November 28, 2023
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Google Play’s New Rules for New Accounts

Matt Netkow

Google Play recently announced a new rule requiring new personal Play Console accounts to test apps with more than 20 people for at least two weeks before applying for production access. This is a significant shift from the earlier policy that allowed immediate publishing of new apps.

The primary reason behind this change is to combat fraud and abusive practices and to ensure the delivery of higher-quality apps to users. Fortunately, this rule applies only to personal accounts, which include hobbyists, students, and semi-pro developers. It doesn’t affect organization or business accounts. This distinction aims to protect the store from low-quality submissions by less established or casual developers while not hindering businesses in their development processes.

Google’s announcement also mentions the global review team’s increased investment in app review. They’ll spend more time assessing new apps to ensure they provide “a valuable user experience that does not deceive or defraud users.” This is a good thing, but they hint at potentially slower app review times as a result. This is cause for concern as one of the advantages of Google Play over the Apple App Store has been the speed and ease of shipping new and updated Android apps.

Planning for this Change

Given these recent Google Play announcements, what steps can you take to minimize the slowdown of your app launch?

Plan app launches carefully. Give yourself enough time to test the app, fix bugs, and prepare for launch. That means a minimum of two weeks. As iOS developers will tell you, don’t forget to leave time to remediate any app rejections.

Leverage Appflow Live Updates. Appflow, Ionic’s mobile CI/CD platform, offers a way to combat slow app store review times with its Live Updates feature. Note that this technique must be used after the first native binary release (aka acceptance into production) but comes in handy when shipping subsequent releases quickly. Get started on the generous free plan here.

Get app testing help from the Ionic Community.

Google’s rationale behind these changes is sound. It encourages developers to thoroughly test their apps with real users, which should improve the overall quality of apps in the Google Play store. However, we recognize this is a frustrating change for indie devs since finding enough users to test your apps may be challenging. Enter the Ionic Community!

Join the Ionic Discord, head over to #app-testers, and share your apps that are ready to be tested. If Ionic developers know one thing well, it’s mobile apps. Let’s help each other create awesome apps!

Matt Netkow