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If an app such as Pokemon Go isn't available on Google Play store yet, and millions of people download it from apkmirror.com for three days, does that mean during this time Google Play store doesn't want to support or pay for the download bandwidth?

Or does it mean the app is still under verification and Google still has to verify the app? But if so, millions of people still download it regardless.

I am somewhat concerned because if it is the director or CTO / CFO or government officials thinking apkmirror.com is 100% safe and download the app, you never know whether the app is tampered and what the app can be doing. It gives a security hash but even that can be tampered or hacked. If it is Google Play store, at least you know you have Google to stand behind it.

P.S. Niantic announced the update on Nov 1, 2017, and right now is Nov 6 and the update is still not out on the Google Play Store yet. But it has been on apkmirror.com since Nov 1. It doesn't show how many downloads so far, but it could be hundred of thousand of people, if not millions, because the update has bug fixes and also said to allow users to power up Pokemon to level 40, which was affected by a bug since one year ago that only allowed people to power up to level 39. Well, the "bug fix", after one year, turned out, reported by other players, to only allow players to power up to level 39.5, but due to this fix, it could be many users already went the apkmirror.com route to download it.

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No, it doesn't mean that at all. It just means the developer of the app doesn't want to launch it on Google Play yet. In the case of Pokemon Go, it's because Niantic want to have a closed beta period to limit the load on their game servers, but people are pirating the app through sites like apkmirror.com.

Unlike the Apple App Store, Google Play doesn't have a manual verification process on apps, so there's no week-long delay between the developer uploading the app and it being published. Apps on Google Play are published immediately when the developer chooses to publish them.


The above applies just as much to updates as to the initial version. When a developer uploads a new version to Google Play, they can choose to roll it out only to a list of chosen users as a "closed beta", or to do a "staged rollout" to a randomly selected subset of users (say 5% of users). Again, this is the developer's choice, not Google's.

Staged rollouts are good for developers of the most popular apps, because it exposes the new app to some live users in real-life conditions. If there's a problem it's easy to revert the update or just avoid sending it to the remaining 95% of users until the problem is fixed, depending on how severe it is. That way, most users aren't affected by the problem.

When a closed beta or staged rollout is happening, the majority of users won't see that there is an update at all, and they can't access the update through Google Play. A closed beta might last for a few weeks or a month, but a staged rollout is typically less than a week. After that, all remaining users get the update.

It only takes one user in the beta to upload a pirated APK file to a piracy site, which is why you'll see the update there before you get it officially.

  • it would seem weird that Niantic would like Apple to approve the new version ASAP, while holding back on the Google Play store... maybe one explanation is Niantic want them to go out at the same time for iOS and Android? But then, who can pirate it and put on apkmirror.com if Niantic never published it on Google Play store yet? – 太極者無極而生 Nov 2 '17 at 12:24
  • @太極者無極而生They did publish it on the Play Store. It sounds more like they aren't distributing it in your country, or your device is not compatible. – eldarerathis Nov 2 '17 at 14:16
  • @eldarerathis Or the device has been modified, and SafetyNet cannot be passed. – Death Mask Salesman Nov 2 '17 at 14:46
  • @DeathMaskSalesman Yep, also a possibility. I forgot about that one. – eldarerathis Nov 2 '17 at 15:02
  • Usually, the pattern is: (1) Pokemon Go is announced to be in the process of an update. (2) apkmirror.com will have it almost instantly or within the next few hours (3) two to three days later, Google Play store and Apple App Store will both have it. My device is an unmodified, top of the line Android phone... almost everyone is in the Pokemon Go community is experiencing this pattern – 太極者無極而生 Nov 3 '17 at 2:08

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