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What happens if you upload an APK or Android App Bundle that is signed with a key that is also used to sign APKs that are delivered to users and how to fix it


You uploaded an APK or Android App Bundle that is signed with a key




If you are an Android developer, you might have encountered the error "Your Android App Bundle is signed with the wrong key" when you try to upload your app to Google Play. This error means that the app bundle or APK that you uploaded is not signed with the same key that Google Play expects. In this article, we will explain what an APK or Android App Bundle is, why you need to sign it, what a signing key is, how to generate one, what are the benefits of using Play App Signing, and how to fix the error.




you uploaded an apk or android app bundle that is signed with a key


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What is an APK or Android App Bundle and why do you need to sign it?




APK and Android App Bundle explained




An APK (Android Package Kit) is a file format that contains all the code, resources, assets, and certificates of an Android app. It is the file that you install on your device or distribute to other app stores. An Android App Bundle (AAB) is a publishing format for Android that is supported by Google Play and other app stores, and by build tools such as Android Studio, Bazel, Buck, Cocos Creator, Gradle, Unity, and Unreal. It is a file that contains all the code and resources of your app, but allows Google Play to generate optimized APKs for different device configurations, such as screen size, language, and hardware features.


Signing your app for security and distribution




Android requires that all APKs be digitally signed with a certificate before they are installed on a device or updated. Signing your app ensures that it has not been tampered with and that it comes from a trusted source. It also allows devices and services to verify that the app update is from the same developer as the previous version. When releasing using Android App Bundles, you need to sign your app bundle with an upload key before uploading it to the Play Console, and Play App Signing takes care of the rest. For apps distributing using APKs on the Play Store or on other stores, you must manually sign your APKs for upload.


What is a signing key and how to generate one?




App signing key and upload key




A signing key consists of a private key and a public certificate. The private key is used to sign your app bundle or APK, and the public certificate lets anyone verify who signed it. You should keep your private key secret, but you can share your public certificate with others. There are two types of signing keys that you need to know about: app signing key and upload key.


  • The app signing key is the key that Google Play uses to sign the APKs that are delivered to a user's device. When you use Play App Signing, you can either upload an existing app signing key or have Google generate one for you.



  • The upload key is the key that you use to sign your app bundle before you upload it on Google Play. For security reasons, its a good idea to have app signing and upload keys that are different from each other. There are two ways to generate an upload key:



  • Use your app signing key: If you have Google generate an app signing key, the key you use for your first release is also your upload key.



  • Use a separate upload key: If you provide your own app signing key, you are given the option to generate a new upload key for increased security. If you dont generate one, use your app signing key as your upload key.



How to generate a signing key using Android Studio




If you are using Android Studio to develop your app, you can easily generate a signing key using the built-in wizard. Here are the steps to follow:


How to sign your APK or Android App Bundle with a new key


What is Play App Signing and why you should enroll in it


How to fix the error "You uploaded an APK or Android App Bundle that was signed in debug mode"


How to generate a keystore file for signing your APK or Android App Bundle


How to update your gradle configuration to point to your signing key


How to check the validity of your certificate before uploading your APK or Android App Bundle


How to create a new certificate in the same or a new keystore


How to avoid signing conflicts when uploading your APK or Android App Bundle


How to use Unity to publish a game signed with a valid key


How to use React Native or Flutter to create an APK or Android App Bundle signed with a valid key


How to use Android Studio to build and sign your APK or Android App Bundle


How to use the command line tools to sign your APK or Android App Bundle


How to verify the signature of your APK or Android App Bundle


How to change the signing key of your existing app on Google Play


How to migrate from APK to Android App Bundle and sign it with a new key


How to troubleshoot common signing issues when uploading your APK or Android App Bundle


How to use minifyEnabled and proguardFiles options when signing your APK or Android App Bundle


How to optimize your APK or Android App Bundle size and performance by signing it with a new key


How to test your signed APK or Android App Bundle before uploading it to Google Play


How to upload your signed APK or Android App Bundle to Google Play Console


How to manage multiple signing keys for different app variants or flavors


How to use app bundles for dynamic delivery and modularization of your app features


How to use app signing by Google Play for enhanced security and simplified release management


How to use the Play Core library for in-app updates and app integrity checks


How to use the Play Asset Delivery system for delivering large assets with your app bundle


How to use the Play Feature Delivery system for delivering conditional features with your app bundle


How to use the Play Instant system for delivering instant apps with your app bundle


How to use the Play Billing system for monetizing your app with in-app purchases and subscriptions


How to use the Play Games Services system for adding social and gaming features to your app


How to use the Firebase system for adding analytics, authentication, cloud messaging, and more features to your app


How to use the Google Mobile Ads system for displaying ads in your app and earning revenue


How to use the Google Analytics system for measuring user behavior and engagement in your app


How to use the Google Maps Platform system for adding maps, location, and navigation features to your app


How to use the Google ML Kit system for adding machine learning capabilities to your app


How to use the Google ARCore system for adding augmented reality features to your app


How to use the Google Cast system for enabling users to cast content from your app to their TV or speakers


How to use the Google Assistant system for integrating voice actions and smart suggestions in your app


How to use the Google Pay system for enabling users to pay securely with their phone in your app


How to use the Google Fit system for accessing health and fitness data from your app


How to use the Google Drive system for storing and syncing files from your app in the cloud


How to use the Google Photos system for accessing and sharing photos and videos from your app


How to use the YouTube Data API system for accessing and managing YouTube resources from your app


How to use the Google Calendar API system for accessing and managing calendar events from your app


How to use the Google Contacts API system for accessing and managing contacts from your app


How to use the Gmail API system for accessing and managing Gmail messages from your app


How to use the Google Sheets API system for accessing and managing spreadsheet data from your app


How to use the Google Docs API system for accessing and managing document data from your app


How to use the Google Slides API system for accessing and managing presentation data from your app


  • Open your project in Android Studio and select Build > Generate Signed Bundle / APK.



  • Select either Android App Bundle or APK as the package format and click Next.



  • On the Key store path section, click Create new.



  • Fill in the required fields, such as Key store path, Key store password, Key alias, Key password, and Certificate. Make sure to remember these values as you will need them later.



  • Click OK and then click Next.



  • Select the build variants and signature versions that you want to use and click Finish.



  • Android Studio will generate your signed app bundle or APK and save it in the location that you specified.



What are the benefits of using Play App Signing?




Smaller app size and advanced delivery modes




One of the main benefits of using Play App Signing is that it enables Google Play to optimize your app size and delivery mode for different devices. When you upload an app bundle, Google Play generates and serves APKs that are tailored to each device configuration, such as screen size, language, and hardware features. This reduces the download size and installation time of your app, which can improve user retention and satisfaction. Additionally, Play App Signing allows you to use advanced delivery modes, such as dynamic feature modules, which let you deliver features on demand or conditionally, and asset delivery, which let you deliver large assets more efficiently.


Increased security and key upgrade options




Another benefit of using Play App Signing is that it enhances the security of your app and your signing key. When you use Play App Signing, Google Play manages and protects your app signing key for you, so you don't have to worry about losing it or having it compromised. Google Play also uses a secure server infrastructure to sign your APKs, which prevents unauthorized access or tampering. Furthermore, Play App Signing gives you the option to upgrade your app signing key if it becomes weak or compromised. You can either request a new app signing key from Google or provide a new one yourself.


How to fix the error "Your Android App Bundle is signed with the wrong key"?




Check your app signing configuration in Play Console




The first thing you should do when you encounter this error is to check your app signing configuration in the Play Console. To do this, follow these steps:


  • Go to the Play Console and select your app.



  • On the left menu, click Release > Setup > App integrity.



  • On the App signing key certificate section, check the SHA-1 fingerprint of your app signing key. This is the key that Google Play uses to sign your APKs.



  • On the Upload key certificate section, check the SHA-1 fingerprint of your upload key. This is the key that you use to sign your app bundle before uploading it to Google Play.



  • Compare the SHA-1 fingerprints of your app signing key and upload key with the SHA-1 fingerprint of the key that you used to sign your app bundle. You can find this information in the error message or by using a tool such as keytool.



  • If the SHA-1 fingerprints do not match, then you have used the wrong key to sign your app bundle. You need to use the same upload key that you registered with Google Play when you enrolled in Play App Signing.



Use the same key as another app in your developer account




If you have multiple apps in your developer account, you might have used the same key to sign them. This is not a problem if you use APKs, but it can cause issues if you use app bundles. Google Play does not allow two apps with different package names to have the same app signing key. Therefore, if you try to upload an app bundle that is signed with a key that is already used by another app in your account, you will get an error. To fix this, you need to use a different key for each app bundle that you upload. You can either generate a new upload key or request a new app signing key from Google.


Export and upload a key from Java keystore




If none of the above solutions work for you, you might have a problem with your Java keystore file, which is where your signing keys are stored. You might have lost, corrupted, or forgotten the password of your keystore file, or you might have used a different keystore file than the one you registered with Google Play. To fix this, you need to export and upload a key from your Java keystore file to Google Play. Here are the steps to follow:


  • Open a terminal and navigate to the directory where your keystore file is located.



  • Run the following command to export your key as a PEM file: keytool -export -rfc -keystore your-keystore-file -alias your-key-alias -file output-file.pem. Replace your-keystore-file, your-key-alias, and output-file.pem with the appropriate values. You will be prompted to enter the password of your keystore file and your key.



  • Go to the Play Console and select your app.



  • On the left menu, click Release > Setup > App integrity.



  • On the Upload key certificate section, click Export and upload a key (not using a Java keystore).



  • Follow the instructions on the screen to upload your PEM file and submit a request to Google.



  • Wait for Google to process your request and notify you by email when it is done.



Conclusion




In this article, we have explained what an APK or Android App Bundle is, why you need to sign it, what a signing key is, how to generate one, what are the benefits of using Play App Signing, and how to fix the error "Your Android App Bundle is signed with the wrong key". We hope that this article has helped you understand and resolve this common issue that Android developers face when uploading their apps to Google Play. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.


FAQs




What is the difference between APK and AAB?




An APK (Android Package Kit) is a file format that contains all the code, resources, assets, and certificates of an Android app. It is the file that you install on your device or distribute to other app stores. An Android App Bundle (AAB) is a publishing format for Android that is supported by Google Play and other app stores, and by build tools such as Android Studio, Bazel, Buck, Cocos Creator, Gradle, Unity, and Unreal. It is a file that contains all the code and resources of your app, but allows Google Play to generate optimized APKs for different device configurations.


Why do I need to sign my app?




Android requires that all APKs be digitally signed with a certificate before they are installed on a device or updated. Signing your app ensures that it has not been tampered with and that it comes from a trusted source. It also allows devices and services to verify that the app update is from the same developer as the previous version.


How do I sign my app using Android Studio?




If you are using Android Studio to develop your app, you can easily sign your app using the built-in wizard. You can either generate a new signing key or use an existing one. You can also choose between signing an app bundle or an APK. For more details, see How to generate a signing key using Android Studio.


What are the benefits of using Play App Signing?




Play App Signing is a service that Google Play offers to manage and protect your app signing key for you. It also enables Google Play to optimize your app size and delivery mode for different devices. Some of the benefits of using Play App Signing are:


  • Smaller app size and advanced delivery modes: Google Play generates and serves APKs that are tailored to each device configuration, such as screen size, language, and hardware features. This reduces the download size and installation time of your app. You can also use dynamic feature modules and asset delivery to deliver features and assets on demand or conditionally.



  • Increased security and key upgrade options: Google Play manages and protects your app signing key for you, so you don't have to worry about losing it or having it compromised. Google Play also uses a secure server infrastructure to sign your APKs, which prevents unauthorized access or tampering. You can also request a new app signing key from Google or provide a new one yourself if your key becomes weak or compromised.



How do I fix the error "Your Android App Bundle is signed with the wrong key"?


This error means that the app bundle that you uploaded is not signed with the same key that Google Play expects. This can happen for various reasons, such as using the wrong keystore file, using the same key as another app in your developer account, or having a problem with your Java keystore file. To fix this error, you need to check your app signing configuration in Play Console, use a different key for each app bundle that you upload, or export and upload a key from your Java keystore file. For more details, see How to fix the error "Your Android App Bundle is signed with the wrong key"?.


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