For most of us, Google’s Play Store is something that we take for granted. It’s installed by default on most devices, and seems to be updated automatically every now and again, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Sadly, Google is sometimes rather slow when it comes to pushing out updates to devices. But you can circumvent this delay by installing the latest update for yourself.
Those of you who have installed custom ROMs will also notice that these custom built versions of Android don’t ship with Google’s software preinstalled. Typically, ROM users will flash a zip file that contains all of the essential Google Apps. But you can also chose to just install the Play Store if you don’t want any of the other applications, or would rather download them from the store at a later date.
Alternatively you may have a device that doesn’t come with the Play Store pre-installed, such as an Amazon product. In which case you may want to install Google’s own store in order to have access to a wider variety of apps.
How to install
The installation process is pretty simply, but there are a few options you’ll have to check in your handset’s menus before we begin. So here’s a full step by step guide to access all that glorious Google Play content on your Android smartphone or tablet.
1- Firstly you’ll need a copy of the official Google Play Store apk file to install on your device. You can download this on your PC and move it over to your handset or download it directly onto your handset, in which case it will appear in your download folder. Either way is fine.
The latest version of the Play Store is 4.4.12, which can be downloaded from here, along with any older versions.
The download listed here is cryptographically signed by Google, so it’s safe to install and hasn’t been tampered with or infected with malicious software. But be aware of downloading files from other less reputable sources.
2- You’ll need to enable the installation of external apk files before you can install the Play Store file. This is done by checking the “unknown sources” box in your devices settings, which will allow you to install apps from unvetted sources, in other words from outside of the Play Store. This option can usually be found under settings > security, but may also appear under settings > applications on certain devices. You can always uncheck the box again after installing the Play Store.
3- Next you’ll need to locate where the apk file is on your handset. As already stated, if you downloaded the file using your device it should appear in your download folder, which can usually be accessed from the app drawer. However, if you had to move the file on your handset from your PC via a USB cable, then you’ll need to be able to navigate to wherever you put the file. The easiest way to do this is to either directly place the file in the download folder, or install a third party file explorer, such as ASTRO file manager, in order to locate the apk.
4- Once you’ve found the file, tap on it to get things started and a popup will appear asking you if you want to continue with the installation. If this isn’t working, check that step 2 has been completed successfully.
5- Continue to click install, passing through the list of required permissions that the app requires. A loading bar will appear, once that’s completed the app is installed.
All done, it’s as simple as that. Now you’re ready to launch the Google Play Store and begin downloading apps.