How to install Android apps without signing up on Play Store?

Description

Installing Play Store apps on corporate devices is a tedious task for Administrators, as they need to setup the device, sign up with a Google account in Play Store and then install the apps. The other alternative of making the device users install apps is equally tedious, as user may add their personal Google accounts, may not have installed the apps etc., MDM solves this issue by ensuring all the apps are automatically installed after the initial setup of fresh devices, without the need to configure Play Store. Another advantage is, the apps can be installed silently on devices without any user intervention/action. Multiple apps can be seamlessly installed on several devices ensuring all the managed devices have the specified set of apps installed.

Steps

  • On the MDM Server, navigate to Admin tab and select Configure AfW, under the section Android for Work Settings.
  • Select Register without G Suite and follow the on-screen instructions to configure Android for Work in MDM, using a Google Account. Learn more about configuring AfW without using G Suite here
  • Now, approve the apps as explained here. On the MDM server, navigate to Device Mgmt and select App Repository. Click on Sync Apps and select Sync Play Store Apps from the dropdown. All the approved apps get added to the app repository. Navigate to Groups & Devices and select the group to which you want to associate the apps. Click on Distribute Apps, add the apps and click on Save Changes to associate it to the selected groups.  
  • A corporate Google account is automatically added to the Play Store on all managed devices provisioned as Profile Owner/Device Owner. The user can neither remove this account nor add any account to Play Store. 
  • If you want the device user to add additional accounts and/or download apps other than the ones distributed, you need to apply a policy to allow adding user accounts. This can be done by navigating to Device Mgmt on the MDM server and clicking on Profiles. Click on Create Profile and select Android profile from the dropdown. Provide the required details and create the profile. Click on Restrictions and select Miscellaneous.
  • Enable the option Add User, which allows the user to add accounts on the device which was disabled when the corporate Google account was added. Save and publish the profile. Now distribute the profile to the devices, to ensure additional accounts can be added in Play Store.

NOTE: The apps can also be installed silently without any user intervention. When selecting the apps to be distributed to the devices, there is an option Force Install App under Distribution Option. Enable it to install the apps silently on the managed devices.