Manage app setup policies in Microsoft Teams

As an admin, you use app setup policies to install and pin apps, and allow users to upload custom apps. Pinning helps promote adoption of relevant apps in your organization.

  • Pin apps: App setup policies let you choose apps to pin, set the order the apps show up for your users in the Teams app bar or the compose message area. Admins can also control whether the end-users can pin their own apps or not. See Pin apps.
  • Install apps: App setup policies let you install the allowed apps on behalf of users when they start Teams and during meetings. For more information, see Install apps.
  • Upload custom apps: App setup policies let you allow users to upload custom apps to Teams. For more information, see Upload custom apps.

The following built-in app setup policies are available in the Microsoft Teams admin center, by default:

  • Global (Org-wide default): This default policy applies to all users in your organization unless you assign another policy. Edit the global policy to pin apps that are most important for your users.

  • FirstlineWorker: This policy is for Frontline Worker. The policy cannot be customized. You can assign it to Frontline Workers in your organization.

Pin apps

Pinning apps lets you highlight apps that users in your organization need the most. Pinning works for all types of apps in Teams—Core apps, Microsoft-provided apps, third-party apps, and custom developed within your organization. Pinning an app via an app setup policy also installs it, if the app is allowed for the user. Using an app setup policy, you can do the following tasks:

  • Customize Microsoft Teams for end-users to highlight the most important apps for them. You choose the apps to pin and the order that the apps display in.
  • Control whether users can pin apps or not.

Apps are pinned to the app bar on the left side of the Teams desktop client and at the bottom of the Teams mobile clients.

Teams desktop client Teams mobile client
Screenshot showing the app bar in Teams desktop client.. Screenshot showing the app bar in Teams mobile client.

The messaging extensions are available at the bottom of the compose message area.

To pin apps using an app setup policy, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Teams admin center and access Teams apps > Setup policies.

  2. Select Add.

  3. Enter a name and description for the policy.

  4. Turn on User pinning.

    Note

    The User pinning setting is available in the Teams admin center in Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC) environments (GCC, GCC High and DoD), but it has no effect.

  5. Under Pinned apps, select Add apps.

  6. In the Add pinned apps pane, search for the apps you want to add, and then select Add. You can also filter apps by app permission policy.

  7. Select Add.

  8. Under the App bar or Messaging extensions, arrange the apps in the order that you want them to appear in Teams.

    A screenshot of the pinned apps and pinned messaging extensions in Setup policy.

  9. Select Save.

Note

In Teams for Education, the Assignments app is pinned by default in the global policy even though you don't see it listed in the global policy.

Note

For the frontline workers in your organization, we recommend using the tailored frontline app experience. This feature pins the most relevant apps in Teams for users who have an F license. To learn more, see Tailor Teams apps for your frontline workers.

Install apps

Using an app setup policy, an admin can achieve the following tasks:

  • Install apps for end-users in their personal Teams environment.
  • Install apps for end-users as messaging extensions.

The end-users can install apps on their own if the app permission policy lets them and the app is allowed by the Teams admin. Instead, if an app is blocked for a user or for an organization, then end-users can request admin approval.

To install apps using an app setup policy, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Teams admin center and access Teams apps > Setup policies.
  2. Select Add.
  3. Provide a name and description for the policy.
  4. Under Installed apps, select Add apps.
  5. In the Add installed apps pane, search the apps that you want to install for users. You can also filter apps by app permission policy.
  6. Select Add.

A screenshot of installation of apps via app policy.

Manage app setup policies

You manage app setup policies in the Microsoft Teams admin center. Use the global (Org-wide default) policy or create and assign custom policies. End-users get the global policy. If you create a custom policy, it overrides the global policy. Global admin or Teams service admin can manage these policies.

You edit the settings in the global policy to include the apps that you want. To customize Teams for different groups of users in your organization, create and assign one or more custom policies.

Screenshot showing the app setup policies page with options to manage policies or add new policies.

Edit an app setup policy

You can use the Microsoft Teams admin center to edit a policy, including the global (Org-wide default) policy and custom policies that you create. After you edit or assign a policy, it can take a few hours for changes to take effect.

  1. Sign in to Teams admin center and access Teams apps > Setup policies.

  2. Choose the policy you want to edit and then select Edit.

  3. Make the changes that you want.

  4. Select Save.

Assign a custom app setup policy to users and groups

To know how to assign policies to your end-users and to groups, see how to assign policies to users and groups.

Considerations and limitations

  • You cannot install custom apps with configurable tabs using app setup policies.
  • End-users cannot uninstall an app that is installed by an admin.
  • Apps that are pinned via app setup policy can be unpinned by the user (if user pinning is allowed in the setup policy).
  • In Teams for Education, the Assignments app is pinned by default in the global policy even though you don't see it listed in the global policy.
  • There's no limit on the maximum number of pinned apps you can add to a policy. However, at least two apps must be pinned to the Teams mobile clients (iOS and Android). If a policy has fewer than two apps, the mobile clients won't reflect the policy settings, and instead will continue to use the existing configuration.
  • After you edit or assign a policy, it can take a few hours for changes to take effect.

FAQs

Working with app setup policies

Why can't I find an app in the Add pinned apps pane

Not all apps can be pinned to Teams through an app setup policy. Some apps may not support this functionality. To find apps that can be pinned, search for the app in the Add pinned apps pane. Tabs that have a personal scope (static tabs) and bots can be pinned to the Teams desktop client and these apps are available in the Add pinned apps pane.

Keep in mind that the Teams app store lists all Teams apps. The Add pinned apps pane includes only apps that can be pinned to Teams through a policy.

I'm a Teams for Education admin. What do I need to know about app setup policies in Teams for Education

The Calling app isn't available in Teams for Education. When you create a new custom app setup policy, the Calling app is displayed in the list of apps. However, the app isn't pinned to Teams clients and Teams for Education users won't see the Calls app in Teams.

User experience

How can users see all their pinned apps in Teams

To view all apps that are pinned for a user, users might have to do the following depending on the number of installed apps and the size of their Teams client window.

Teams desktop client Teams mobile client
In the app bar on the side of Teams, select ... More apps. In the app bar near the bottom of Teams, swipe up.
Screenshot showing more pinned apps in the Teams desktop client. Screenshot showing more pinned apps in the Teams mobile client

What do I need to know about the Teams mobile experience

The Teams mobile clients (iOS and Android) support personal apps with static tabs. Apps pinned to the Teams desktop client will appear in the Teams mobile clients. Personal bots will appear in Chat on mobile clients.

Third-party apps (which can be downloaded from Teams Store) need to be approved before they show up on mobile. If an admin pins an app, which is unapproved by Microsoft for Mobile, it will show up on the Teams Desktop, but not show up on mobile. For more information, see Mobile clients.

With the Teams mobile clients, users will see core Teams apps such as Activity, Chat, and Teams, and you can pin some of the Microsoft-provided apps.

Order of apps pinned through a policy

Users can change the order of their pinned apps on Teams desktop and mobile clients if the User pinning option is turned on. Users can't change the order of their pinned apps on Teams web clients.

Does user pinning take precedence

Admin pins always take precedence. If the User pinning option is turned on, then apps pinned by users display below the apps pinned by admins. If User pinning option is turned off, then users lose existing pins and only the apps pinned by admins are available in the app bar.

Custom Teams apps

My organization built a custom Teams app and published it, either to AppSource or the tenant app catalog, but the app icon isn't displayed as expected when the app is pinned to the app bar in Teams. How do I fix it?

Make sure that you follow the logo guidelines before you submit the app. To learn more, see Checklist for Seller Dashboard submission.