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How to download apps on HUAWEI phones without the Play Store

There's more than just one option available.
September 6, 2023

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.


To download apps on your HUAWEI phone without the Google Play Store, use HUAWEI's App Gallery, which 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.


Use HUAWEI App Gallery

HUAWEI P40 Pro AppGallery
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The 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.

  1. On your app drawer, look for the App Gallery app. Launch it.
  2. Search for the app you want by tapping the search bar at the top.
  3. Find the app you want to download, open the app page, and hit the Install button.

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.

  1. Launch Petal Search.
  2. You’ll be welcomed by the For you page.
  3. Tap on the search bar and look for the app you want to download.
  4. Go into the Apps tab.
  5. Tap on the app. This will redirect you to the App Gallery or a third-party option. You can now Install it.

As you can see, Petal Search doesn’t always work. We had no luck, but you might!

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.

  1. Launch the Phone Clone app.
  2. Accept the storage permissions.
  3. Select This is a new device.
  4. Tap on Other Android device.
  5. On the other Android phone (with access to the Play Store), download the Phone Clone app from the Google Play Store.
  6. Accept the required permissions and scan the HUAWEI phone’s QR code with the secondary device.
  7. Hit Connect.
  8. 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.

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.

  1. To download using your phone, open the phone’s browser and go to the APK website of your choice, like APK Mirror. Find the app you want to install and begin the download. You will find the APK file in the phone’s downloads folder.
  2. 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. 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.
  3. 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.


While HUAWEI phones have no access to the Google Play Store, you can easily sideload or manually install APK files on it.

Getting apps from official, trusted app stores is always the most secure way to install apps on Android devices. If you’re manually installing an APK file, this app file may come from an unofficial source. As such, it is inherently more dangerous, as developers can code malicious data into them and release the apps to the public.

While HUAWEI’s App Gallery has a wide variety of apps, it doesn’t get close to the Google Play Store. You will be missing plenty of essential apps, especially for US-based services.

Actually, yes. The App Gallery works on almost all Android devices, and the only real requirement is that your phone has Android 5.0 or later. Go to HUAWEI’s official download page to get it.