Thunkable APK Problems (Build Error, Unnecessary Permissions, Transmitting Android Advertising ID)

Hello everyone! I’ve been using Thunkable for 3 years now, and one of the apps I’ve made with it has been quite successful and is published on the Play Store! However, it’s been removed from the Play Store due to some SDKs/permissions in the APK file that I’m confident my app shouldn’t need to use. Please note: I am extremely unexperienced with APKs, SDKs, or Android development in general, so I desperately need all the help I can get! Also, I’m using the unpaid Basic version of Thunkable, and published on the Play Store without using Thunkable’s publish feature, although I doubt this might’ve caused any issues I’ll be mentioning in this topic.

There are a couple of issues I’m facing simultaneously, but I thought I’d put them in one post since they’re all closely related.

Firstly, I just made a couple changes to my app on Thunkable so that my update on the Play Store would have some fresh features for my potential and current users. However, when I tried downloading the APK file, I got this email:

I’ll be contacting Thunkable support, but I thought I’d add it here as well as I’ve seen some posts mentioning similar issues.

Secondly, this is the biggest issue that I’m facing: Thunkable is adding unnecessary permissions to my app. This post, along with a few others (A very similar issue to mine), have already mentioned it. Digging deep, I found that the main solution that everyone is using (or trying) is editing the manifest.xml file in their app’s APK file.
I’ve tried this with Android Studio, but it doesn’t allow me to edit the file, and I literally cannot find any solution so it would be absolutely fantastic if someone knows why this is happening and how to solve it (the read only message popped up when I pressed backspace on my laptop):

I’ve ALSO tried this with Apktool, and it’s a step closer, but when I try to recompile the APK or test it with the new xml file, it won’t let me as somehow the keystore or certification has been removed, and I’m not able to solve this issue either.
So if the only way to get rid of extra permissions and SDKs is editing the manifest.xml file of my app’s APK, PLEASE HELP ME!! :frowning:

And lastly, I’m attaching the message I’ve gotten from Google Play along with the instructions they’ve provided me to give some more context of my situation.

We’ve reviewed your appeal request and found that your app, cHHange - It’s Normal (, App Bundle Version: 2), still violates Google Play Policy. If you submitted an update to an existing app, the version published prior to the update is still available on Google Play. We’ve included details below about the specific issue with your app and what you can do to get your app back on Google Play.

Step 1: Fix the policy violations with your app

During review, we found that your app violates the Families Policy Requirements. We’ve identified that your app or an SDK in your app transmits identifier(s) that do not comply with our Families Policy. These identifiers may include, but are not limited to, Advertising ID.

For example, the destinations of Android Advertising ID transmission may include, but are not limited to,

Apps that solely target children, must not transmit the following:

** Android Advertising ID (AAID)*
** SIM Serial*
** Build Serial*
** MAC*
** SSID*
** IMEI and/or IMSI*

Apps that target both children and older audiences must not transmit the listed identifiers from children or users of unknown age.

Before resubmitting your app for further review, please make sure to DEACTIVATE the non-compliant version ( App Bundle Version: 2 ) and increment the version number of APK.

Thank you so much to whoever will read this and help me out! And I hope that the solutions to these problems can be applied to other similar situations you and others may be facing :heart:

Thunkable Support replied for my first issue, and the build error is resolved. It was due to an invalid character in my app’s name. However, the other issues remain unsolved. Would really appreciate some guidance if you have the time, Thunkable Community!

Thank you!

Hi @anikathescientist, thanks for flagging this second issue. It is one that comes up from time to time here in the Community. The short answer is because of certain packages released with all Thunkable published apps, they will not be eligible for Google’s Families Policy. You can see more about this here:

1 Like

Thank you @matt_conroy! I’ve seen this topic and understand the situation.
I was just wondering if there’s a workaround, because it’s really inconvenient for all my potential users who are adolescents and are interested in my app.

For instance, this post by @wrybread (Remove unnecessary permissions? - #4 by wrybread) says that the solution (workaround, actually) is to manually remove these permissions and/or SDKs in the manifest.xml file. This is what I tried to do as I mentioned in my topic, using both Android Studio AND Apktool, but nothing worked.

Hi @anikathescientist, at this current time there is no officially supported work-around for this issue.

We are aware of it and are looking into ways for users to be able to publish their apps successfully within the Families Policy. I don’t have a specific timeline for when that may happen but we will absolutely let all of our user’s know here when that option is available.

Hello @matt_conroy and everyone else, I have brought my app back up!
This is definitely not the best solution, but a great temporary one until Thunkable is able to find a way to comply to Google Play’s Families Policy.
I changed the “Target audience” section. I removed all the checkmarks next to children age groups, and only checked “18 and over.” Google Play brought my app back on the Play Store! So, to everyone who is facing this issue (@cseducator_mindchamp @mendh718t1b5 and others), and doesn’t know or want to do anything with APK editing and complicated Android Development, try this out! It may confuse some users, and that is a downside, but like I said, it’s the fastest and easiest thing to do to keep your app going! :slight_smile:

Step 1:
Scroll down on the left of Google Play Console and open “App Content”.

Step 2:
Find “Target audience and content” and click on “Manage”.

Step 3:
Only select “18 and over”, and mention that the app may unintentionally appeal to children.

Step 4:
Send changes to publish for review and await Google Play’s verdict :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Alright, thank you! Eagerly waiting for Thunkable to resolve this critical issue.

1 Like

Thank you @anikathescientist
I hope your app is back on Google Play Store. Unfortunately my students app was taken down after I had tried all the possible combinations. But I will try it once more, who knows … it may be a success. Thanks again. :slight_smile:

1 Like

No problem! I hope this works for you :blush:

sadly it doesn’t work, as our app is actually for very small kids , 3-8 yrs age group…
Thanks :slight_smile:

Oh, that’s tricky. Sorry to hear that! Hopefully you’ll find a solution soon

1 Like

Hi @anikathescientist and @matt_conroy , I had exactly the same problem you report but only today I thought it could be something to do with Thunkable!

I simply thought Google IT guys were confused :)… because I was completely sure there was nothing to do with Ads (AAID or anything like that) in my app (my IT knowledge is absolutely basic, not a clue what a xlm is).

I have just done what you recommed but got this answer:

So I´m afraid I want be that lucky. It is quite surprising Thunkable do not have this sorted out (Familiy program stuff for Google Play) and can´t wait @matt_conroy and his team can solve it.

Thanks a lot


Hi David! I actually faced this issue a few months ago too, before the SDK stuff. Basically, this issue is about your SDKs AND your permissions. It seems you got the permissions and SDK issue in one email, not 2 months apart like I did :sweat_smile:
To fix this location permission thing, I edited my Data Safety Form and said I used the precise location of the user for my app’s functionality (which, by the way, I do not). I wish I didn’t have to, but I haven’t been able to find any coding workaround because I also have basic IT knowledge :smiley: Hopefully Thunkable fixes this soon!

First, go to “App Content” (you need to scroll all the way down on the left menu to get there):

Then, find the section called “Data Safety” and click “Manage”. You can see that Google Play’s email also says that your app’s Data Safety Form is invalid, so this is what we need to fix.

The 3rd step of the Data Safety form asks you to specify your data types. Here, you can keep whatever you’ve already filled out and also select “Precise Location” under location to indicate that you use location in your app. You might not actually use it, but Thunkable specifies this permission by default, and there’s no way to remove it from what I know.

In the 4th step, they ask you to specify the usage. I answered the “Why is this user data collected?” question with “Analytics,” but you can go with whatever you want (except for App Functionality, because that indicates that your users HAVE to provide their location in order to use the app).

Then, submit your new and updated Data Safety Form to Google Play for review, along with your modified target audience and age. It should keep your app on the Play Store (until Google Play finds something else to target :frowning:)

Good luck!

Thanks a lot, I did work!
However, I have another issue now, that I will search about it first. Sometihing to do with an old API level.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.