Be aware, Play Store approval times will now take longer

Google is increasing the scrutiny of new apps submitted to the Play Store which means approval times will now be longer.

The official Android app store has witnessed a spate of malware-infested apps making it past Google’s current approval process. Just a few days ago, Trend Micro announced that it reported 85 apps posing as photography and gaming apps to Google which have now been removed.

Google has begun issuing a notice to developers about the increased review process time. There’s little slack given to loyal developers who’ve built up a good track record with Google either.

In a blog post, game developer Choice of Games wrote:

“We have dozens of games published on the Google Play Store; we’re a developer in good standing.

It turns out that instead of just ‘developers that don’t yet have a track record,’ all new apps are undergoing additional review. App updates may go through quickly if the app itself has earned Google’s trust, but each new app starts with an empty track record.”

The problem is, a banner providing notice of the extended review time is only appearing after a new app is submitted. This means developers must plan ahead and submit their apps around three days before they want it to go live.

Choice of Games notes there’s no straightforward way to schedule when a new app goes live. Jacob Lehrbaum, Director of Android Relations, provided the following 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.

All in all, it’s disappointingly handled by Google but understandable to protect users given the recent problems. Just make sure you plan ahead as a developer.

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