store, you'll first have to create a Google Play Store Developer account. You can do so here.

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Google Play Store Developer Account Requirements

  • A Google Play Store Developer account requires you to pay a $25 fee
  • You will need to provide an address & phone number for the account
  • You may be required to verify your account by providing a government-issued photo ID that matches the information you provided on sign-up

Creating a Google Service Account Key

In order for Draftbit to publish builds to your Google Play Store Console, you'll need to create a Google Service Account Key and upload it to your Draftbit account.

To do this:

  • Open Google Play Console and select Setup from the left-hand menu, then click API Access.
  • Once you're on the API Access page, select Choose a project to link, then either link it to an existing project if you have one, or select Create new project and then click Link project.
  • Then, click Create new service account and follow the Google Cloud Platform link in the dialog.
  • Once in the Google Cloud Console, if you don't have an existing Google Cloud Platform project, you'll need to create one. If one already exists, select it.
  • In your Google Cloud project, click Create Service Account.
  • Enter a Service account name. Pick a name that makes it easy to identify that this account is for the Google Play Store.

  • A "Service account ID" will be added automatically, but you can edit to be whatever you like.

  • Add description of your choice, then click Done.

  • Next, you'll grant your service account access to your Google Play Console Developer account. Click Select a role and choose Service Accounts > Service Account User. Note that typing in the filter text box won't return the Service Accounts role - you'll have to scroll to it.

  • You can skip the optional Step 3 and just click Done.

  • You'll now need to select Manage keys from the options button for your newly created Service Account.
  • Select Create new key
  • Select JSON and then click Create. Download the .json file and store it in a safe place.

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Store your private key in a safe place.

The JSON file you download at this step won't be available for you to download again in the future, so ensure you keep it somewhere secure and easy for you to find in the future.

  • Return to the API access page in your Google Play Console account - your new service account should now appear. If it doesn't, try clicking Refresh service accounts.

  • Next to your new service account, click the Grant access link.

  • In Account permissions, you can leave the default permissions. Then click Invite User.

Adding your Google Service Account Key to Draftbit

  • In the Draftbit builder, open your Draftbit Google Play Store Settings and upload the JSON file that was generated when you created your new Service Account Key.

Creating an app in Google Play Console

You'll need to create an App in your Google Play Console in order to upload Draftbit app binaries.

To do this:

  • Go back to your Google Play Console and navigate to the All Apps page, then click the Create app button in the upper right.
  • Select Default language, App or game, Free or paid, fill in the App name input and click Create app in the bottom right.
  • You'll be redirected to a new page, Dashboard, where you can fill in all information about your application. This step can be done later if you prefer.

Uploading your First Android App Binary (.aab)

When submitting your Android app to Google Play Store for the first time, Google requires that you manually upload it in the Google Play Console. As a result, when you first request an Android publish from Draftbit for a new app, we'll send you your app binary (.aab) and you'll need to upload it via your Google Play Console account. Future publishes for that app will be uploaded automatically by Draftbit

  • Start on your App's Dashboard. Click on Testing in the left-hand sidebar, then select Internal testing.
  • Click the Create new release button
  • Opt into App signing by Google Play. This is critical to allow Draftbit publish future app for you. Click the Continue button.
  • Click Browse Files and choose the .aab file you received from Draftbit from your computer to upload.
  • Then, enter your Release name, enter any relevant Release notes and click Review release.
  • You'll then be navigated to the Review summary view. At the top, you'll see the Errors section. If there are errors, click Show more to view the details.

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What to do about errors in your app build.

If you see errors in your app at this step, they could have several causes. Some could be issues with your app code itself, some could be related to the app settings you provided us, etc.

If you're confused about the errors you're seeing and don't know how to resolve, please...

Adding a Privacy Policy to Your App

Google requires that all apps in the Play Store have an associated Privacy Policy. If you don't have one, you may have noticed a resulting error when you uploaded your binary/.aab file the first time.

Here's how to add one:

  • Return your App's Dashboard in the Google Play Console.
  • In the left-hand sidebar, click App content. You'll see a Privacy Policy section at the top of that page - Click Start in that section.
  • Enter your Privacy Policy link in the prompt and click Save
  • Navigate back to the Internal testing page and click the Edit button for your App. You should no longer see the Privacy Policy error on the Review Summary page for your App.

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