Posted by Dom Elliott, Product Manager at Google Play

Android App Bundles logo

Since we launched the Android App Bundle in May 2018, we’ve seen our developer group embrace this new commonplace to profit from streamlined releases and superior distribution options. There are actually over 1 million apps utilizing app bundles in manufacturing, together with the vast majority of the highest 1,000 apps and video games on Google Play corresponding to Adobe, Duolingo, Gameloft, Netflix, redBus, Riafy, and Twitter.

To carry these advantages to extra customers and give attention to trendy Android distribution that advantages all builders, Google Play will begin requiring new apps to be revealed with the Android App Bundle beginning August 2021. This will exchange the APK as the usual publishing format.

Modern Android distribution

If you haven’t made the change to app bundles but, listed here are a number of the advantages you’re lacking:

  • Android App Bundle: Google Play makes use of the app bundle to generate and optimize APKs for distribution for various machine configurations and languages. This makes your app smaller (on common, 15% smaller than a common APK) and sooner to obtain, which may result in extra installs and fewer uninstalls.
  • Play App Signing: Play App Signing, which is required for app bundles, protects your app signing key from loss by utilizing Google’s safe infrastructure and gives the choice of upgrading to a brand new, cryptographically stronger app signing key.
  • Play Feature Delivery: Used by greater than 10% of the highest apps utilizing app bundles, Play Feature Delivery provides you the flexibility to customise what characteristic modules are delivered to which machine and when, with install-time, conditional, and on-demand supply modes.
  • Play Asset Delivery: Reduces person ready time by dynamically delivering giant property whereas slicing supply prices. Games utilizing Play Asset Delivery can use texture compression format focusing on, so your customers solely get the property appropriate for his or her machine, with no wasted area or bandwidth.
  • Future enhancements: Soon, Play App Signing will begin rolling out APK Signature Scheme v4 to pick out apps making it potential for them to optionally entry upcoming efficiency options accessible on newer units. Tune into the Google for Games Developer Summit on July 12 to seek out out extra.

Recap of what’s altering beginning August 2021

As a reminder, the app bundle requirement applies to new apps. Existing apps are at the moment exempt, as are personal apps being revealed to managed Google Play customers. Thanks to the 1000’s of builders who’ve been part of the app bundle journey. We sit up for bringing you extra enhancements and options quickly.

– – –

Answers to some Android App Bundle FAQs

How a lot work is required to make use of an app bundle vs an APK?

For most apps, little or no work is required to construct an AAB as a substitute of an APK. It’s largely a matter of selecting a unique choice at construct time after which testing as regular. The app bundle is an open supply format supported by main construct instruments corresponding to Android Studio, Gradle, Bazel, Buck, Cocos Creator, Unity, Unreal Engine, and different engines. Play Core Native and Play Core Java & Kotlin SDKs additionally make it straightforward to start out utilizing non-compulsory, superior app bundle options, no matter your most well-liked coding surroundings.

Why aren’t enlargement information (OBBs) supported with app bundles? Why ought to video games use Play Asset Delivery?

APKs require separate information (OBBs) to serve further sources to customers. However, as a result of OBBs are usually not signed and are saved within the app’s exterior storage, they’re not very safe. With Play Asset Delivery (PAD), video games bigger than 150MB can exchange OBBs by publishing your entire sport as a single app bundle on the Play Store. Beyond providing a smoother publishing course of and versatile supply modes, PAD carries advantages over the legacy enlargement information: its delta patching of property is optimized for giant apps which means updates require dramatically much less machine storage than OBBs. As a consequence, fast-follow drives larger set up charge and retailer conversion charge. Finally, with ASTC now supported on ~80% of units, texture compression format focusing on allows you to serve ASTC to units that help it. You can goal the widest vary of Android units whereas making environment friendly use of the accessible {hardware} and machine storage.

If I take advantage of app bundles, can I nonetheless publish by way of a number of distribution channels/app shops?

Yes, there are a number of methods to realize this. You can both use the identical app signing key all over the place or use distinctive app signing keys for various channels, together with a novel app signing key for Google Play. You can both construct and signal artifacts for all distribution channels regionally or you may obtain distribution APKs from Google Play to be used on different channels. Distribution APKs downloaded from Google Play, both by way of the app bundle explorer in Play Console or by way of the Play Developer API, are signed with the identical key utilized by Play App Signing.

I’m launching a brand new app. Can I resolve what my app signing secret is?

Yes, this feature is on the market within the Play Console. When creating a brand new app, you may select one of many choices to supply the app signing key that Google makes use of. This lets you make a copy of your app signing key regionally, for instance to generate signed variations for distribution by way of different channels utilizing the identical key because the Play model. Soon, the Play Console will make releasing an app for the primary time just a little simpler by supplying you with the flexibility to vary your app signing key when you make a mistake, so long as you do it earlier than you publish to an open monitor the primary time.

When distributing apps on Google Play, how do I guarantee my app is delivered to customers the way in which I intend?

At any time, you may obtain and examine artifacts from the Play Store, from the app bundle explorer within the Play Console, and by way of the Play Developer API to confirm your app. In addition, code transparency for app bundles is a brand new, non-compulsory characteristic that can be utilized to examine that code working on a tool matches the code that was initially constructed and signed by the developer.

I’ve an app revealed on Google Play already. Can I begin utilizing Play App Signing with out offering a duplicate of my present app signing key?

To use Play App Signing right now it’s a must to present a duplicate of your present app signing key as a result of Google Play wants a duplicate of it to signal and ship updates to your present customers. This fits most builders, over 1M apps are utilizing Play App Signing in manufacturing. Soon, we’ll add an extra choice for present apps to decide in to Play App Signing by performing a key improve. Choosing this feature means Play App Signing can use a brand new, distinctive key for all new installs and their updates. However, for this to work, if you add an app bundle, you additionally have to add a legacy APK signed along with your previous key in order that Google Play can proceed to ship updates to your present customers.

Can I ever change my app signing key?

Yes, some apps can request an app signing key improve for brand new installs in Play Console. Google Play will use your new key to signal new installs and app updates whereas utilizing your legacy app signing key to signal updates for customers who put in your app earlier than the important thing improve. Soon, Play App Signing key improve may even add help for APK Signature Scheme v3 key rotation. This will make key improve a potential choice for extra apps and assist apps signed with upgraded keys attain extra customers.