Optimizing Play Store Review Times

Earlier this year, Trello noticed that Play Store uploads were being increasingly delayed before being sent to users. Whereas before we could depend on users getting new APKs in a few hours, now it was sometimes taking days.

After some investigation, we discovered an interesting property of the Play Store: changes to any track causes reviews to be reset for every track. That, combined with increased review times, was causing our app reviews to stall out.

How? Well, we have three tracks:

  • Production
  • Beta (public opt-in), which is an RC for production.
  • Internal (for Trellists only), which tracks our dev branch.

We figured, hey, signing up for internal means you're interested in cutting edge boards and cards, so we'll publish every time someone merges a PR. Unbeknownst to us, this meant that every merge would result in all our review times being reset.

Our solution? Switch to nightlies for internal. Our review times have been under a day, so a nightly internal track upload no longer busts our review cache. (If your review times are longer, then you may have to use a longer period for your internal track.)

It's not just publishing new APKs that can bust your review cache; any update to your listing can cause a new review to start, so be careful. Even uploading a draft APK (without publishing) can reset review times!

It's worth noting that if you use timed publishing, then the review starts when you upload the APK. If you're keen on releasing an update at an exact time, I suggest using timed publishing.