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After knowing how to upload alpha/beta/prod versions in the Google Play console, the next question is how to relate the priorities in UEM with the tracks in Play console. Given the scarce documentation, I admit I was very confused on how this should work. If in UEM, device is assigned first to Alpha track and in Play console the track is empty, does the device go see if it's also assigned to Beta? Do the priorities in UEM matter? Does the version code in Play console matter?

 

Well, here's the breakdown! (Disclaimer: applies to Workspace ONE UEM 1909 and above)

 

Prerequisite: Work Managed Enrollment Type needs to be set to device-based in Groups and Settings\ Devices & users\ Android\ Android EMM Registration\ Enrollment Settings. This ensures a different GoogleID record is generated per device, and so different app versions from the Managed Play console can be assigned.

 

1. In UEM, let's assign the app in this priority: Alpha (0) > Beta (1) > Prod (1)

2.  For each of the devices the app is assigned to, UEM gets the FIRST track it is assigned to and passes this info to the Play console. For example:

Device A --> Alpha Track

Device B --> Beta Track

Device C --> Production Track

 

3. On the Play console side, when a device is assigned to a track (Alpha/Beta), it is also approved for the Production track. Devices assigned to Production just gets approved for Production. The device will then receive the highest version among the tracks it is approved for.

 

4. Bonus scenarios:

  • When a Production track has a higher version than Alpha/ Beta, the lower version/s gets "superseded".
  • An alpha/ beta app can be released to Production. This results in the app being "promoted".
  • For both scenarios above, rule that the device will receive the highest version among the tracks it is approved for applies.

 

5. Let's try the scenarios with devices A, B, and C. The items in red for the tracks are the changes in Play console. The items in blue at the bottom of the table means there was a resulting change in version installed on the device.

 

Action Done

Released 1.1/1.2

to Alpha/Beta

Released 1.3

to Prod

Released 2.1

to Alpha

Released 2.2

to Beta

Promote 2.2

to Prod

Released 2.3

to Alpha

TrackState 1State 2State 3State 4State 5State 6State 7
Alpha(empty)1.1superseded2.12.1superseded2.3
Beta(empty)1.2supersededsuperseded2.2promotedpromoted
Prod1.01.01.31.31.32.22.2
Device
A1.01.11.32.12.12.22.3
B1.01.21.31.32.22.22.2
C1.01.01.31.31.32.22.2

 

Note:

Pre 1909, whitelisting behavior from UEM to Play console is different such that in item 2, behavior is as follows:

Device A --> Alpha Track --> Alpha, Beta, and Prod tracks approved

Device B --> Beta Track --> Beta and Prod tracks approved

Device C --> Production Track --> ONLY Prod track approved

Same Play console rule applies: The device will receive the highest version among the tracks it is approved for.

 

Below is the sample behavior pre-1909

 

Action Done

Released 1.1/1.2

to Alpha/Beta

Released 1.3

to Prod

Released 2.1

to Alpha

Released 2.2

to Beta

Promote 2.2

to Prod

Released 2.3

to Alpha

TrackState 1State 2State 3State 4State 5State 6State 7
Alpha(empty)1.1superseded2.12.1superseded2.3
Beta(empty)1.2supersededsuperseded2.2promotedpromoted
Prod1.01.01.31.31.32.22.2
Device
A1.01.21.32.12.22.22.3
B1.01.21.31.32.22.22.2
C1.01.01.31.31.32.22.2

 

 

Special thanks to Jason Huang, Kevin Murray, Glen Friedman, and Michael Gow for helping breaking down the components with me. Also Scott Arndt for the note on device-based enrollment type.

 

11 Feb 2020 - First published

16 Feb 2020 - Added note that Work-Managed enrollment type in UEM should be set to device-based

part 3 of 3

Part 1

Part 2

C. Release Alpha/ Beta track app to Production

1. In the Google Play console, while your app is selected, go to Release Management\ App releases. In Alpha, select “Manage”.

4-1.png

2. Select “Release to Production” at the Release section.

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3. You will see the new release to production page.

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Scroll to the bottom and click “Save”, then “Review”.

4-3-2.png

4. Click “Start Rollout to Production”. This will release the Alpha/Beta apk to the Production track.

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5. The Alpha (or Beta) track will now be empty and show it was promoted to Production.

4-5.png

In UEM, all the devices that have the Prod version assigned to it will see that the update is available on the Managed Play store.

In the case where the Alpha(Beta) track is superseded, devices in the Alpha (Beta) track will get the Production version of the app.

UEM currently whitelists the track it sees the device is first assigned to in UEM (following the priority in Assignments of the app in UEM). Refer to this post for a more detailed explanation of expected behavior.

 

Note: It may take time for any new version of the app uploaded in Play console (or via Workspace ONE in iFrame) to get automatically installed on the work profile. Refer to this Google article. To manually install the available update, end-user can go to the Managed Play store and see updates available in My work apps\ Updates section.

References

https://developers.google.com/android/work/play/emm-api/distribute#distribute_apps_for_closed_testing

Manage app updates - Managed Google Play Help

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Workspace-ONE-UEM/1912/Application_Management-for-Android/GUID-49EE45D2-A44A-4695-B0E5-E45BEFC8FDA9.html

 

Update Notes:

  1. v1: Jan 12, 2020
  2. v2: Updated section C with behavior after Alpha/ Beta promotion to production and app update behavior on device
  3. v3: Feb 13, 2020 - added link to new post explaining how UEM priorities work with Managed Play console tracks and versions

Part 2 of 3

Part 1

Part 3

B. Add a New App Version

The steps below outlines steps to publishing apps to the alpha or beta testing tracks in Google Play console, then assigning those to Workspace ONE UEM smartgroups.

1. Login to the Workspace ONE UEM console

2. Go to Apps & Books\ Applications\ Native\ Public\ Click “Add Application”

3. Select Platform: Android. Name can be kept blank. Click “Next”

4. Select the private apps icon on the left.

3-4.png

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5. Click “Make advanced edits” under Advanced editing options. This will take you to the Google Play console login page.

3-5.png

6. After logging in to the Google Play console using the google account tied to your Workspace ONE tenant, go to your app and navigate to Release management\ App release. You can select alpha or beta track. In this example, we will add an apk to the Alpha track. Click “Manage” in Alpha track.

3-6.png

7. In organizations, click “Edit”

3-7.png

8. Check the organization corresponding to the Workspace ONE organization group. Click “Done”.

3-8.png

9. Click “Edit Release”

3-9.png

10. Add the apk file. After adding the apk, you will see details about the version code and size of the file.

3-10.png

11. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page, then “Review”.

3-11.png

12. View any of the warning messages and make changes to the app, as necessary.

3-12.png

3-12-2.png

13. Click “Start Rollout”, then “Confirm” at the pop-up window.

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14. In UEM console, select the app under Apps & Books\ Native\ Click “Assign”

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15. Click “Add Assignment”

3-15.png

16. Select the Assignment Group who you want to get the new version (alpha) of the app. Enable Managed Access, select Alpha as Pre-release version. Click “Add”.

3-16.png

17. In the verification screen move up priority of your group where the pre-release is assigned.

3-17.png

18. Then click “Save and Publish”

3-18.png

19. Click “Publish” to confirm the assignment. This will make the alpha version of the app available to the devices belonging to the smart group chosen in Step 16.

3-19.png

Note: Same process can be done for Beta release

 

(continues to Part 3)

Part 1 of 3

Part 2

Part 3

 

This step-by-step guide shows how to upload internal apps (apks you’ve developed) to the Android Managed Play Store for your organization via Workspace ONE. Subsequent sections also show how to add other versions for Alpha/ Beta testing in the Google Play console, then manage assignment of those versions to specific devices/ users in Workspace ONE.

 

Pre-requisites:

  1. Workspace ONE environment already registered to Android EMM

1-1.png

  2. Apk file with an application ID that has not been published in the Android public play store.

 

A. Publish a New Application

1. Login to the Workspace ONE UEM console.

2. Go to Apps & Books\ Applications\ Native\ Public\ Click “Add Application”.

3. Select Platform: Android. Name can be kept blank. Click “Next”.

2-3.png

4. Select the private apps icon on the left.

2-4.png

5. Click the “+” button to add a new app.

2-5.png

6. Make sure to add a Name, then select “Upload APK”.

2-6.png

The “Create” button will be enabled if the app can be uploaded.

2-6-2.png

7. You will see the app in the Private apps section, and a notification that publishing in your store may take up to 10 minutes.

2-7.png

8. Close this screen. The app you just uploaded will be the app list under Public apps.

2-8.png

(Optional) To edit the logo shown in the console, click on the pencil icon beside the app.  Note that this only updates the icon in UEM, not in the Play store.

2-8-2.png

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9. Save and assign the app.

2-9.png

10. Click Add Assignment

2-10.png

11. Pick the organization group/ smart group you would like to assign the app to. Click add.

2-11.png

12. Update Assignment pop-up will appear. Click “Save and Publish” to confirm. Then “Publish” at the Preview Assigned Devices page.

2-12.png

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13. You will return to the app list screen. If the deployment is set to “Automatic”, app will get installed automatically on the device and show in both the Workspace ONE Hub/ Catalog and the  Google Play Store.

2-13.png

2-13-3.png2-13-2.png

 

(continues to Part 2)