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Add apps using Managed Google Play

The Managed Google Play (MGP) platform provides enterprises with the capability to curate a store of apps intended for use in the work profile or fully managed profile of its managed Android devices. Apps added to an enterprise's MGP can only be installed inside managed profiles on the device, meaning the work profile of a personally-owned device, the main profile of a company-owned device, or the primary profile of a fully managed device. The device user can browse your tenant's MGP store in the Google Play Store app running in the managed profile. You can assign MGP apps to automatically install to the managed profile, or make them available as optional apps that the device user can install as needed.

There are three different types of apps on the MGP platform:

  • Public apps are apps sourced from the public Google Play platform. These apps are the same as the apps available to the general public in the Google Play Store app. Some public apps support managed configurations, which are tweakable parameters that the app developer provides for you to customize the app's experience for your device users.
  • Private apps are apps sourced from app packages (APKs) that you upload to the MGP platform for internal use in your enterprise. These apps are only available on your MGP store, and aren't broadcast to the general public. Like public apps, they also support managed configurations. Private apps are meant for enterprises that have enough resources to ensure the availability and continuous versioning of individual APKs.
  • Web apps are apps hosted on web pages. These apps are built, deployed, and run entirely using web technologies rather than lower-level native OS code, but can be made to look and feel like native apps.

Add an app to your MGP store

There are three stages in the process of adding an app to your MGP store:

  1. Select the platform and app type
  2. Enter the app details
  3. Configure the app

1. Select the platform and app type

First, select the Android platform and app type:

  1. On the Knox Manage console, go to Application, then click Add. The Select Application Type dialog opens.
  2. For the Platform, select Android & Wear OS. For Type & Source, select Public and Managed Google Play (Store, Private, Web).
  3. Click OK. The Google Play console opens inside a dialog.

    The Google Play console inside a dialog on the Knox Manage console, providing the user with options for adding public, private, and web apps

  4. In the Google Play dialog, select an app type:

2. Enter the app details

Next, add the chosen app type by entering its required details, which vary per type:

Public app

  1. Search for and select an app on the Google Play Store. The app's details open, including the required device access permissions.
  2. Click Select to save the app details and proceed. By clicking, you acknowledge that you understand which access permissions the app requires from your fleet's devices. The Google Play dialog closes, and the app configuration page opens.

Private app

  1. Enter a Title for the app as it should appear in your MGP store and the Knox Manage console. The title can differ from the title in the manifest of the APK file. When you first add this APK file, this setting controls the default name of the package, for cases when the app is added to your tenant multiple times under different names and configurations.
  2. Click Upload APK and select an APK file from your file system for upload. It may take several minutes to upload the file. Because private apps are APK files that require manual uploadeding and updating, there are several checks in place to ensure compatibility after the upload is complete:

    • An APK must have a unique package name in its manifest. An example package name is com.android.chrome. If your APK has a package name that matches one belonging to another private app in your tenant or on public Google Play, the dialog asks you to re-upload it with a different package name. Renaming the APK file doesn't act as a workaround.
    • The APK must be signed. If you upload an unsigned APK, the dialog asks you to re-upload a signed copy of it.
  3. (Optional) Click Make advanced edits to open the Google Play console in a new tab and add a detailed description, screenshots, and other information about the app for display in the MGP store.
  4. Click Create to save the app details. The Google Play dialog closes, and the app configuration page opens.

Web app

  1. Enter a Title for the app. The title can differ from the web page title.
  2. Enter the URL where the app is hosted.
  3. Select a Display for the app, or in other words its layout, while it runs on the device:

    • Full screen — The app's UI occupies the whole screen, like a native app's UI, without any persistent navigation or status bars.
    • Standalone — The navigation and status bars overlay the app.
    • Minimal UI — The navigation, status, and URL bars overlay the app. In effect, the app runs as if it were inside a web browser.
  4. Click Create to save the app details. The Google Play dialog closes, and the app configuration page opens. It may take several minutes for the app to sync on the console.

3. Configure the app

Lastly, configure the app:

  1. Configure the settings for the app:

    • Name — Enter the name for the app as shown on the device. The name doesn't need to match the app's title in MGP.
    • Unassign Option — Select if you want the app to uninstall when it's unassigned from the device.
  2. Save the app:

    • Click Save to save the app and return to the app list.
    • Click Save & Assign to save the app and immediately assign the app to groups or organizations. For details on how to assign an app, see Assign Managed Google Play apps.

4. Approve the app

IMPORTANT — From August 17 to September 1, 2022, PDT, Knox Manage will be completing the transition to a newer Google API for device management, and will be unable to automatically approve apps on your behalf on the Google Play console. During this brief transition period, you must manually approve apps on the Google Play console after you add them with Knox Manage. After September 1, the apps will be approved automatically after you add them, as intended.

Modify the details of a private app or web app

After a private or web app is added to MGP, you might want to modify its details later over the course of business. Any of the app's details you entered while adding it can be modified. In the case of private apps, this includes updating the APK.

To modify a private or web app:

  1. Click Modify Private & Web. A dialog opens and prompts you to select which type of MGP app you'd like to modify.
  2. Select the MGP app type — Managed Google Play Private (private app) or Managed Google Play Private Web (web app) — then click OK.
  3. Select the app.
  4. Edit the app's details. For private apps, that can include uploading a new APK, and for web apps, that can include updating the URL.

Organize apps

MGP grants you to organize apps into categories, which helps the device user sort through the available apps in the managed Google Play Store app on the device. You can add apps to collections, which are custom app categories for your tenant. On the front page of the Google Play Store app, the apps are listed by collection.

IMPORTANT — You can only add an app to a collection after it has been added to your MGP store and approved. Between August 17 to September 1, 2022, PDT, you must a manually approve apps on the Google Play console.

You can manage app collections and add members to them whenever you add or modify apps through the Google Play dialog on the Knox Manage console. For detailed instructions, see Organize apps into collections in the Managed Google Play Help.

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