Generating unsigned, release apk with Android Studio-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

I need to generate an unsigned, release APK (where someone else will then sign it and release it to the store- with the someone else handling the keys and everything else). My problem is that Android Studio throws an error whenever I try to build:

app-flavorUnsigned-release-unsigned.apk is not signed. Please configure the signing information for the selected flavor using the Project Structure dialog.

I’ve tried several, previous methods:

  • Failed at creating an Artifact (can’t find any menus with “Artifacts” anywhere, although for editing configurations I found the option to choose a custom Artifact) [Probably best bet]
  • Creating an empty signing config
  • Creating a custom flavor
  • Using the terminal to run gradle assemble or gradle assembleRelease (which fail due to one of my important module libraries trying to be built)

Here is my current [app’s] build.gradle:

apply plugin: ''

android {
    signingConfigs {
        unsigned {
            storePassword = ""
            keyAlias = ""
            keyPassword = ""
    compileSdkVersion 19
    buildToolsVersion "20.0.0"
    defaultConfig {
        applicationId "hiddenForClientPrivacy"
        minSdkVersion 13
        targetSdkVersion 20
        versionCode 1
        versionName "1.0"
        signingConfig signingConfigs.unsigned
    buildTypes {
        release {
            minifyEnabled false
            proguardFiles getDefaultProguardFile('proguard-android.txt'), ''
            signingConfig signingConfigs.unsigned
        unsignedBuild {
            debuggable false
            versionNameSuffix '-unsigned'
            signingConfig signingConfigs.unsigned
        debug {

    productFlavors {
        flavorUnsigned {
            versionCode = 1;

dependencies {
    compile fileTree(dir: 'libs', include: ['*.jar'])
    compile ''
    compile project(':SlidingMenu')
    compile ''
    compile 'com.github.castorflex.verticalviewpager:library:19.0.1'

Thank you for any and all help.

Post-Help Edit:
As the marked accepted answer shows, I had to clear out the release block. Furthermore, I was clicking on the “Run” button- which should appropriately show an error as I can’t run an unsigned release apk on an emulator or device. The accepted answer describes everything.

How to solve:

In the release build type, don’t specify a signingConfig at all, and your build won’t be signed. Release builds don’t pick up the default signing config that debug builds get, so it should work for those.

There’s a discussion on the adt-dev mailing list about it.

Bear in mind that to build from Android Studio, you’ll need to go to the Gradle tasks window and choose the assembleRelease task; normal builds via “Make Project” don’t actually build the final APK.


Actually you can build an unsigned .APK just by building it:

To generate it, on the left side of the Android Studio, there is a Build Variants menu (maybe written vertically). Click it.

The Build Variants window tab has appeared, click debug and change it by release.

Rebuild your project application > Build > Rebuild Project.

Then click Run, a new window has appeared, click Run > Continue anyway > Choose the device you want to run with > OK.

The application won’t work on your device but the release build version, of your .apk, will be generated into the same directory as your debug ones:

  • C:\ANDROID_PROJECT_DIRECTORY\app\build\outputs\apk\

You can note that the name is app-release-unsigned.apk and it was exactly what we wanted to have.

More information on this tutorial website.


I had to do the same thing (because app signing is handled elsewhere) and I simply rebuilt the project.

To generate an unsigned release apk, select a release version in the Build Variants menu.

Note: You may get a red cross in your app configuration on the top menu, ignore it.

Rebuild your project application Build > Rebuild Project.

You will find your app-release-unsigned.apk in:

  • ~\app\build\outputs\apk\release\

Note: If you need to create other versions, save the generated apk because subsequent rebuilds will overwrite the current apk(…don’t be like me).

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