There seems to be something going on in the Google Play App Store. While reviewing an app in the Google Play Store used to take about 2 hours on average, this can now take up to days. A frustrating phenomenon, for both developer and client. At Coffee IT, we also seem to be affected by this longer review period when we look at publishing an app in the Google Play Store. That's why our developers figured it out. Why does it take so long to publish an app on the Google Play Store? Is this a result of the stricter Google Play Store guidelines?

"My app is stuck in 'Pending publication', "Processing update" state for a week."

That's what it says on several discussion forums from, among others Stack Overflow and Google's Play Store Developers forum. It seems that this is indeed a result of Google's stricter guidelines in the Play Store. So has Google in a reaction indicated that it can take up to 7 days (or longer in exceptional cases) for an app to be reviewed by Google. The purpose of this is to better protect the user against questionable or dangerous apps.

Stricter control of apps in Play Store

The reason for these stricter checks is the increasing number of deceptive apps that are found every time. Apps were made available almost immediately in the Store and there was hardly any control over app updates, for example. Previous measures to minimize the number of dangerous apps had little effect, so Google has taken a new approach. If you previously wanted to add an app to the Play Store as a developer, the verification process was relatively simple. As long as no known malware was found in the source code of the app, the app was quickly approved. The description was also checked for questionable terms. As far as is known, these checks were mainly carried out automatically. This software was designed to detect mainly adware, malware, viruses, copyright violations and sexual content.

Google has previously announced that it will use people in the validation process. This longer 'pending publication' status seems to be proof that this has been implemented. As soon as developers like us upload an app to the Play Store, it is inspected through manual checks. Earlier, Google implemented the Entertainment Software Rating Boards (ESRB). This is an age-based point system that indicates whether an app or game is suitable for children. Previously, this was done by the developers themselves.

What is the result of the tightened Google Play Store guidelines

As a result for users, it can take several days for an app to become available once a developer has announced it. Updates with new features can also take longer. However, Google can guarantee better protection and they raise the bar for quality. This new policy may require the app owner to use Google's payment processor. Which means that in the first year you have to pay 30% of the transaction costs per subscriber to the distribution partner. After the first 12 months this will increase to 15%. Software developers are most affected by this new policy from Google. Complaints are common on Reddit, Stack Overflow, and other developer forums. Previously a review could take minutes, now it is comparable to the Apple App Store processing time. What developers mainly fall over is the poor communication because it was not sufficiently announced in advance. Several developers also indicate that they are waiting for notification from Google and that there is still a lot of uncertainty.


We naturally find it annoying to have to wait longer for an app to be approved in the Google Play Store. Both for us as developers and for our clients. But we do like the fact that there is better monitoring for dangerous and poor-quality apps. We hope that Google will soon clarify the guidelines so that we can better serve our clients and communicate what is going on. For now we ask for a little patience for team Android.

direct contact


Do you have a question or would you like to know more? Contact me and I'll be happy to help you!

Or view my LinkedIn.

Stephanie Stam