APK Could not be installed

I was inspired this past weekend and went through a personal coding marathon. While doing some experiments and making observations I accidentally stumbled on an idea for a new game. This game would be so inspiring that I had it 90% complete after 30 hours of coding (or roughly 2.5 days).

I spent the next two days tweaking it and showing it to people who’s opinions I respect and am getting ready to release it into the Google Marketplace tonight.  In Unity (as with all apps) you need to set up a Keystore and sign your application. This is standard practice and the only speedbump I ran into was needing to put the path to the jdk\bin directory in my system path…

I finally have Unity export my finished APK and attempt to install it on my phone. Everything appears to be going great. The installation bar is chugging away and then all of a sudden I am hit with an incredibly ambiguous error:

APK Could not be installed.

The only option was to hit “OK”…. really? No further explanation? I’ve installed this APK dozens of times and have never had a problem… what changed? I deleted the .apk and re-transferred it over. I rebuilt it several times in Unity but I kept getting hit with the same error: “APK Could not be installed.”

The answer turned out to be fairly simple. I changed the certificate when I signed the game, and Android prevents this as a security measure. All I had to do was uninstall my game from my phone and then install the new APK. Trying to “overwrite” the APK with a different certificate is what causes this error.

Should have been obvious, but for me it just wasn’t…

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