How to block downloading/installing Android apps from Play Store?

As organizations are beginning to increasingly rely on mobile devices for work, it's necessary to ensure the apps installed on these devices are managed along with the devices and the corporate data. One critical requirement while managing apps is to prevent employees from installing malicious and unwanted apps on devices to ensure security and productivity respectively. IT admins often wonder how best to block or stop Play Store downloads and restrict app installation on corporate Android devices.

Mobile Device Manager Plus, a mobile device management (MDM) solution provides a simple solution to this problem. Learn how to block or stop installing apps, from the Play Store, on Android devices.

Steps to block app installation on Android devices

Based on whether your organization has configured Android Enterprise, you can select any of the following methods to stop or restrict employees from installing apps from Play Store on Android devices

Using Android Enterprise

To stop users from downloading and installing apps from the Play Store using Android Enterprise, follow the steps given below:

  • Configure Android Enterprise as explained here.
  • Now purchase apps in the Managed Google Play portal as explained here.
  • Sync MDM App Repository, if need to add the purchased apps to the repository.
  • You can now distribute these apps to devices and/or groups. You can also have these apps installed silently (without any user intervention) as explained here.
  • Only those apps purchased via Play for Work and distributed using MDM can be installed from Google Play Store, and block downloading other apps on Android devices from Play Store
  • You can also customized the Play Store layout on managed devices as explained here, to suit the needs of the enterprise.

Without configuring Android Enterprise

To restrict app installation on Android devices from the Play Store without configuring Android Enterprise, follow the steps given below:

  • On your MDM console, click on Device Mgmt and select Profiles from the left menu.
  • Click on Create Profile and select Android from the dropdown.
  • Click on Restrictions from the policy list and then select Application from the left menu.
  • Restrict the option Users can install unapproved apps. This ensures only those apps distributed via MDM can be installed on the device restricting all other app installations.
  • Now, Save and Publish this profile. Distribute it to devices and/or groups.
  • On successful profile association, you can block downloading apps from Play Store and users cannot install any unauthorized apps or apps not approved by the enterprise.

This is how you can restrict app downloads from the Play Store to prevent employees from installing apps on their Android devicesOnce you block apps from being downloaded on Android devices using Play Store, the device user will receive a notification stating that the security policy prevents the installation of this application, when the user tries to install apps from the Play Store. Thus, as an IT admin, you can ensure that unecessary or malicious apps are not available on corporate devices.