How to Manage the Release Process for Android Apps

Discover how to enhance your Android app's release process with our latest guide. Learn about the Android app release lifecycle, Google Play deployment, and the benefits of release management tools.

Mobile apps are integral to our daily tasks. Just think about it. We rely on our mobile devices to bank, shop, make bookings, and participate in other digital activities. For all these interactions to go smoothly, mobile development teams must act swiftly, ensuring seamless user interaction through efficient development processes. However, the challenge lies in maintaining high-quality outputs while adhering to fast-release cycles.

The root cause? Poor release management practices.

In the Android ecosystem, a solid release management process is beneficial and crucial for a smooth development-to-production transition. It elevates user experience by integrating planning, testing, deployment, and release control.

A study by IEEE Xplore underscores this, indicating that suboptimal release management can lead to vague procedures, insufficiently reviewed distribution, and poor incident traceability, all of which diminish the end-user experience. This emphasizes the importance of establishing strong, cohesive evaluation processes from the start.

The following article helps you optimize Android release management for smooth Google Play deployments. It highlights the importance of a well-planned, executed, and monitored release process to prevent common release pitfalls and enhance user satisfaction and retention. 

Understanding the Android app release lifecycle

The Android app release lifecycle involves development, testing, and deployment. Managing this lifecycle effectively is crucial for staged rollouts and ensuring device compatibility. Adopting an agile release management strategy improves quality assurance, and efficiency, and reduces risks, leading to a smoother release process and more reliable apps. This section addresses the development, testing, and production phases.


The “Development” phase is the bedrock of the agile release management process. It’s where the application’s codebase is constructed, integrated, and built

In the development phase, mobile teams usually: 

  • Initiates the release management process flow 
  • Sets the trajectory for subsequent stages, like testing and production, and 
  • Ultimately shapes the software release management process efficiency.


The “Testing” phase validates the application’s functionality and performance. This can be done through 

  • Automated testing for faster releases, increased reliability, and reduced manual workload.
  • Manual testing for more control and flexibility over every release step.

Automated testing: CI

CI-based automated testing expedites the validation of frequent changes, bolstering process efficiency and reliability, thereby sustaining the development pace. This is particularly critical in an agile release management flow, where rapid iterations are the norm. 

Manual testing: Google Play

Manual testing complements automated testing, especially in regulated environments where an actual human must be kept in the loop. Platforms like Google Play provide feedback on an application’s real-world performance, which is crucial for user satisfaction and maintaining high app quality. 


The “Production” phase marks the apex of the public deployment of the fully tested application. It signifies:

  • Process completion, 
  • Efficiency of the preceding stages,
  • Importance of a well-orchestrated process flow.

Here, the benefits of using release trains to unlock efficiency become evident, leading to timely and efficient release management updates and a successful product launch. 

How to release your app on Google Play 

Selecting the right platform for your mobile app release is a strategic decision. It should address:

  • Process: Can deployment and collaboration be simplified?
  • Quality and Compliance: Can standardization be ensured?
  • Feedback: Can it be optimized?

The wrong choices will lead to inefficiencies.

In 2020, Google Play introduced a revamped Console that simplifies the complexities of release management. It offers comprehensive tools for:

  • Release: Manages app rollout.
  • Grow: Aids user expansion.
  • Quality: Tracks performance and quality.
  • Monetize: Helps optimize revenue generation.
  • Policy and compliance: Guides on compliance.
Managed Publishing on Google Play Console
Submit your updates for review and launch them when you’re ready with Managed Publishing. “Introducing the new Google Play Console beta”. Google Blog. Available here.

This demonstrates Google Play’s commitment to resolving release challenges–making it an ideal platform for app release.

Next, we’ll explore three stages:  

  1. Preparing for Release: Actions taken to prime your app. 
  2. Testing and Quality Assurance: To ensure robustness. 
  3. Deployment to Production: The decisive step, when you’ll start introducing the app to users. 

Each stage is a pillar for a streamlined launch. Let’s get right to it. 

Google Play Console: preparing for release

Other app distribution platforms may present limitations such as a confined user base, rigid release management, or infrequent updates.

Google Play, however, excels with its broad accessibility, substantial user base, regular updates, and agile software release management process. These attributes make Google Play the prime choice for maximizing app downloads and managing mobile app releases efficiently.  

Overview of the Google Play Developer Console

The Google Play Developer Console offers a comprehensive array of tools that supports every stage of an app’s lifecycle, addressing DevOps teams' major concerns in app release and management. Here's how it tackles common challenges:

  • Complex Uploads? Streamlined uploads simplify deployment.
  • Rigid Release Management? The agile approach ensures smooth updates.
  • Disorganized User Feedback? Centralized reviews aid in improvements.
  • Manual Steps Errors? Automated publishing reduces these.
  • Monitoring Challenges? The console provides insightful performance metrics.
Store listing conversion analytics on Google Play Console
Filters and dimensions let you see trends by acquisition type and region to really understand your performance. “Introducing the new Google Play Console beta”. Google Blog. Available here.

Setting up the app listing and metadata

A meticulous setup enhances your app’s visibility, aids users in comprehending its functionality, and ensures compliance with Google Play policies to prevent potential delisting.

Here’s a quick guide: 

  1. Login to Google Play Console, select ‘All Applications’, and choose your app.
  2. Navigate to ‘Store Presence’ > ‘Store Listing’.
  3. Populate metadata with concise ‘Short Description’ and ‘Full Description’—ensuring clarity and accuracy.
  4. Upload high-quality screenshots, logos, and feature graphics to showcase your app.
  5. Define categories and tags for better search engine optimization.
  6. Complete the ‘Contact Details’ and ‘Privacy Policy’ sections as per Google Play requirements.

Configuring release tracks: alpha, beta, and production

In Google Play Console, release tracks enable strategic app deployment, allowing various groups to test different app versions. This ensures streamlined updates by troubleshooting issues.

Key release tracks:

  1. Alpha Track: For internal testing, offering quality assurance and early bug detection.
  2. Beta Track: Opens testing to a broader audience to gather user feedback and facilitate improvements.
  3. Production Track: Releases a thoroughly tested and polished app to the public.

Configuration steps:

  1. Log into Google Play Console.
  2. Select your application under ‘All Applications’.
  3. For Alpha testing, upload your AAB and define initial testers under ‘Testing’ > ‘Alpha Testing’.
  4. For Beta testing, define a larger group of testers and upload your AAB under ‘Testing’ > ‘Beta Testing’.
  5. Upload your final AAB under ‘Production’.

Pro-Tip: Use the ‘Timed Publishing’ feature to schedule app updates strategically.

Uploading the App Bundle (.aab files)

Here’s a quick guide for an agile-oriented iterative release management process and continuous app submission to the Google Play Store:

  1. In ‘Release,’ select ‘Create New Release’ and upload your APK or App Bundle.
  2. Input app title, description, and category.
  3. Define your app as free or paid, and choose distribution countries.
  4. After reviewing all information, click ‘Review Release’ and ‘Start Rollout’.

Testing and quality assurance 

Overlooking the Testing and QA stage can lead to bugs, poor user experience, and system failures. 

It’s essential to:

  • Conduct comprehensive testing.
  • Gather feedback for improvement.
  • Employ efficient testing tools.

To do so:

  • Ensure Thorough testing for a bug-free product. 
  • Use Pre-release tracks for early issue detection. 
  • Incorporate User feedback for refinement. 
  • Leverage Testing tools for efficiency.

Remember, in release management, every step counts.

Importance of thorough testing before release

A uSamp survey reveals 76% of mobile users encounter app freezing, 71% crashing, and 59% slow responsiveness–leading to 62% of users uninstalling apps

Comprehensive testing by the mobile development team mitigates these–preventing Google Play rejection, product flaws, and credibility damage. Hence, rigorous QA is key to a successful app launch.

Utilizing pre-release tracks for testing (alpha and beta)

Google Play Store offers three testing tracks:  

  1. Internal Testing: Rapid distribution for initial checks and quick push updates.
  2. Closed Testing: Facilitates quality enhancement through wider feedback from specific user groups.
  3. Open Testing: Robust app via extensive feedback from all Play Store users.

Strategically utilizing these tracks ensures:

  • Targeted feedback: Each track caters to a specific development stage.
  • Broad feedback mechanisms: Through surveys, forums, and direct communication.
  • Pre-release preparedness: Pre-launch reports and user feedback inform enhancements.

Handling user feedback during testing phases

During closed testing, Google Play testers install your app and conduct evaluations. This uncovers usability issues, bugs, and potential improvements–not apparent in a controlled development environment.

To optimize:

  1. Encourage comprehensive feedback. This specificity aids issue resolution.
  2. Test across diverse settings and devices. This uncovers environment or hardware-specific issues.
  3. Prioritize and validate feedback. Consider its impact on user experience.
  4. Iterate and refine. Elevate the app’s functionality.

Feedback collected boosts your app’s quality and performance. 

Integration with testing tools and frameworks

Release managers often face numerous challenges like quality risks, efficiency loss, and reduced confidence in the release process. Without professional testing tools, these get amplified. 

When incorporated, you can expect:

  • Full-spectrum testing.
  • Guaranteed app performance and security. 
  • Faster testing cycles for timely releases.
  • Reduced errors through a stable environment.
  • Continuous Integration enhances platform productivity.

Pro-Tip: Implementing ITIL-guided integration creates market-ready apps.

Deployment to production 

In SDLC, the leap from development to live interaction–Deployment to Productionvalidates the application and marks the team’s progress in the release management process.

It facilitates:

  • Direct user impact.
  • Business value realization.
  • Effective risk management, including costs and downtime. 

But what sets a successful app deployment apart?

Success hinges on smooth application transition, user satisfaction, and tangible value.

Rollout strategies: gradual, staged, or immediate release

Opt for a strategy aligning with your business needs, user needs and resources to ensure successful release adoption. The three rollout strategies are: 

Gradual Release: Introduces a release to a small group, expanding over time.

  • Pros:some text
    • Early risk control.
    • Controlled critical impact.
    • Ongoing feedback for continuous product refinement.
  • Cons:some text
    • Time-intensive.
    • Inconsistent user experience across different segments.

Staged Release: Rolls out the release to specific groups in stages.

  • Pros:some text
    • Targeted testing.
    • Segmented feedback.
    • Stage-by-stage issue resolution.
  • Cons:some text
    • Complex management.
    • Time-intensive coordination.
    • Delayed access for some users.

Immediate Release: Simultaneously releases the new version to all users.

  • Pros:some text
    • Instant access.
    • Less management.
    • Consistent product version across the user base.
  • Cons:some text
    • High-risk impact.
    • Limited feedback.
Screenshot of Bitrise's Release Management add-on that automates Google's staged rollouts.

Monitoring the deployment process

Monitoring is a proactive approach aimed at identifying potential issues before they escalate. It involves tracking application performance, resolving issues, and ensuring the release meets defined quality standards. This ensures everything functions as expected.

Handling rollbacks in case of issues

Early validation and QA prevent costly post-deployment fixes and maintain user retention. However, despite stringent checks, issues might still occur. In such cases, having a rollback strategy is essential

To handle this:

  • Prepare: Keep a rollback plan and archive previous app versions in an easy-to-find place.
  • Monitor: Track app performance and gather user feedback post-release.
  • Execute: Rollback promptly for major issues.

Post-release activities

Post-release activities are as critical as pre-release ones. Once the app is deployed, the work isn’t over. You need to:

  1. Monitor stability via a release management platform.
  2. Tackle bugs with incident management.
  3. Prioritize feedback management.
  4. Validate new feature value.
  5. Start planning the next release with lessons learned.

Monitoring and analytics

Post-release, it’s crucial to track app performance and user engagement. It yields insights for enhancements. Google Play Console’s analytics is a useful instrument that provides data on app usage, demographics, and revenue. 

Using this data is key to understanding user behavior, identifying trends, and directing updates. Making data-driven decisions improves user satisfaction and ensures app success.


Release management is vital in meeting organizational objectives. It’s a streamlined process involving development, testing, and production, ensuring app excellence for a successful Android debut.

Key Stages:

  1. Preparation: Sets app’s Play Store presence.
  2. Testing: Ensures app functionality and usability.
  3. Deployment: Manages app’s user introduction.

But how can you ensure streamlined releases amidst build delays and tooling gaps? 

With Bitrise, you’re always ahead!

Efficient release management with Bitrise

Accelerate your build and release process with Bitrise’s release management add-on. Ensure confident deployments and streamlined workflows tailored to your needs.

Take control of your app releases. Start your free trial or add your first release today.

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