Assign apps to Android for Work devices with Intune

Android for Work is a program for Android devices. Specifically, Android for Work is a set of Android device features and services that separate personal apps and data from a work profile containing work apps and data. Android for Work provides additional management capabilities and privacy when people use their Android devices for work. Intune helps you deploy apps and company resources to Android for Work devices to ensure work and personal information is separate. When successfully deployed, apps and the data they access remain exclusively within the Android for Work environment on the device. All apps you install on Android for Work devices come from the Google Play for Work store. How you assign apps to Android for Work devices differs from how you assign them to standard Android devices. You sign in to the store, browse for the apps you want, and approve them. The app then appears in the Licensed apps node of the Azure portal, and you can manage assignment of the app as you would any other app.

Additionally, if you have created your own line-of-business (LOB) apps, you can assign them as follows:

  • Sign up for a Google Developer account that lets you publish apps to a private area in the Google Play store.
  • Synchronize the apps with Intune.

Before you start

Make sure you have configured Intune and Android for Work to work together in the Device enrollment workload of the Azure portal. For more information, see Enroll Android devices.

Synchronize an app from the Google Play for Work store

  1. Go to the Google Play for Work store. Sign in with the same account you used to configure the connection between Intune and Android for Work.

  2. Search the store and select the app you want to assign by using Intune.

  3. On the page that displays the app, select Approve.
    In the following example, the Microsoft Excel app has been chosen.

    The Approve button in the Google Play for Work store

    A window for the app opens asking you to give permissions for the app to perform various operations.

  4. Select Approve to accept the app permissions and continue.

    The Approve button for app permissions

  5. Select an option for handling new app permission requests, and then select Save.

    Options for handling new app permission requests

    The app is approved, and it is displayed in your IT admin console. Next, you can sync the Android for Work app with Intune.

Sync an Android for Work app with Intune

If you have approved an app from the store and don't see it in the Licensed apps node of the Mobile apps workload, force an immediate sync as follows:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select All services > Intune. Intune is located in the Monitoring + Management section.
  3. In the Intune pane, select Mobile apps.
  4. In the Mobile apps workload pane, under Setup, select Android for Work.
  5. In the Android for Work pane, select Sync.
    The page updates the time and status of the last sync.
  6. In the Mobile apps workload pane, select Apps.
    The newly available Android for Work app is displayed.

When the app is displayed in the App licenses node of the Mobile apps workload pane, you can assign it just as you would assign any other app. You can assign the app to groups of users only.

After you assign the app, it is installed on the devices that you've targeted. The user of the device is not asked to approve the installation.

Manage Android for Work app permissions

Android for Work requires you to approve apps in the managed Google Play web console before you sync them with Intune and assign them to your users. Because Android for Work allows you to silently and automatically push the apps to users' devices, you must accept the app permissions on behalf of all your users. Users do not see any app permissions when they install the apps, so it's important that you read and understand the permissions.

When an app developer publishes a new version of the app with updated permissions, the permissions are not automatically accepted, even if you've approved the previous permissions. Devices that run the previous version of the app can still use it. However, the app is not upgraded until the new permissions are approved. Devices without the app installed do not install the app until you approve the app's new permissions.

Update app permissions

Periodically visit the managed Google Play console to check for new permissions. You can configure Google Play to send you or others an email when new permissions are required for an approved app. If you assign an app and observe that it isn't installed on devices, check for new permissions by doing the following:

  1. Go to Google Play.
  2. Sign in with the Google account that you used to publish and approve the apps.
  3. Select the Updates tab, and check to see whether any apps require an update.
    Any listed apps require new permissions and are not assigned until they are applied.

Alternatively, you can configure Google Play to automatically reapprove app permissions on a per-app basis.

Working with a line-of-business app from the Google Play for Work store

  1. Sign in to the Google Play Developer Console with the same account you used to configure the connection between Intune and Android for Work.
    If you are signing in for the first time, you must register and pay a fee to become a member of the Google Developer program.

  2. In the console, select Add new application.

  3. You upload and provide information about your app in the same way as you publish any app to the Google Play store. However, you must select Only make this application available to my organization (<organization name>).

    Make the app available only to your organization

    This operation ensures that the app is available only to your organization, and it is not available on the public Google Play store.

    For more information about uploading and publishing Android apps, see Google Developer Console Help.

  4. After you've published your app, sign in to the Google Play for Work store with the same account that you used to configure the connection between Intune and Android for Work.

  5. In the Apps node of the store, verify that the app you've published is displayed.
    The app is automatically approved to be synchronized with Intune.

Next steps