Build and release an Android app

To test an app, you can use flutter run at the command line, or the Run and Debug options in your IDE.

When you're ready to prepare a release version of your app, for example to publish to the Google Play Store, this page can help. Before publishing, you might want to put some finishing touches on your app. This guide explains how to perform the following tasks:

Add a launcher icon


When a new Flutter app is created, it has a default launcher icon. To customize this icon, you might want to check out the flutter_launcher_icons package.

Alternatively, you can do it manually using the following steps:

  1. Review the Material Design product icons guidelines for icon design.

  2. In the [project]/android/app/src/main/res/ directory, place your icon files in folders named using configuration qualifiers. The default mipmap- folders demonstrate the correct naming convention.

  3. In AndroidManifest.xml, update the application tag's android:icon attribute to reference icons from the previous step (for example, <application android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher" ...).

  4. To verify that the icon has been replaced, run your app and inspect the app icon in the Launcher.

Enable Material Components


If your app uses Platform Views, you might want to enable Material Components by following the steps described in the Getting Started guide for Android.

For example:

  1. Add the dependency on Android's Material in <my-app>/android/app/build.gradle:
dependencies {
    // ...
    // ...

To find out the latest version, visit Google Maven.

  1. Set the light theme in <my-app>/android/app/src/main/res/values/styles.xml:
-<style name="NormalTheme" parent="@android:style/Theme.Light.NoTitleBar">
+<style name="NormalTheme" parent="Theme.MaterialComponents.Light.NoActionBar">
  1. Set the dark theme in <my-app>/android/app/src/main/res/values-night/styles.xml
-<style name="NormalTheme" parent="@android:style/Theme.Black.NoTitleBar">
+<style name="NormalTheme" parent="Theme.MaterialComponents.DayNight.NoActionBar">

Sign the app


To publish on the Play Store, you need to sign your app with a digital certificate.

Android uses two signing keys: upload and app signing.

  • Developers upload an .aab or .apk file signed with an upload key to the Play Store.
  • The end-users download the .apk file signed with an app signing key.

To create your app signing key, use Play App Signing as described in the official Play Store documentation.

To sign your app, use the following instructions.

Create an upload keystore


If you have an existing keystore, skip to the next step. If not, create one using one of the following methods:

  1. Follow the Android Studio key generation steps

  2. Run the following command at the command line:

    On macOS or Linux, use the following command:

    keytool -genkey -v -keystore ~/upload-keystore.jks -keyalg RSA \
            -keysize 2048 -validity 10000 -alias upload

    On Windows, use the following command in PowerShell:

    keytool -genkey -v -keystore $env:USERPROFILE\upload-keystore.jks `
            -storetype JKS -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000 `
            -alias upload

    This command stores the upload-keystore.jks file in your home directory. If you want to store it elsewhere, change the argument you pass to the -keystore parameter. However, keep the keystore file private; don't check it into public source control!

Reference the keystore from the app


Create a file named [project]/android/ that contains a reference to your keystore. Don't include the angle brackets (< >). They indicate that the text serves as a placeholder for your values.


The storeFile might be located at /Users/<user name>/upload-keystore.jks on macOS or C:\\Users\\<user name>\\upload-keystore.jks on Windows.

Configure signing in gradle


When building your app in release mode, configure gradle to use your upload key. To configure gradle, edit the <project>/android/app/build.gradle file.

  1. Define and load the keystore properties file before the android property block.

  2. Set the keystoreProperties object to load the file.

    +   def keystoreProperties = new Properties()
    +   def keystorePropertiesFile = rootProject.file('')
    +   if (keystorePropertiesFile.exists()) {
    +       keystoreProperties.load(new FileInputStream(keystorePropertiesFile))
    +   }
       android {
  3. Add the signing configuration before the buildTypes property block inside the android property block.

        android {
    +       signingConfigs {
    +           release {
    +               keyAlias keystoreProperties['keyAlias']
    +               keyPassword keystoreProperties['keyPassword']
    +               storeFile keystoreProperties['storeFile'] ? file(keystoreProperties['storeFile']) : null
    +               storePassword keystoreProperties['storePassword']
    +           }
    +       }
            buildTypes {
               release {
                  // TODO: Add your own signing config for the release build.
                  // Signing with the debug keys for now,
                  // so `flutter run --release` works.
    -                signingConfig signingConfigs.debug
    +                signingConfig signingConfigs.release

Flutter now signs all release builds.

To learn more about signing your app, check out Sign your app on

Shrink your code with R8


R8 is the new code shrinker from Google. It's enabled by default when you build a release APK or AAB. To disable R8, pass the --no-shrink flag to flutter build apk or flutter build appbundle.

Enable multidex support


When writing large apps or making use of large plugins, you might encounter Android's dex limit of 64k methods when targeting a minimum API of 20 or below. This might also be encountered when running debug versions of your app using flutter run that does not have shrinking enabled.

Flutter tool supports easily enabling multidex. The simplest way is to opt into multidex support when prompted. The tool detects multidex build errors and asks before making changes to your Android project. Opting in allows Flutter to automatically depend on androidx.multidex:multidex and use a generated FlutterMultiDexApplication as the project's application.

When you try to build and run your app with the Run and Debug options in your IDE, your build might fail with the following message:

Build failure because Multidex support is required

To enable multidex from the command line, run flutter run --debug and select an Android device:

Selecting an Android device with the flutter CLI.

When prompted, enter y. The Flutter tool enables multidex support and retries the build:

The output of a successful build after adding multidex.

You might also choose to manually support multidex by following Android's guides and modifying your project's Android directory configuration. A multidex keep file must be specified to include:


Also, include any other classes used in app startup. For more detailed guidance on adding multidex support manually, check out the official Android documentation.

Review the app manifest


Review the default App Manifest file.

<manifest xmlns:android="">
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/>

Verify the following values:

applicationEdit the android:label in the application tag to reflect the final name of the app.
uses-permissionAdd the android.permission.INTERNET permission value to the android:name attribute if your app needs Internet access. The standard template doesn't include this tag but allows Internet access during development to enable communication between Flutter tools and a running app.

Review or change the Gradle build configuration


To verify the Android build configuration, review the android block in the default Gradle build script. The default Gradle build script is found at [project]/android/app/build.gradle. You can change the values of any of these properties.

android {
    namespace = "com.example.[project]"
    // Any value starting with "flutter." gets its value from
    // the Flutter Gradle plugin.
    // To change from these defaults, make your changes in this file.
    compileSdk = flutter.compileSdkVersion
    ndkVersion = flutter.ndkVersion


    defaultConfig {
        // TODO: Specify your own unique Application ID (
        applicationId = "com.example.[project]"
        // You can update the following values to match your application needs.
        minSdk = flutter.minSdkVersion
        targetSdk = flutter.targetSdkVersion
        // These two properties use values defined elsewhere in this file.
        // You can set these values in the property declaration
        // or use a variable.
        versionCode = flutterVersionCode.toInteger()
        versionName = flutterVersionName

    buildTypes {

Properties to adjust in build.gradle

PropertyPurposeDefault Value
compileSdkThe Android API level against which your app is compiled. This should be the highest version available. If you set this property to 31, you run your app on a device running API 30 or earlier as long as your app makes uses no APIs specific to 31.
.applicationIdThe final, unique application ID that identifies your app.
.minSdkThe minimum Android API level for which you designed your app to run.flutter.minSdkVersion
.targetSdkThe Android API level against which you tested your app to run. Your app should run on all Android API levels up to this one.flutter.targetSdkVersion
.versionCodeA positive integer that sets an internal version number. This number only determines which version is more recent than another. Greater numbers indicate more recent versions. App users never see this value.
.versionNameA string that your app displays as its version number. Set this property as a raw string or as a reference to a string resource.
.buildToolsVersionThe Gradle plugin specifies the default version of the Android build tools that your project uses. To specify a different version of the build tools, change this value.

To learn more about Gradle, check out the module-level build section in the Gradle build file.

Build the app for release


You have two possible release formats when publishing to the Play Store.

  • App bundle (preferred)
  • APK

Build an app bundle


This section describes how to build a release app bundle. If you completed the signing steps, the app bundle will be signed. At this point, you might consider obfuscating your Dart code to make it more difficult to reverse engineer. Obfuscating your code involves adding a couple flags to your build command, and maintaining additional files to de-obfuscate stack traces.

From the command line:

  1. Enter cd [project]
  2. Run flutter build appbundle
    (Running flutter build defaults to a release build.)

The release bundle for your app is created at [project]/build/app/outputs/bundle/release/app.aab.

By default, the app bundle contains your Dart code and the Flutter runtime compiled for armeabi-v7a (ARM 32-bit), arm64-v8a (ARM 64-bit), and x86-64 (x86 64-bit).

Test the app bundle


An app bundle can be tested in multiple ways. This section describes two.

Offline using the bundle tool

  1. If you haven't done so already, download bundletool from the GitHub repository.
  2. Generate a set of APKs from your app bundle.
  3. Deploy the APKs to connected devices.

Online using Google Play

  1. Upload your bundle to Google Play to test it. You can use the internal test track, or the alpha or beta channels to test the bundle before releasing it in production.
  2. Follow these steps to upload your bundle to the Play Store.

Build an APK


Although app bundles are preferred over APKs, there are stores that don't yet support app bundles. In this case, build a release APK for each target ABI (Application Binary Interface).

If you completed the signing steps, the APK will be signed. At this point, you might consider obfuscating your Dart code to make it more difficult to reverse engineer. Obfuscating your code involves adding a couple flags to your build command.

From the command line:

  1. Enter cd [project].

  2. Run flutter build apk --split-per-abi. (The flutter build command defaults to --release.)

This command results in three APK files:

  • [project]/build/app/outputs/apk/release/app-armeabi-v7a-release.apk
  • [project]/build/app/outputs/apk/release/app-arm64-v8a-release.apk
  • [project]/build/app/outputs/apk/release/app-x86_64-release.apk

Removing the --split-per-abi flag results in a fat APK that contains your code compiled for all the target ABIs. Such APKs are larger in size than their split counterparts, causing the user to download native binaries that are not applicable to their device's architecture.

Install an APK on a device


Follow these steps to install the APK on a connected Android device.

From the command line:

  1. Connect your Android device to your computer with a USB cable.
  2. Enter cd [project].
  3. Run flutter install.

Publish to the Google Play Store


For detailed instructions on publishing your app to the Google Play Store, check out the Google Play launch documentation.

Update the app's version number


The default version number of the app is 1.0.0. To update it, navigate to the pubspec.yaml file and update the following line:

version: 1.0.0+1

The version number is three numbers separated by dots, such as 1.0.0 in the example above, followed by an optional build number such as 1 in the example above, separated by a +.

Both the version and the build number can be overridden in Flutter's build by specifying --build-name and --build-number, respectively.

In Android, build-name is used as versionName while build-number used as versionCode. For more information, check out Version your app in the Android documentation.

When you rebuild the app for Android, any updates in the version number from the pubspec file will update the versionName and versionCode in the file.

Android release FAQ


Here are some commonly asked questions about deployment for Android apps.

When should I build app bundles versus APKs?


The Google Play Store recommends that you deploy app bundles over APKs because they allow a more efficient delivery of the application to your users. However, if you're distributing your application by means other than the Play Store, an APK might be your only option.

What is a fat APK?


A fat APK is a single APK that contains binaries for multiple ABIs embedded within it. This has the benefit that the single APK runs on multiple architectures and thus has wider compatibility, but it has the drawback that its file size is much larger, causing users to download and store more bytes when installing your application. When building APKs instead of app bundles, it is strongly recommended to build split APKs, as described in build an APK using the --split-per-abi flag.

What are the supported target architectures?


When building your application in release mode, Flutter apps can be compiled for armeabi-v7a (ARM 32-bit), arm64-v8a (ARM 64-bit), and x86-64 (x86 64-bit).

How do I sign the app bundle created by flutter build appbundle?


See Signing the app.

How do I build a release from within Android Studio?


In Android Studio, open the existing android/ folder under your app's folder. Then, select build.gradle (Module: app) in the project panel:

The Gradle build script menu in Android Studio.

Next, select the build variant. Click Build > Select Build Variant in the main menu. Select any of the variants in the Build Variants panel (debug is the default):

The build variant menu in Android Studio with Release selected.

The resulting app bundle or APK files are located in build/app/outputs within your app's folder.