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Distribute Enterprise Apps to Android devices

An enterprise app or in-house app is an application developed to use within the organization. Since these apps are designed to be used internally, it cannot be distributed to the public. Therefore, they are not published in the Play Store. Hexnode simplifies the process of distributing enterprise apps in many ways.

Add Enterprise App to the Hexnode app inventory

First, you need to add the app to the Hexnode console.

Follow the steps to add the app as an enterprise app to the Hexnode console.

  1. Login to your Hexnode portal.
  2. Go to Apps.
  3. Select +Add Apps > Enterprise app.
  4. Select the Android as the Platform.
  5. The Enterprise app can be added in two ways.
    • APK or XAPK file.
    • From manifest path.

Upload Enterprise apps using APK/XAPK files

Add enterprise apps using APK or XAPK files for Android devices enrolled in Hexnode UEM

  • App Name: Provide a name to identify the app.
  • Category: Select a category available from the drop-down list. You can also add a missing category by clicking on the add (+) button and providing a suitable name.
  • Description: Provide a description of the app.
  • Choose the APK/XAPK file: Select the APK/XAPK file of the app to be distributed as an enterprise app.
  • Notify admin via email once app upload succeeds/fails: Checking this option will notify the admin via mail on the app upload status.

Add Enterprise Apps from Manifest Path

Add enterprise apps from the manifest path for Android devices enrolled in Hexnode UEM

  • App Name: Provide a name to identify the app.
  • File format: Choose the file format present in the manifest path.
  • Url: Provide the direct download link to the APK/XAPK file.
  • Identifier: Provide the identifier of the URL.
    An identifier will be of the form,
    ‘Domain name.Company/Publisher’s name.Application Name’.
    For example, com.hexnode.hexnodemdm
  • Version Name: Provide the version name of the APK or the base APK in the XAPK file.
  • Version Code: Provide the version code of the APK. If you chose the XAPK file format, provide the version code of the base APK in the XAPK file.
    Notes:


    The version name and the version code you enter in the Hexnode portal must be the same as the current version of the APK file. In the case of XAPK files, the configured version name and the version code must be the same as that of the base APK in the XAPK file. If you change the APK file (or the base APK in the case of XAPK files) at the source of download, change the version name and code correspondingly from the Hexnode app inventory.

  • Category: Select a category available from the drop-down list. You can also add a missing category by clicking on the add (+) button and providing a suitable name.
  • Description: Provide a description of the app.

Install apps to devices via Actions

To install the app(s) on a device via the Install Application action:

  1. Go to Manage > Devices and click on the device name.
  2. From the device details page, click on Actions > Install Application.
  3. Select the app(s) from the list and click Done.

To install the app(s) on multiple devices:

  1. Go to Manage > Devices.
  2. Select the devices on which the app(s) should be installed.
  3. Click on Actions > Install Application.
  4. Select the app(s) from the list and click Done.
Notes:

  • Make sure you have enabled Unknown Sources from Settings > Security, on your device to get the app installed.
  • App installations from unknown sources can be enabled remotely on Samsung Knox and Android Enterprise devices from Policies > Android > Restrictions > Advanced > Allow app settings > Install apps from unknown sources.
  • Silent app installation of the in-house app is supported on Samsung Knox, LG GATE, Kyocera business phones, Android devices with Hexnode MDM as a System app, devices with platform signed Hexnode System Agent app, and Android Enterprise devices enrolled as Device Owner.
  • For silent installation of an in-house app on an Android Enterprise Profile Owner enrolled device, publish the app as a private app in the Google Play console and approve them as Managed Google apps.
  • On legacy Android devices, the user should initiate the app installation from the device. The device notifies the user regarding the app availability when it is distributed from the portal.
  • Hexnode uses the SHA-256 checksum to ensure that the apps are not corrupted while uploading them to the portal and deploying them to devices.

Install apps to devices via Policies

You can also add an Enterprise app from Policies, in several ways as given below.

Method 1: Set mandatory apps.

Follow the steps to push enterprise app as mandatory app.

  1. Login to your Hexnode portal.
  2. Go to Policies.
  3. Select an existing policy or create a new one by clicking on New Policy. If you are creating a new policy, provide a suitable policy name and description.
  4. Navigate to Android > App Management > Mandatory Apps and click on Configure.
  5. Remove apps from the device on policy removal: Checking this option removes the mandatory apps from the device on deleting/disassociating the policy from the device, and on removing the mandatory app from the policy.
  6. Enforce app downgrade: Check the option to downgrade an app to its lower versions. Learn more.
    Note:

    • On Samsung Knox devices running Android version below 7.0, apps can be silently downgraded without clearing the app data.
    • On Samsung Knox devices running Android 7.0 and later, LG GATE, and Kyocera business phones, apps can be downgraded silently, but the app data will get cleared.

  7. Update apps only over Wi-Fi: Checking this option allows apps to update only when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. When a new update for the application is available, connect the device to a Wi-Fi network and keep it in an inactive state. Ensure that the app to be updated is not running in the foreground and the device should be in charging mode.
  8. Note:

    • This option is supported only on apps deployed via Managed Google Play on devices enrolled via Android Enterprise program.

  9. Click on +Add > select Add Apps or Add Group.
  10. Select the apps already added to the Apps tab. If you’ve created an App Group at Apps > App Groups, then select the app group from the list.
  11. Save the policy after associating target entities.

Method 2: Push enterprise apps through App Catalog

Follow the steps to push enterprise app through App Catalog. First you need to create an App Catalog.

  • Go to Policies.
  • Select an existing policy or create a new one by clicking on New Policy.
  • Navigate to Android > App Management > App Catalog and click on Configure.
  • Click on +Add Catalogs. Select the catalogs with enterprise apps you need to add and click on Done.

Associate Policies with Devices / Groups

If the policy has not yet been saved.

  1. Navigate to Policy Targets.
  2. Click on +Add Devices.
  3. Select the devices and click OK.
  4. Click on Save to apply the policies to devices.

Apart from devices, you can also associate the policies with device groups, users, user groups and domains from Policy Targets.

If the policy has been saved, you can associate it with another method.

  1. From Policies, check the policies to be associated.
  2. Click on Manage > Associate Targets and select the device.
  3. Click on Associate to apply policy to the devices.
Note:


The Downloads tab in the Hexnode UEM/Hexnode for Work app helps users keep track of the download status of the enterprise apps pushed from the Hexnode portal. As the download progresses, the Downloads tab displays the distributed files in either of the following sub-sections: Active, Failed, and Completed.

  • Active: Displays ongoing downloads.
  • Failed: Displays the files that failed to download.
  • Completed: Lists all of the successfully downloaded files.

You can use the search option at the top of the Downloads tab to search any specific file. You can tap the ellipsis icon at the top right corner and click the Refresh button from the drop-down to refresh the download entries of the files pushed from the Hexnode portal. There is also a “Clear All” option to remove all the download entries. It will only remove the download entries from the Downloads tab, whereas the downloaded files will remain on the device.

Download status of enterprise app shown in Downloads tab of Hexnode UEM/Hexnode for Work app

  • Deploying and Managing Apps