Question: Will sideloaded app connect to the Play Store for updates?

If we publish an app to the Google Play store but someone shares the APK offline (person to person rather than downloaded from the Play Store), will the sideloaded app (APK that was received/installed not from the Play Store) connect to the Play Store to get app updates (when we update the app)?

I’d appreciate any insight on this question (or can point me to a good article/explanation) and under what conditions a sideloaded app will connect to the Google Play Store. Thanks!

“Side-loaded apps do not update via the Play Store. If you would like the app to update, you will need to uninstall the app on your phone and reinstall the app via the Play Store.”

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Thanks for the quick reply @richard

That post was from Jan 2015. I’m guessing this is still the Google Play policy, 3+ years later?

Yes, I have tested this before. I have taken the APK that was used to upload to the Google Play Store and installed it locally. Then I updated the Google Play store with a new APK and the device was not updated. The Google Play app is the app that checks for updates and it only checks for apps that it has installed.


Google has announced some changes:

In the future, for apps obtained through Play-approved distribution channels, we’ll be able to determine app authenticity while a device is offline, add those shared apps to a user’s Play Library, and manage app updates when the device comes back online.