How to publish enterprise apps as private apps in Google Play Store?

Description

In order to make your enterprise apps exclusively available for users within your organization, you can publish them as private apps on Managed Google Play. For this, you will need to create a Google Play Developer account. A lifetime license for this account can be obtained with a one-time registration fee. This account provides the correct administrator privileges to upload and publish private apps to Managed Google Play. These private apps are published to the Play Store using Google Admin console or Google Play Console and can then be silently distributed to your managed devices using Mobile Device Manager Plus.

Steps

  • Register as a developer:
    Create a developer account in Google Play Console by following the steps provided here.

  • Add the application:
    Go to https://play.google.com/apps/publish. Now, click on CREATE APPLICATION and add the enterprise application which you want to publish as a private app. Following this, fill in the requisite details and click on Publish.

  • Managed Google Play settings:
    After publishing the enterprise app, click on it and go to Store presence -> Pricing & distribution and click on Managed Google Play.

  • Choose organizations:
    Here, choose the organization's name which is associated with the MDM server. You can additionally share private apps from one organization to another.
    To do so, fetch and add the organization ID as explained below:

    • Sign In to the MDM server associated with the organization you want to share the app with.
    • Go to Device Mgmt -> App Repository -> Managed Google Play. Under Details, you will find the Enterprise ID. Copy and paste it on Managed Google Play as the Organization ID. This can also be found in the Managed Google Play account of the corresponding organization.
    • Click on ADD to finish.

    Note: You can share your private apps with multiple organizations by repeating these steps.

  • Ensure the enterprise app is present as a managed app in your organization. Else, search and approve the app here.

  • Sync apps:
    On the MDM server, go to the Device Mgmt tab and click on App Repository in the left pane. Now, click on Sync Apps and select Sync Play Store Apps. On successful syncing, the enterprise apps, published as private apps get added to MDM's App Repository.

  • Distribute apps:
    Now, distribute the app to devices or groups according to the requirement. On the MDM server, go to the Device Mgmt tab, choose the group(s)/device(s) to which the app needs to be distributed. Click on Distribute Apps. Ensure Install app automatically is checked (For silent app installation) and then, click on Select.

  • The enterprise app, published as a private app gets installed on the device(s). 
  • private_enterprise_apps_6

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Unable to install these apps (enterprise apps published as private apps) on managed devices.
  2. The installation of the app might have failed due to one of the following reasons:
    Location-based : The associated devices may have moved to a different geographical region during app distribution, considering the app is country-specific. Before distribution, make sure that the app is available in all regions to avoid installation error.
    Incompatible APK : The distributed app maybe incompatible with the associated device. For instance, an app designed only for tablets might have been distributed for a mobile device or vice versa.