Remotely Install Android Apps from Google Play Store

Scalefusion integration with Google's Android Enterprise (Android for Work), gives you and the IT Admins the ability to Search, Approve, and Publish apps from Google Play Store directly to the devices.

If you have setup Android Enterprise and have enrolled the devices using either afw#mobilock or Zero-touch or BYOD, then Scalefusion creates a managed Google Play Store account on these devices. This account is used to automatically install the applications that are approved by you.

Follow the steps below to remotely approve and install applications for your Scalefusion managed devices.

Before you Begin

  1. Complete Android Enterprise Setup
  2. Enroll a Device using afw#mobilock or Zero-touch or BYOD

Approving Applications

The first step is to approve applications from Google Play Store and add it your enterprise repository of applications.

Google has deprecated Bulk Purchasing of Applications and Distribution from Paid Applications. That means application purchased from Google Play Store cannot be distributed from Managed Google Play Store.
  1. Navigate to Application Management from the left menu or top navigation bar and click on PLAY FOR WORK APPS. Here click on Add from Playstore to view the Google Play Store wizard.
  2. Enter the name of the application in the Google Play Store wizard and hit enter/return key to search for the application. This example shows how to approve Google Chrome to your app repository, you can add any application available in Play Store.

  1. Click on the application icon to see the app details. Click APPROVE to add the application in your repository.

  1. Before you add the application, you will be asked for your approval preferences. In the APPROVAL SETTINGS wizard choose the option from below and click SAVE.
    1. Keep approved: The app would stay approved but NOT silently updated. If there is an update for an approved application, then it needs to be published again.
    2. Revoke app approval: This option to revoke the app approval makes the application unapproved. The unapproved application requires a new permission and you need to search that application. After searching, re-approve and publish the application again.

  1. You can either choose to approve other applications or Click DONE.

Installing Play Store Applications

Now that you have added the applications to your app-repository, you can go ahead and enforce the installation of these applications on the devices.

You can choose to allow Google Play Store application from Device Profile > Select apps, to provide your users with an app-catalogue of all the approved applications.
  1. Navigate to Application Management from the left menu or top navigation bar and click on PLAY FOR WORK APPS. Here, click on the application and click PUBLISH
  2. In the Publish window, select the Device Groups or Device Profiles or Devices where you want to install this application and click PUBLISH. Please note that at any point of time, items in only one of the tabs can be selected for Publish. The publishing of apps can be overridden at app level by giving option to admin to configure installation mode.

    Application Install Behavior

    For per-app control at the time of publishing the app, admins can choose to follow the profile setting or override it for this app by silently installing it or adding to PlayStore. Hence, there are three options to choose from:
    The Installation mode can be changed only when you are selecting Device Profiles. When Group/Devices is selected then only Silent Installation will work.
    Mode as per Profile: The app would be either installed silently or added to Play Store as per the settings in Profile. By default this is selected.
    Silent Installation: This would attempt a silent installation of the application and also make it available in Managed Play Store for users to install it.
    Add to Managed Play Store: This would make the application available in Managed Play Store and enabled when user installs it.

Once the application is published, it takes around 10-15 minutes for the application to be installed. This depends on the actual network connectivity and speeds on the device.

Application Install Status

After publishing, you can check the installation status of the app(s) from Play for Work Apps section. For this, follow these steps:

The status of app installation is fetched from Google and not handled by Scalefusion. Scalefusion displays the status with some more information.
It generally takes 15 minutes for the updated status to be reflected on Dashboard after publishing of app.
  1. Navigate to Application Management > Play for Work Apps and click on the app you have published
  2. On the right side panel, there will be a View Status button. Click on it.
  3. This opens Installed App info dialog box
  4. Following are the filters that can be applied to see the app installation status on the device(s):
  • Select Profile/Group: Shows devices only from the relevant group and profile
  • Status: Shows devices with selected status only. Status can be Published, Installed, Install Pending, Install Failed, Uninstalled
  • Show Offline Devices only: When enabled, this will only display devices which are offline.
  1. After selecting filters, click Apply
  2. Following information gets displayed:
  • Device Name: Name of device on which app is published
  • Current Installed Version: The current version of the installed app
  • Group/Profile: The device group and profile of the device
  • H/W IDS: IMEI no. and other device details
  • Install Status: The current status of the installed app
  • Status Info: Details as per Install Status (these are explained below)
  • Published Config: The applied config file to the app. If no file is applied it will display NA.

Status Info

The Status Info is reflected on the basis of what the current Install Status of the app is.

The following status info changes are displayed when installation mode is Silent Installation. If published to Catalog, that is, Add to Managed Play Store (selected in Mode as per profile or otherwise) Status Info will show as App will be added to play store soon.

Install Status

Status Info

Published

Displays the time when the next run will be executed.

Install Pending

Displays the time when the next installation retry will be executed.

Installed

Displays the app version installed on the device.

Publish Failed

Displays the reason as to why the publish of app failed

Uninstalled

(When the user has manually

uninstalled the app from the device)

NA

Additional Actions

Following additional actions can be performed from the Installed app info dialog box:

  1. Reset: Resets the filters to default.
  2. Download CSV: Through this, you can download the app status installation results in csv format
  3. Search: Search for devices by device name or imei number
  4. Re-publish: If the Install status is pending or failed, select such devices and publish the app again to those devices using Re-publish.
  5. Sync Status: Manually sync the status of the apps that are installed to the devices. Sync Status will get enabled after 15 minutes of publishing the app.

Status of apps already installed on device

If you are trying to publish any app which is already installed on device, the status info would be different depending on the app version being installed. Here is how the mapping is:

Published App Version

Device version

Status

Higher

Lower

The app on the device will get updated and status along with the status info will be displayed

Same

Same

When the same version of the PFW app is published, installation is skipped and the status is updated as Installed along with the current version.

Lower

Higher

  • The run will be scheduled three times
  • After that the status will be updated to Installation failed
  • Status info would be Device already has the latest version installed

Manage App Updates

The updates for apps can be controlled by admins where they can configure Auto-Update Policy for the apps downloaded from Play Store, at global level or per app level.

Global Level

To manage app updates for all apps, that is, global level,

  1. Navigate to Application Management > Play for Work Apps
  2. Click on the three dots on the right side and select App Update Settings
  3. This opens a new window with the following settings to choose from:

Setting

Description

Allow user to choose

End user decides whether to update app or not

Never Auto-Update Apps

Apps will not update automatically when a new version of the app is released on the Play Store.

Always Auto-Update Apps

Apps will automatically be updated when a new version of the app is released on the Play Store.

Auto-update Apps on Wifi Only

Apps will update only when device is connected to WiFi network. There is an additional setting here

Configure Update Window for Foreground Apps: If checked, you can set start time and end time for the app updates to take place.

Per-app level

To configure settings at per-app level,

  1. Click on the app for which the update settings have to be configured.
  2. On the right side panel, click on the link Manage App Update Settings
  3. This opens a window to configure settings. Two options to choose from:
  • Use Global App Update Policy: Select this option to use the global app update policy for this application. If this is selected, it will take the settings configured using App Update Settings (described above).
  • Use Custom Rules to update application: Select this option to define custom rules to be applied for updating this particular application. The settings will be enabled once you select this option. One or more settings can be chosen.

Custom Setting

Description

Select App Update Mode

Select the app update mode from the following:

  • Postpone (selected by default): The updates to app is pushed by 90 days
  • Immediate: The update is queued immediately.

Update Only if installed version is lower than the value

You can specify a particular version to which the updates would freeze or enter a large value so that the app is always updated to that value. Enter the version code.

Update Only if the selected constraint is met

You can set auto-install constraint from the options where you can select the device's state before it is considered to be updated like Device Charging, Device Idle etc.

If you still face any issues please contact at support@scalefusion.com or send your feedback on this article itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do we uninstall a previously installed application from selected devices?

Answer: Navigate to Application Management > Play for Work Apps. Click on the application icon and from the side panel, click on UNINSTALL. Select the Device Groups or Device Profiles or Devices and confirm the uninstallation.

Question: How do we completely delete and uninstall a previously installed application from all our devices?

Answer: Navigate to Application Management > Play for Work Apps. Click on the application icon and from the side panel click on the delete icon. From the options select Delete & Uninstall.

Delete: Use delete to just delete the application from your repository and keep the application installed on your devices.
This will remove the application from your repository and uninstall the application from all your devices.

Question: Our application requires a lot of runtime permissions like Storage, Camera etc. Can we auto-grant them remotely?

Answer: Yes. Navigate to Application Management > Play for Work Apps. Click on the application icon and from the side panel click on the Permissions button. Please refer to our document here.

Question: We need to remotely configure our applications by providing it setup data. How do we do it?

Answer: Please refer our Application Configuration guide to remotely configure apps.


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