29 August 2019
Google has made certain changes in the review process for new apps getting added to the Play Store. The new process will do a thorough inspection of the apps before adding them. Google has even started informing the developers that the Play Store approval will now take more time than before. Google has started displaying a message during the publishing process and the developers will be able to see a notification on the app Dashboard about how much time this process would take.
The new change has been implied to bring more safety to the devices of the users. But the new criteria isn’t for every developer. The Support page shows the new review process is for "certain developer accounts." But it doesn’t mention which developers will be affected by this new rule. This comes more like an abstracted form of information where most of the details are hidden.
There’s no clear mention of how much time the review process will take and nor there’s any way to accelerate the process. However, established developers may get an advantage over this new amendment. The blog post by Choice of Games LLC refers to a response from Mr. Jacob Lehrbaum, Director of Android Developer Relations that reviews for authorized developers are generally quite fast. He also mentions that Google will balance it out because users’ safety is an utmost priority. It’s important to note that an advantage given to such settled developers shouldn’t harm the safety of users. This means new apps from such developers will also undergo a longer review process than before but not similar to what other new or not so established developers will experience.
According to Choice of Games, developers can use Timed Publishing when publishing an update to existing apps. “You can submit your updates early, taking into account any potential delay. Once the changes are approved, you can choose exactly when to publish them to the Play Store.”
But for a new app, one can start by publishing the app to a closed testing track well in advance of their desired publishing date. Mr. Lehrbaum also shared how developers can schedule the release of a new app on the Google Play Store Below is the workaround –
- Create a release in the Closed Alpha track.
- Click “Start rollout to alpha” after saving and reviewing the release.
- Wait for the Alpha release to be approved. This step cannot be timed, but the app is also not available publicly when in closed alpha.
- When the alpha is live, click and toggle Store Presence > Store Listing > Timed Publishing
- Go back to App Releases and create a Production release by clicking through Save, Review and Start rollout to production.
- Wait for the Production release to be approved.
- When the release is approved, click on Go Live.
It should be noted that Google offers no way to expedite review. But it’s great to note that developers will now be able to submit their apps well in advance to the Play Store.