The Google Play Store on your Android device is the heart of Google’s ecosystem to buy apps, games, books, and movies. It gets periodic updates to improve engagement, app discovery, recommendations, and suggest popular apps.
But despite these updates, Google still hasn’t added other useful features and tweaks many users have asked for. We’ll show you some apps that let you get more out of the Play Store if you find the standard offering lacking.
1. Purchased Apps: Easy Access to All Your Paid Apps
Keeping track of all your apps is impossible, especially when you switch to a new device or do a factory reset. The Play Store’s Library tab lists all the apps you’ve installed and those that aren’t on your device. Unfortunately, it does not show you which apps you bought in the past or reveal any in-app purchases. The Account > Order History page also does not offer much help, as it lists other content along with apps.
Purchased Apps gives you easy access to all your paid apps. Log in with your Google account, and within a few moments your entire order history will show up. Tap the hamburger menu to show your total number of purchases, money you’ve spent, and their breakdown by category. The app lets you sort purchases by name, date, and price.
You can also filter them by Installation status or Purchase type. Tap on the More menu and then Filter to access these. From the dialog box that appears, check your selection criteria. For example, you can choose to list apps you’ve bought but aren’t installed on your device. You can even export the list as CSV file for safekeeping or sharing with friends.
Download: Purchased Apps (Free)
2. AppSales: Track Paid App Discounts
Developers often put their apps on sale through the Play Store. But there’s no easy native way to find these deals or track the prices of individual apps. AppSales offers you a convenient way to discover and download the best paid apps and games that have gone free or are on sale. Their manual review process cuts out the junk and ensures that you get the best apps.
By default, it shows apps with a minimum discount of 25 percent. They must also have at least 100 downloads and an average rating of 3.5. To change the criteria, tap the hamburger menu and choose Settings > Filter. Drag the slider forward for each section and check Hide expired sales.
You can also filter apps by categories. For example, if you’re not interested in games, then tap Settings > Categories and deselect the entire Games category. AppSales also lets you monitor the apps on your watchlist for price cuts. Open the app’s page in the Play Store, then tap Share and choose AppSales. Check the price history of that app to track pricing patterns over the last 60 days.
Open the hamburger menu and choose Watchlist Charts to see which apps are trending. If you subscribe to AppSales premium, you’ll also get notifications for in-app sales, launch sales, and voucher codes. You can also add unlimited apps to the watchlist and track their price history over a full year.
Download: AppSales (Free, subscription available)
3. App Watcher: See Release Notes Without Installing
There are millions of apps on the Play Store, but it’s not practical to install dozens of apps just to see what features they offer. The Play Store lets you add apps to a wishlist so you don’t forget about them, which can help. But if they get any new features or improvements, you won’t get a notification about it.
App Watcher is a What’s New? app manager that monitors Play Store changelogs for apps you don’t have installed. It provides you quick access to the What’s New? section, letting you know about new features, bug fixes, and level updates for games. To add an app, open its page in the Play Store, then tap Share and choose Add to App Watcher.
If you have any apps on your wishlist, it’ll import the apps for you. Or if you know the app name, you can directly search for it in App Watcher. The updater checks for app updates in the background. When the process completes, it highlights the app in the Recently updated section, and you’ll also get a notification. You can also tag your apps to organize them or synchronize the list with Google Drive.
Download: App Watcher (Free)
4. Beta TestingCatalog: New Apps for Beta Testing
With support for beta testing baked into the Play Store, you can try out cutting-edge versions of your favorite apps before they get released to everyone. But the Play Store doesn’t give you a single place to browse apps available for beta testing, and the beta testing process is not optimized for feedback analysis. Enter Beta TestingCatalog.
It’s a community of beta testers and developers designed to distribute beta apps and exchange feedback. When you open the app for the first time, tap the hamburger menu to explore all the options. Tap Catalog to see a list of popular apps for beta testing, with daily updates. The Installed section retrieves a list of your installed apps that have beta testing available.
Since the community manually reviews the app selection process, you’ll not find every app available here. Once you find an app for beta testing, follow our instructions to enroll in the Play Store’s beta testing program. You’ll find both Opt-in and Join buttons, plus relevant beta details and their changelog in the description. TestingCatalog also lets you search for apps and browse them based on categories.
Download: Beta TestingCatalog (Free)
5. Error Codes & Fixes: Solve Play Store Issues
Whenever you encounter a problem in the Play Store, it’s easy to get frustrated. The cryptic error codes shown by the Play Store don’t offer much help to solve these problems. This app contains guides and troubleshooting steps on how to solve the most common Play Store problems like error code 495, 505, 492, and more.
You can browse the error codes or input a code to see the relevant troubleshooting steps. On the downside, the app displays full-screen ads. While this is a small price to pay for resolving Play Store problems, it’s worth a try if you’re tired of searching Google. Alternatively, you can also browse this massive list of Play Store error codes from XDA.
Download: Error Codes & Fixes (Free)
6. Subscriptions: Track App Subscriptions and Services
Many apps and services on the Play Store rely on subscriptions. Unfortunately, the Subscriptions option in the Play Store doesn’t offer you much help. It shows the due date of your subscription and allows you to set up alternative modes of payment, but that’s it. Thankfully, there’s a better option.
The Subscriptions app lets you track all kind of services, phone contracts, public transportation, and any other service you can think of in a neat and intuitive interface. You can choose from 30+ subscription presets or even add your own. To do this, tap the Plus button and select a subscription service from the list.
If a service or app you use isn’t listed, tap the Plus button in the upper-right corner and type in its details manually. Finally, tap Remind me and choose to receive a reminder either a day or week before the subscription renews to decide whether to keep it. If you use multiple Android devices, your subscription info will sync across them.
Download: Subscriptions (Free, premium version available)
7. App Backup & Restore: Batch Backup and Restore
Developers frequently update their apps to bring new features and fix bugs. But sometimes upgrading to a newer version can cause problems. It might add new bugs, introduce a deluge of ads, or even crash on launch. Also, if you don’t have much space on your phone, you might hesitate to apply updates regularly.
While the Play Store doesn’t let you make a backup of your apps, App Backup & Restore allows you to store, archive, or delete backups directly from its interface. Just check an app and tap Backup. Tap the More menu and then Settings to change the backup path. There are some interesting options to explore in Settings. For example, under the Auto Backup section, check Auto Backup to back up every time you update an app.
If you find the new app version unstable for any reason, tap Restore to reinstall the app from the backup. You can also choose to back up specific apps and send them to other devices via Wi-Fi or through WhatsApp.
Don’t Forget Google Play Store Tips and Tricks
The Play Store is just like any other app marketplace. Periodic updates to the Store improve stability and performance, but Google’s focus is entirely on user engagement, app discovery, and revenue. With these apps, you can extract useful features from the Play Store without much extra effort. And if the default app store isn’t cutting it for you, don’t forget about these Google Play alternatives.
Did you know the Play Store has many great lesser-known features and secrets that make it even better? If this interests you, have a look at the best Google Play Store tips and tricks for Android users.