Installing a test app using Google Play

Google Play has an awesome Alpha testing system, allowing you to download pre-release versions of apps when their developer invites you. However the invite system can be confusing.

So, this is how you install an app as a private alpha testing user.

Firstly, your app developer should have given you a link like https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.appsinthesky.colourifico. Go to that page.

  • If you get the “App not available” message like the below, then you’ve got the link wrong or your developer hasn’t enabled testing correctly.
    Google Play app not available for alpha testing
  • If you get the “App not available for this account” message as below, then the account you’re signed in with isn’t on the private testers list. More on this below.
    Google Play app not available for this account
  • If you’re asked to sign in, then sign in with your address as it appears in the private testers list.

A word on accounts. Google requires you to visit the link having logged in as one of the accounts in the private testers list. This is the cause of most of the issues we’ve experienced with this system. If you have multiple Google accounts, you’ll have to switch to the correct one using Google’s standard view switcher button (top right):

Google View Switcher button

(hit the rightmost of these buttons).

Finally you should get the “Become a tester” screen. Hit the blue button, and you’ll get a link to the Play Store to download the app.

Google Play successful test invite screen