Use the Google Play Store and alternative options to put new applications on your Android phone.
Android phones come with a series of basic applications that can do a variety of jobs. But of course, you can make it even more with a large selection of apps available, from offering weather forecasts to helping you organize your life, with games on the side.
Our guide will take you step by step to find and download applications from the Google Play Store, and look for other sources for apps that you might not know about.
How do you download the application from the Google Play Store?
- Open the Google Play application
- Search or browse the application
- Tap Install
It’s easy to download applications from the Google Play Store. Almost every Android device (at least in the West) comes with this application already installed, because it is part of the suite of software that Google has included with Android. Look for an application called Play Store whose icon is a multi-colored triangle on the side that sits on a white background.
Tap the icon and you will be taken to the Play Store itself. There will be a number of applications displayed at the main part of the screen, but you want to check the icon line along the bottom that separates the types of applications into Games, Applications, Movies & … and Books.
Choose the one that should include the application afterwards, so if you know the name tap the text box at the top of the page where you will see the words Search for the apps. Now you can type in the title and hopefully you will see the application in question appear at the top of the results list. Tapping on it will open a page for the application, so all you need to do is tap the Install button and the application will immediately start downloading.
Note that not all applications are free, but many are free. If you choose one that requires a fee, you will be asked to set a payment method, but note that you can also use Google Play gift cards: it doesn’t have to be a credit or debit card.
If you are not sure which application you want to download, then you can tap the For you, Top charts or Categories option that appears above the featured application. This will provide a list of the most popular in the store, which you can download by tapping the Install button. If you are new to Android, our guide to the best Android applications will prove to be very valuable and saves you time browsing through the many choices on the Play Store.
Is Google Play the only place to get Android apps?
No, but this is one of the safest and most convenient ways to download Android applications. There are alternatives available. In some cases, this is needed, as is the case with new Huawei devices that come with the company’s App Gallery due to disputes with Google and the US government that have banned American companies (like Google) from working with Huawei, and -Brand Honor.
Another example is the Amazon Fire tablet range, which runs a customized version of Android. Amazon prefers to keep customers inside its digital wall by providing applications through the Amazon Appstore. However, on standard Android devices there is an option to use a different store, with the efforts of Huawei and Amazon mentioned above, along with Aptoide, F-Droid and many others if you Google ‘an alternative Android app store’.
It should be noted, however, that while Amazon and – as far as we know – the Application Gallery – are trusted stores, many other stores can be home to clever applications or even malware due to the more open nature of their catalogs. That’s why we recommend continuing to use the Google Play Store, but if you intend to go out into the wild, make sure you install some decent Android antivirus software to limit the potential for damage.
Another alternative, just like you do with many Windows applications, is to download it as an .apk file directly from a website, maybe even an application developer. Again, there is a risk that it can contain malware, which is why antivirus software is a good idea if you plan to do this kind of thing.
To install applications from non-Google sources, you must first adjust the settings on your device. The exact titles that are mentioned next might be slightly different, depending on your handset, but they must be roughly the same whatever you use. So, open the Settings application and point to Apps then tap the three dots in the upper right corner. From the drop-down menu, select Special access. On the next page, scroll down and select Install unknown apps.
A number of applications will now appear in the list. These are the various applications that the application can install, so select the one you are most likely to use – Chrome may be at the top of your list – then enable the Allow from this source option. There she is. You can now visit alternative stores and install applications on your device.