Deploying private apps on Android Enterprise (Part 1/3)

This blog series will focus on deploying private apps on Android Enterprise using Intune. In this first part, we are going to look at how to use Intune to deploy an app that is not available in the public play store. Such apps are also known as LOB or Line-of-business apps. These are applications that are only available within your tenant . That is why they are also called private apps.

This blog series will consist out of the following parts:

  1. Introduction Deploying private apps on Android Enterprise with Intune
  2. How to deploy a private apps using the Managed Google Play Store
  3. Test and release updated versions for your private app

The old way (Android Device Administrator)

Before Android Enterprise, Android Device administrator was used to manage Android devices with Intune. It was then possible to upload Android applications (APK files) into Intune and assign them directly to devices. This worked in a similar way as you still do with MSI or Win32 apps.


The new way (Android Enterprise)

As Android device manager becomes deprecated and gets phased out in future Android versions, we use Android Enterprise today. One of the major differences with Device administrator is that Android Enterprise only source of applications is the managed google play store. This means that all applications including LOB applications, as well as web links are deployed to Android Enterprise devices through the Managed Play store.


Managed Google Play app types

There are three types of apps that are available with Managed Google Play:

  • Managed Google Play store app – Public apps that are generally available in the Play Store. Manage these apps in Intune by browsing for the apps you want to manage, approving them, and then synchronizing them into Intune.
  • Managed Google Play private app – These are LOB apps published to Managed Google Play by Intune admins. These apps are private and are available only to your Intune tenant. This is how LOB apps are managed and deployed with Managed Google Play and Android Enterprise.
  • Managed Google Play web link – Web links with IT admin-defined icons that are deployable to Android Enterprise devices. These appear on devices in the device’s app list just like regular apps.


Managed Google Play apps in Intune

These apps are available from within Intune. Select Apps -> Android -> +Add -> Managed Google Play app and press select to open the Managed Google App Approval Console in Intune. Here you can add public apps from the Google Play Store, but also add your own private apps or Web Apps (Web links).


Managed Google Play Store

Another way to add public apps from the Google Play Store is to go directly to the Managed Google Play Store and log in with your managed google account. However, here you only have the option to add public apps, it is not possible to add private apps or web apps.


Google Play Console

For managing applications, uploading private apps and web apps, the possibilities within Intune are basically sufficient. To manage your private apps properly and to manage such things as release tracks, detailed app descriptions and more, you need to use the Google Play Console. Before you can use this, however, you must create a developer account with your managed google play account. You do this by going to the Google Play Console and logging in with your managed google play account. More on this in part 3 of this blog series.


Next Part 2 of Deploying private apps on Android Enterprise: How to deploy a private apps using the Managed Google Play Store

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