Warning! Starting August 2021, Google requires Android App Bundle (ABB) for all new applications submitted to Play Store.
Android App Bundle (AAB) is a new Android publishing format that offers more efficient ways to build and publish your applications.
Android App Bundle contains your application code and resources. At that, generating of APKs for specific devices and architectures together with applications signing becomes the responsibility of Google Play. If needed, you can download such APKs from the Play Console later. Android App Bundle simplifies building applications making them smaller in size, thus increasing chances of successful installs and decreasing the number of uninstalls. Such packages use .abb extension.
Google Play Store has been accepting applications in AAB format for more than a year. Now it gradually moves away from the APK publishing format that remains for installing applications on devices.
There is no hurry in switching to the new mobile platform 8.3.19 unless you intend to publish a new application on Google Play Store. For the several months after August 2021, Google still allows APKs for updating existing applications.
Check Google announcements for further updates.
The Mobile Application Builder is ready for the new format. In order to use it, you need mobile platform version 126.96.36.199 and higher. You also need to create an upload key under Configure vendor parameters.
In this new version we have improved the automatic upload of applications in APK and AAB format. Check documentation for more details.
The Mobile Application Builder documentation also contains updated info on app signing keys, import parameters in Configure vendor parameters section, support for new applications format, and automatic upload of applications on Google Play:
Google info on Play App Signing:
Migration to Android App Bundle in Mobile Application Builder to Build and Publish Applications on Google Play Store
Start with updating Mobile Application Builder to the latest version included in the mobile platform 8.3.19 distribution package.
After that, import the mobile platform 8.3.19 distribution package into the Mobile Application Builder. Do the update precisely in the order described above.
Should you fail to do so, the previous version of the Mobile Application Builder might import the new distribution package incorrectly, leading to errors in an attempt to build an application.
Step 1. Enroll Your Account into Google Play App Signing
1. Open Play Console.
2. Select your application
3. In the menu to the left, select Release > Setup > App integrity
You get access to the Google Play Console App Signing page
Step 2. Send Your Original App Signing Key to Google
1. In the Google Play Console App Signing page, select Export and upload a key from a Java keystore.
2. To export your original app signing key from the Mobile Application Builder, do the following.
Go to Tools > Configure vendor parameters and open Parameters for Android tab. Find App signing key group and select Exporting a private key link.
3. You get a file with .perk extension. Upload this file to the Google Play Console App Signing page.
Warning! We do not recommend generating your app signing key on Google Play as it is impossible to download it from the store for further use in the Mobile Application Builder.
Warning! Automatic app signing is valid as long as your application exists.
Due to safety reasons, with Google Play App Signing enabled for your application, you cannot get a copy of your app signing key. Also, you cannot remove it from Google servers unless you remove the application itself.
Step 3. Create an Upload Key.
1. Create an upload key
1) Go to the Tools menu in the Mobile Application Builder and select Configure vendor parameters.
2) Open Parameters for Android tab. Find App upload key group and select UploadKeyExport link.
2. You get a file with .pem extension. Upload this file to the Google Play Console App Signing page just as you did with the app signing key.
You can use your app signing key as an upload key, but we recommend against it as it is less safe.
Warning! If you lose your upload key or get compromised, you should contact Google tech support to revoke it and generate a new one.
As Google protects your app signing key, you can keep on uploading updated versions of your initial application even if you replace your upload key with a new one.
Step 4. Complete Enrollment to the Play App Signing.
1. Click Save on Play Console App Signing page
2. Accept Google’s terms of service.
As soon as you upload an updated version of your application Google Play will accept all further updates in AAB (Android App Bundle) format only.
Step 5. Build Your Mobile Application and Upload It to Google Play With Your Upload Key.
1. To prepare your application for upload into Google Play (APK, AAB, or both) with the new Mobile Application Builder, go to your application card and flag For Android option. It reveals For Android tab that contains the settings you need.
Select All variant of the resulting files or only aab file (store package).
2. The Mobile Application Builder creates your application for the Play Store and signs it with your upload key.
3. Publish the resulting AAB file on Google Play Store.
4. Prepare and deploy the release on Google Play Store.
Step 1. Create an Upload Key and Build Your Application.
1. If you do not have an upload key, create it in the Parameters for Android tab under Configure vendor parameters in the Mobile Application Builder.
2. Build your application in AAB format.
Step 2. Prepare the Release
1. Prepare and roll out your application package to Google Play as prescribed by the store.
2. Set the version type (such as closed, alfa, beta) and define app signing options under Let Google manage and protect your app signing key.
3. Select Export and upload a key from a Java keystore.
4. Get your original app signing key. You can get it under the Parameters for Android tab in Configure vendor parameters in the Mobile Application Builder with Export the private key and certificate command.
5. Upload your .perk key to the store.
6. Get your original upload key. You can get it under the Parameters for Android tab in Configure vendor parameters in the Mobile Application Builder with Export the private key and certificate command.
7. Upload the resulting .pem file to the Google Play Console App Signing page like you did with the app signing key.
8. Refresh the page.
9. To proceed, you need to accept the Terms of Service and enroll your account into app signing by Google Play service.
10. Export your AAB file from the Builder and release it on Google Play Store.