Downloading Apps on Android: Everything You Need to Know
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So you’re new to Android New To Android? Part Two: Master Using Your Phone New To Android? Part Two: Master Using Your Phone Part two of the Android guide for absolute beginners. Get a grip on the basics of using your smartphone! Read More , and you’re trying to find where you go to download apps? We understand that it can be confusing at first, so we’d like to step you through all your options.

Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about downloading apps on an Android phone or tablet.

This Is Google Play


Google Play is the name of the default digital store that likely came with your Android device (especially if you live in the US). When you look through your app drawer, it will go by the name of the Play Store, which fits more in line with the other Play apps that were probably pre-installed, such as Play Books Reading A Book On Your Android Device? Google Play Books Makes It Easy Reading A Book On Your Android Device? Google Play Books Makes It Easy Let's take a look at Google's stab at the fast-growing eBook market. Read More and Play Music The Best Music Player on Android: Google Play Music Reviewed The Best Music Player on Android: Google Play Music Reviewed Google Play Music is a music streaming service, a local music player, and a podcast player all mashed into one. And it's great. Read More .

In addition to apps, you can buy eBooks, magazines, music, movies, and television shows that you can view on your phone or tablet. Selection and availability vary depending on where you live.

How To Download Apps

Great, so you’ve found the Play Store. Now, how exactly do you go about using it? We’ve got you covered.


The easiest way to get your hands on new apps is to use the search bar. Just tap it and type in what you’re looking for.


Google will make suggestions as you type, and for popular services like Netflix, they tend to be spot on. Clicking on the app will bring up its Play Store page, which contains background information and screenshots. There’s also a big green Install button.


If Google doesn’t immediately figure out what you want, you can tap the magnifying icon on your keyboard to perform the search. A list of results will appear. You can tap any of them to go to their pages, or you can tap the three dots and select Install if you know for certain you’ve found the app you want.


At this point, you will receive a prompt displaying what permissions the software needs to run The Seven Deadly Android Permissions: How to Avoid the Sin of Slothful Preparedness The Seven Deadly Android Permissions: How to Avoid the Sin of Slothful Preparedness Everyone with an Android device should know that your private information isn’t treated as private. For example, making an app purchase may expose personal contact information, including one’s name, physical address and email address, to... Read More . If the app wants access to your camera, GPS location, WiFi networks, and other potentially compromising resources, you will find out here. For most major apps, though — like Netflix — the permissions are probably fine.


This screen will change once Android M comes to phones and tablets How to Install Android M Without Wiping Your Data, Plus All the Best Features How to Install Android M Without Wiping Your Data, Plus All the Best Features A step-by-step guide to installing the Android M Developer Preview, as well as a look at Android M's best features. Read More . At that point, apps will start requesting access as they need it, rather than when they’re first installed. But that version of Android is still months from release, and most devices currently out will never receive an update.


For those times when you’re ready for something new but have no idea what, it makes more sense to browse than to search. To get started, select the green Apps button at the top of the Play Store’s home page. It will take you to this screen.


Google lumps content into groups, so you can start browsing simply by scrolling down. When you come across a section that catches your eye, you can tap the green More button to see what else is available.


Category tabs spread out across the top of the screen. You can select them or swipe in those directions to view what free apps people are flocking to and which ones they’re willing to pay money for (or go to other lengths to get How To Get Paid Android Apps For Free, Legally How To Get Paid Android Apps For Free, Legally Are there paid apps in the Play Store that you want, but just can't afford? Don't worry. It's possible to snag those apps for free. Read More ). The store will also show you which software just came out.

To look through specific kinds of apps, swipe or tap on the Categories tab on the left. A list will extend down the left side of the screen. You can scroll down to get to finance, health & fitness, and photography-related apps. Here you can find live wallpapers and widgets too. Tablet, Chromecast, or Android Wear users may be pleased to find sections dedicated just for those devices Awesome New Chromecast Apps, Tips and Tricks You'll Love Messing With Awesome New Chromecast Apps, Tips and Tricks You'll Love Messing With Apps are adding support for the Chromecast constantly, so keep checking your apps. Until then, read on to learn how to get the most out of your Chromecast with what is available today. Read More .


When you select a category, the familiar Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, etc. tabs will still appear across the top, only now they strictly apply to the type you’ve selected. In the screenshot below, we’re looking at widgets.


Just like with searching, you can select any app to go to its dedicated page or tap the three dots to start installing right away.

Installing From a PC

You don’t need to be holding your phone in order to install apps. You can also get the job done from a PC. Just head to Google Play’s website and look around. When you see what you want, click the Install button and select which device to send the app to.


Updating Apps

The Play Store isn’t just where you go to get your hands on apps. It’s also where you will keep them up-to-date. When new versions of software arrive, you should get a notification saying that updates are either available or have been recently updated, depending on your settings. You can also go through and do things manually.


What If I Don’t Want to Buy From Google?

No problem. There are plenty of alternative stores that offer Android apps Google Play Alternatives For Downloading Android Apps Without Fuss Google Play Alternatives For Downloading Android Apps Without Fuss Many people think that the Google Play Store is the only option Android users have for downloading apps, but there are actually quite a few quality alternatives out there. Read More . Your device may have come with one already installed, but chances are it didn’t. Since alternative app stores are not allowed to go through Google Play, you will have to head directly to their websites to download them. Fortunately, it’s a pretty straightforward process.

But first, you need to go to Settings > Security. There you should see the “Unknown Sources” option. Turn this on to allow installation of apps from places other than Google Play.


Amazon Appstore

The largest and most well-known Google Play alternative is the Amazon Appstore, which you can find at It’s best to visit the website on your phone or tablet directly, so you don’t have to bother with trying to transport the installer from your PC (through here are a few ways to do so just in case How To Transfer Files From Android To PC How To Transfer Files From Android To PC Need to get a file from your Android phone or tablet to your Windows PC? It's actually pretty easy. Here's how to do it. Read More ). After launching the downloaded file, you will need to sign in with your Amazon account.

Afterwards, you see a screen that looks like this.


Now, you have everything up and running. Look for a free app of the day at the top of the screen. It changes — you guessed it — daily, making this one of the biggest reasons to use Amazon’s store over, or alongside, Google Play.

One thing to keep in mind: apps installed through the Appstore will look to Amazon, not Google, for updates. So you must keep the Appstore installed to receive future versions.

Despite the change in appearance, Amazon’s marketplace functions similarly to Google’s. Both companies keep a list of all the apps that you’ve installed. Amazon refers to this as its Cloud, and you can access it on all of your devices. The option to re-install these apps or check for updates is only a tap away.



The F-Droid store is for people who are into Android because of the free and open source aspect, as it only carries apps that are distributed under an open software license. You can grab the Android package needed to install F-Droid directly from the website’s homepage.


Given its priorities, F-Droid has a significantly smaller library than competing app stores. Chances are, any apps you see referenced on TV or in an ad won’t be available.

F-Droid also isn’t as visually pleasing as the other stores. That said, its interface is simple. It’s not difficult to browse, and managing updates isn’t a problem. F-Droid won’t store a list of your installed apps for you to access later, but that added privacy is part of the draw.


Humble Bundle

The Humble Bundle didn’t begin as a traditional app store, but it shares many of the same functions. The organization releases a different bundle of DRM-free games every week, which you can buy by paying however much (or little) you like. You can then download the Humble Bundle app to manage and install your games.

To download Humble Bundle, go to Again, it’s best to do this on your Android device.


From here you can browse through your entire library of games. Since you might have bought a bundle just for one or two games, this lets you install only those while leaving the others in the cloud. The app will also send you notifications whenever a new bundle is available for purchase.


Since growing in popularity, Humble Bundle has also launched the Humble Store. You can only browse through it in a web browser, but any Android games you purchase will show up inside the standalone Humble Bundle app.

Uninstalling Apps

After you’ve installed a bunch of apps, you eventually get to the point where it’s time to get rid of some. That part is easy. Just go to Settings > Apps. There you should see a list of all the ones you’ve downloaded, including those that were pre-installed but have received updates. You can swipe left and right to switch to those that haven’t received updates and those that are currently running in the background.


Tap on an app to get the option to uninstall. Unfortunately, you can’t remove most of the software that came with your device. Instead, you can disable them. This hides their icons from your app drawer and is effectively the same as uninstalling, just without freeing up storage space.


Did You Find What You Were Looking For?

Turns out, there are a bunch of ways to install Android apps. Some manufacturers, such as Samsung, even offer their own separate stores.

But at the end of the day, the Play Store holds the largest selection of Android software you can find on the Web. If you want to install something for Android, Google Play is the first place you’re likely to find it.

If you have any further questions about how to install Android apps, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. What is your favorite Android app store?

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  1. Katrina Forder
    April 27, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Hi, when I try to download an app from google play or whatever to my laptop or android phone, both windows 10, when the list of devices shows, the only device on there is mt tablet, which i rarely use, neither my laptop or mobile phone are on the device list, so I can never download anything to them, it's really annoying, can you please help me to add my lappy and phone to the device list please? Many thanks xx

  2. robert m. reilley
    February 23, 2017 at 3:15 am

    i am trying to download an android program app for my rca tablet. i need one for installing video sources to watch videos and/or tv programs. when i upgraded my kodi app it took my program app away.

  3. Milton
    February 11, 2017 at 3:23 am

    I am trying to download apps from the olay store. It kerps prompting me to enter "current password" ive tried a bunch of passwords i use and have no idea what password they are asking for. Gmail password doesnt work. Please help me im very frustrated

  4. Monica Woods
    December 14, 2016 at 6:22 am

    No I did not I downloaded a game twice after it finished it said installing but never showed up at all.

  5. june giles
    December 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I have tried to download virgin active UK app onto my android phone from google play store I am told I have no device what is this?

  6. Britton
    November 11, 2016 at 3:37 am

    I have an SD card that I want to download apps on. I googled it, and everything tells me I need the applications menu. I checked my settings, google settings, and downloads. I can't find it. Where is it??

  7. Kim Eckersley
    September 26, 2016 at 6:37 am

    I'm downloading an app and it has been downloading for several hours what is wrong

  8. Rebecca Jackson
    September 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I'm trying to figure out where to find my apps once they're downloaded. Every once in a while I add an app and it just works like clockwork, but more often than not, Google Play says it's downloaded and installed, but I can't find it anywhere so I can't use it, and of course I can't try again because the phone thinks it's already there. :-(

  9. Neela
    July 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Download this App For VLSI Projects:

  10. Appu
    June 22, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Thanks for the information. I would like to know when a free app was downloaded for the first time in my phone. i want to know the exact date for when it was accessed and downloaded. This is a very much important for me. i hope you write back. Thank you.

  11. dave
    June 13, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    My kids are dowloading games on their tablets. Yet they are appearing also on my seperate tablet.
    How do i stop this

  12. Anonymous
    March 17, 2016 at 2:00 am


    • Anonymous
      March 17, 2016 at 2:07 am

      I want to find out when my app was downloaded how can I find ''this'' info please? I have a downloaded app. and I would like to know the day I added it not just the update or re downloaded but the day it was very first downloaded and what history I would have access to

  13. Anonymous
    July 15, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    The author also missed the OEM-specific app store that almost every name brand Android device will support. Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony at least maintain some kind of store of their own. I wouldn't get apps from them myself, but they are trustworthy and possibly better curated for the needs and features of one's specific device.

    One other component to all this: Users might want an APK Sharing tool to extract programs from one device so they can be moved to another. This is very handy if you have a device that's missing Google Licensing so that it can't get apps from the Play Store, such as a default Cyanogenmod or an Amazon device. There are lots of time when something useful only gets posted to the Play Store or when all trustworthy links appear to lead to the Play Store.

    APK Sharing also means being able to pick up OEM or carrier-specific tools that don't appear in various app stores, so if you're a really big fan of Samsung's calendar app and you no longer use a Samsung device, you can still install that program.

    APK Sharing is much better and easier with root access on a device, since you can do things like install apps marked as incompatible (e.g. many Android games are marked as tablet-only but play just fine on 5" or larger phones) or banned by your carrier.

    On devices where I have root, I normally use Titanium Backup to manage applications.

  14. Anonymous
    July 14, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Flawless victory! This article is great. Thank you!