expo publish: Why do OTA updates work in development mode?

Hi, every1 :wave:

I noticed that when I click on “Publish or republish project …” button in development mode my app in Play Market automatically gets updated(I thought expo upload does that).
Снимок экрана 2020-11-28 в 7.46.21 PM

It is a very unclear moment for me because earlier I built 2 apk files and uploaded them to store with different versions, but publishing to Expo hosting was a place where our team was testing new features because it is convenient to scan QR-code so each teammate can see changes fast.

Moreover, there is a switch button to Production mode below and I couldn’t find info in docs what’s the difference then if I publish the project in development mode or production? Why do these OTA updates work in development mode?

Could you guide me, how can use expo publish to upload my app only to Expo hosting like in development mode without updating app in Play Market, and then how can I publish a new app version like in production mode(should I use expo upload or just expo publish because I got confused with that 2 commands).


If you “publish”, the published code becomes available for an app that was deployed to the App/Play stores, and is also available to run in the Expo app.

An app will only download OTA updates that were created with the same SDK version and release channel. If you don’t specify a release channel when publishing/building then the “default” release channel is automatically used.

So if you don’t want your test versions to interfere with the apps on the App/Play stores, you should publish/build them on a different release channel. When your testers are happy with the test version, you can “promote” that version to the “default” release channel so that the apps on the App/Play stores can see it and download it.

Thanks for the quick response, @wodin! I will try to publish using release channel.

By the way, I don’t see changes in my app from App Store, when I use expo publish, only in app from Play Market. Do OTA updates work with App Store?

They do, as long as the SDK version and release channel match, and updates were enabled in your app.json when you built the app.

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