Create mobile apps with Power Apps (preview)
Today, I’m very excited to announce the upcoming Power Apps mobile apps (preview), enabling makers to package Canvas apps as Android and iOS mobile apps for corporate end users.
Figure 1: Power Apps is getting MAD skills
With this great new feature, Power Apps is truly becoming a Mobile Application Development (MAD) platform, stuffed with new capabilities:
- Low-code mobile app creation – we build the app for you!
- Seamless end-to-end branding from home screen icon to app UX
- Embed multiple Canvas apps into a single mobile app
- Distribute your app natively to meet end users where they are
- Enterprise governance with Intune for individual Canvas apps
Low-code mobile app creation
With Power Apps mobile apps (preview) there’s no need to install Xcode or Android Studio, we build the mobile app packages for you! Start with an existing Canvas app or build a new app from scratch to create your first mobile app with Power Apps.
Here’s how it works:
- In Power Apps Studio, create a new mobile app project referencing one or more Canvas apps.
- Add mobile app metadata, icons, and branding resources to your project, and kick off a build.
- When the build is complete, go to App Center on your mobile device to install your app.
You can directly install the mobile app onto your local device for testing or download APK and IPA files for distribution to end users.
Seamless end-to-end branding
When you build a mobile app with Power Apps, you can differentiate your app by customizing the look and feel from home screen icon to in-app UX.
Figure 2: end-to-end customization throughout the experience
The user experience is bootstrapped by the Power Apps mobile platform which handles sign-in. Control is passed to your embedded Canvas app(s) providing the UX and business logic for your mobile app. Your Canvas app becomes the mobile app with consistent branding and theming throughout.
Embed multiple Canvas apps
You have multiple Canvas apps that work together as a collection for the same group of end users? No problem! You don’t need separate mobile apps to deliver these natively. Power Apps mobile apps (preview) supports embedding multiple Canvas apps using a central “hub” app.
Figure 3: illustration showing the “Hub” UX pattern
Choose one of your Canvas apps to be the primary app serving as the central hub for your mobile app. Use the PowerFx Launch(…) function to navigate to secondary apps and from secondary apps back to the hub app.
Distribute your app natively
Meet your mobile end users where they are by delivering native mobile apps through your preferred channel. This makes it easy for your mobile end users to discover and use your app, removing the need to install the Microsoft Power Apps “Player” app for Android or iOS or share Canvas app links by email.
Figure 3: Installation from App Center
Generated mobile apps are yours to distribute (we don’t do it for you – yet). Distribution options include popular tools such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager or similar 3rd party MDM solutions; and private enterprise app stores like Microsoft App Center, Apple Volume Purchase Program, and Managed Google Play.
Enterprise governance with Intune
The Power Apps mobile platform is integrated with Microsoft Intune, so you can already protect org data when running Canvas apps in the Power Apps Player.
Power Apps mobile apps (preview) inherits this capability and since each generated mobile app is unique, you can manage Intune app protection policies on a per-mobile app basis. This enriches Power Apps mobile security and unblocks mobile scenarios by providing greater flexibility over enterprise governance with Power Apps.
With the launch of Power Apps mobile apps (preview), we are bringing Mobile Application Development to Power Apps, empowering developers to create secure, fully-branded corporate mobile apps, that can be natively distributed to meet mobile end users where they are. This is another great feature making Power Apps the most complete low-code app platform.
Sign-up for Power Apps mobile apps (preview) on December 1, 2021. Watch this space and feel free to leave a comment below!