How to Convert PWA to an Android App?

Progressive web apps serve different functionalities when compared to a web app or Android app. PWA’s combine the advantages of the web app and native app and deliver highly responsive apps.

This article introduces ways to convert your PWA to APK which could be successfully uploaded to the Google Play store. (Yes, It’s possible in 2019 finally)

Before we dive in let’s look into some advantages and disadvantages of PWA in the present scenario.

PWA is a wise choice if you want your website to work offline. Moreover, a PWA works 2–3X times faster than a standard site. ( You can easily spot difference while loading up PWA site and non-PWA site: Read this for PWA examples)

You are allowing your users to access your eCommerce store(or website), even when they are offline which in turn helps to increase customer retention and sales. Additionally, the way PWA loads guarantees 100% uptime in load scenarios.

And now for some disadvantages of PWA,

Lack of presence in PlayStore/ AppStore: PWA’s cannot be uploaded to PlayStore/ AppStore(Till now, read on this article to learn how you can upload successfully to store). PWA’s currently can only be discovered in Google Search. This has turned out to be lack of discoverability. Because recent studies say that people use PlayStore/ AppStore for search queries just as how they use Google search.

Trust Issues: The one reason for people to prefer apps from PlayStore is that they trust apps from PlayStore. Google Play Protect helps us to keep the local device safe by running a security check just before the user installs the app. Whereas in the case of PWAs people are aware that it’s just another website and security can be easily compromised.

‘Add to Home’ Button is not charming always: Now you’ll be like- “What! Thought it was the best part”. Yeah, I get it. It was the cherry on top of the cake. But not always. An Add to home button is disliked by most of the internet users( Many even haven’t clicked on it to see what it does, that’s no way user behavior is since the inception of the internet). If this is how the things are moving and people don’t want to click on the ‘Add to Home button’, the actual purpose of PWA’s would die.

The real App feels: Even with an Add to home button there is an address bar displayed in PWA’s and this effects real app feel whereas an android app delivers a complete app feature. ( Almost there, you can convert PWA to Full-screen app experience at the end, read on)

And it seems like turning your Progressive web app(PWA) to Android app is one solution to overcome the issues mentioned above.

How to Convert PWA to an Android App?

Bonus: And upload to Playstore

TLDR: Visit PWA2APK to convert PWA to APK file instantaneously.

Solving Discoverability Let’s be sure that your customers don’t go undiscovered your app. By converting PWA to APK file, you can upload your PWA app to Google Play (Playstore). This makes discoverability easier.

As a Bonus: PWA’s are small in size when compared to an App. And when you convert your PWA’s to APK that stays the same.

(An example comparison would be a size difference between Google Maps app and Maps Go app. Google Maps app for Android are several MBs whereas Maps Go app is just a few KBs!)

Trusted Web Activities was a recent release by Google for Chrome Android for Full Screen PWA app experience. This article by Julien Bataillé helps you learn the usefulness of TWA’s or you could check out this video tutorial about how to get your PWA into PlayStore using TWA. (TLDR, it takes hours to get it done!!)

You can read more about TWA here.

Ditching ‘Add to Homescreen’ button: It doesn’t make sense for PWA Apps which were downloaded by Playstore is again asking for ‘Add to Homescreen’. Hence Mobile apps won’t have that option + they are in full screen (Thanks to TWA)

If you are looking for a manual solution, you can read Maximiliano Firtman’s medium article https://medium.com/@firt/google-play-store-now-open-for-progressive-web-apps-ec6f3c6ff3cc. The steps detailed are quite long and takes a few hours to do so. (In fact, PWA2APK got its inspiration from that article)

OR

Follow this 7-minute video (Coding involved)

OR

Another Simplest and easy solution to convert your PWA to APK without writing any code is PWA2APK. Here you can get your APK in just a few simple steps.

Converting PWA to APK involves just four steps

  • -Enter URL: Enter the PWA URl of which you want to turn into APK
  • You can give a custom name for your android app.
  • After submitting, You can download and install the JSON file. This is apart of the verification procedure.
  • Next, you will be provided with the options to download APK, Source code, and certificate.

Guess what? Your PWA is now successfully converted into an Android app and you can publish it in PlayStore.( Do check out FAQ)

Summarizing, I have detailed 3 different ways one can use to convert their PWA’s to Android App.

  1. (Estimated time: 2 hours)Following Maximiliano Firtman’s blog: https://medium.com/@firt/google-play-store-now-open-for-progressive-web-apps-ec6f3c6ff3cc
  2. (Estimated time: 45 Minutes)Watching FireTV’s youtube tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JDFjeMvxos
  3. (Estimated time: Less than 1 Minute) Using PWA2APK

This is the perfect time for your PWA to be on Playstore and grow your customers on mobile.

If you like this blog, don’t forget to clap, so that others can leverage this opportunity to upload their PWA’s to Playstore.