Non Play store updating

An app creator I was talking to was asking about how to get people to update their app when they never use the Play Store.

One option is to use the expiry date option under: App > Expiry but this may be too drastic.

What do others think about a date set nag screen that asks people to go online and press a button to see if there is an update available. If there is no update a new nag date is set. If there is an update then it can be downloaded and installed.

What if there is a function that periodically (monthly?) check for updates (based on a simple version file on the server) and only alert the user via a pop up IF there is an update? If there is an update, then give it download or cancel ability. If the user cancels the update notice, then don’t check/notice again until a set interval later? That seems to be the de facto way of how other app updates.

Yes that would be a more typical update method, but it relies on the people bing online. I am trying to get something for people who are rarely online.

Ok, understood, I just thought no play store meant either this phone has no playstore or he is in a country where Google is blocked, not that they are not online in general.

The update without play store can be done only on a close range. Using light stream Pocket. Calling those that has the app installed in your phone. With an updated version in the light stream. Also update can be sent to individuals via emails, Bluetooth etc.

Checking for an update on a separate server (other than the Play Store) would be helpful. In our context, many don’t have their phones updated or they don’t have it set up correctly or they don’t understand how the Play Store works (or that that is the place to get most of my apps).

There seems to be decent internet accessibility so while there are still some users with zero to limited internet, a majority of users in our context could make use of such a feature.

I attempted to use the expiry feature on one of our early apps. It was my hope that people would come see us when to update the app. What I found was that they would assume the message meant that the app was “broken” and they would just no longer use it at all. I only had a handful of people who came back to us to “fix” the broken app. As a result I stopped using the expiry screen.

My observations are from a specific context so others may not have experienced the same thing. I like the idea of having an update button on the screen so that a user could simply update right away IF they have internet access though.

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@chris_guthrie that is good feedback to get.

Just curious - what language (verbiage) did you use in your expiration message? Were users not stopping to read it or did it not make sense to them?

I’ve seen some similar behavior in our context while using the expiration feature, even with having it in the Google Play store because often, local users don’t have their phone connected to the Play store correctly or don’t do automatic updates, etc.