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How to download apps on Huawei phones without the Play Store

There's more than just one option available.
By
March 17, 2022

Huawei has been doing without the Google Play Store or Services for a few years now. It’s not set to change in the foreseeable future, so Huawei users have to download their apps via other means. Luckily, there are a handful of options, including Huawei’s App Gallery. Today, we’ll show you how to install applications on your Huawei phone without the Play Store.

Related: The Huawei ban explained: A complete timeline and everything you need to know

QUICK ANSWER

To download apps on your Huawei phone without the Google Play Store, use Huawei's App Gallery that comes pre-installed on your phone. You can also use the Huawei Phone Clone service to port apps from a Google Play-enabled device or install an app using its APK file.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Use Huawei App Gallery

Huawei App Gallery icon in a Huawei app drawer
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Huawei App Gallery is already installed on your Huawei device. This is Huawei’s application market and the primary way to download apps on your Huawei smartphone.

Open the phone’s app drawer and look for the red bag logo, which will land you on the Featured page.

App Gallery main screen
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
App Gallery main page

Search for the app you want by tapping the search bar at the top.

App Gallery search page
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
Search page

Tap on the list entry of the app you want, open the app page, and tap the blue Install button at the bottom.

App Gallery app page
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
App page

Find apps with Huawei Petal Search

Petal Search icon
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
Huawei Petal Search is the company’s all-in-one hub for search, news, images, and apps. It’s very much like Google’s all-in-one system. If you have a newer Huawei device, Petal Search will be pre-installed. If you’re on an older device, you will have to install the app via the Huawei App Gallery.

Upon opening Petal Search, you’ll see the For you page. Tap the search bar and type the app’s name you’d like to install.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro screenshot of Petal Search
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Go to the Apps tab in the search results to narrow the search to just applications. Tap on the app, and you will be re-directed to the Huawei App Gallery or a third-party option. Install the app using the steps mentioned above.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro screenshot of Petal Search for Twitter
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Using Huawei Phone Clone

OnePlus Home screen
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
Huawei’s Phone Clone app is an excellent way of porting applications from a Google Play-enabled device. It won’t work for all apps, but it’s effective. All Huawei smartphones have this pre-installed, but you will need a separate, Google-Play-enabled device for this to work.

Find Phone Clone on your Huawei device in the app drawer and open it.

huawei phone clone setup
Huawei

Accept the file storage permissions to allow the phone to transfer and receive data from another device. Select This is a new device to enable the phone to receive data, and you will see an option to pick which platform your separate device is on. Select Other Android device.

huawei phone clone connect to old phone
Huawei

Open the Google Play Store and download the Phone Clone app on the other phone. Accept the required permissions and scan the Huawei phone’s QR code with this device. Match the details and tap on Connect.

huawei phone clone select data to transfer
Huawei

You will see a list of apps and tools on the device you want to transfer from. Select the apps you want and begin the transfer.

huawei phone clone data transferring
Huawei

Download a standalone APK

Huawei USB file transfer widget with the Mate 30 Pro
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Installing applications via a standalone APK can be daunting. However, it’s often the most effective way to download precisely what you want. There are two ways of going about this — downloading via your phone’s browser or through a Windows PC.

To download using your phone, open the phone’s browser and go to the APK website of your choice, like APK Mirror.

apkmirror site screenshot
Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

Find the app you want to install and begin the download. You will find the APK file in the phone’s downloads folder.

usb file transfer setting
Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

You can download the APK file on your Windows PC the same way. Plug the Huawei device into the computer with a USB cable and select File transfer on the pop-up menu.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Download folder
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
Download folder

On the computer, find the phone (it should show up as a storage device) and find the downloads folder. Drag and drop the downloaded APK file on your computer to this folder.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro app install
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
Installation screen

After the APK file is on the phone, open the app drawer and find the Files app. Tap Internal storage and select Download. Tap on the APK file and choose Install at the bottom of the screen.


Read more: The best Huawei phones you can buy right now