The Google Play Store gives you access to millions of apps and games you can download to your Android device. It also offers things like movies, books, and music, although not all of them are available in every country.

To use the Play Store, the first thing you need is a Google account — you won’t be able to browse or download content if you don’t have one. You can set it up for free in a matter of minutes, as shown in the step-by-step tutorial at the link below.

How to set up a new Google account on your Android device

Once you’re signed into your Google account on an Android device, you’re ready to start exploring the exciting world of Android apps, games, and various other content via the Play Store app. Although using it isn’t exactly rocket science, we’ve nevertheless prepared a short guide on this topic that explains a few basic things you should know. These include how to download content, add a payment method, redeem a gift card, and much more.

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How to search and download content?

The search box is the place to start if you already know what you’re looking for. This can either be a specific app like Android Authority or a category like racing games. Just tap the search box on top¹, type in the search query², and hit the search button to see all the results³.

The alternative is to search by categories. Just tap on the “Categories” option¹ while you’re on the Play Store’s home screen and then choose whatever it is you’re interested in².

The third option is to browse through content right from the app’s home screen. That’s where you’ll find things like apps and games recommended for you based on your recent activity, new and updated apps, top rated games, and much more. Check out the screenshots below to see what this looks like in action.

How to download content? Once you find something you like, tap on it¹ to bring up additional info. This includes the description of the item, its rating, screenshots, videos, and, of course, the “Install” button. Tap on it² and wait for the device to do its magic. When completed, you’ll get a notification that the content has been downloaded to your device and can be used — tap the notification or the “Open” button³.

Keep in mind that some of the items on the Play Store are free, while you’ll have to pay for others. You’ll need to add a payment method to your Google account to buy content from the Play Store, which we’ll take a look at in the next section.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Search for content via the search box, categories, or home screen.
  2. Tap on the item (game, app, movie…) you like to bring up additional info.
  3. Tap the “Install” button to download content to your device.
  4. Tap the “Open” button or the notification to access the downloaded content.

How to add a payment method?

To buy an app, movie, game, or any other piece of content via the Play Store, you have to add a credit/debit card to your account. The process is simple and only takes a minute or two.

The first step is to launch the Play Store app and bring up the settings menu. You can do this by either tapping the menu icon in the search box¹ on top or swiping right from the left side of the display. Then select the “Account” option², choose “Payment methods”³, and tap on “Add credit or debit card” — as shown in screenshot number 4 below. The last step is to follow on-screen instructions by entering the required details.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Launch the Play Store app and bring up the settings menu from the side.
  2. Tap on “Account”.
  3. Tap on “Payment methods”.
  4. Tap on “Add credit or debit card” and follow on-screen instructions.

Although not mandatory, it’s a good idea to turn on the authentication option for purchases. That means you’ll have to approve every purchase you make on the Play Store with your password or fingerprint. This is a safety feature that will make sure you won’t buy something by accident.

To turn it on, open the side menu, tap on “Settings”¹, choose “Require authentication for purchases”² and then select one of the options available³. Enabling the “Fingerprint authentication” option is also a good idea.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Bring up the menu from the side and tap on “Settings”.
  2. Tap on “Require authentication for purchases”.
  3. Select one of the options available.

How to update apps and games?

To try out the latest features developers have added to their apps and games, you have to update them via the Play Store — although you can do this through your device’s Settings menu as well. To do so, launch the Google Play Store app and bring up the settings menu by either tapping the menu icon in the search box¹ on top or swiping right from the left side of the display. Then select the “My apps & games” option², which will show you a list of the ones that can be updated. You can update each app individually or update them all at once, as you can see in screenshot number 3 below.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Launch the Play Store app and bring up the settings menu from the side.
  2. Tap on “My apps & games”.
  3. Tap on “Update” next to each app or select “Update all” to speed up the process.

The alternative is for your device to update apps and games automatically, which is normally done while it is charging. To enable this option, select “Settings”¹ from the side menu, tap on “Auto-update apps”², and choose one of the options available³.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Bring up the menu from the side and tap on “Settings”.
  2. Tap on “Auto-update apps”.
  3. Select one of the options available.

How to uninstall apps and games?

Uninstalling the apps and games you no longer use is a breeze. Tap on the menu icon in the search box¹ on top to bring up the settings menu and select “My apps & games”². Then just select the”Installed” option³, open the app you want to get rid of³, and tap on the “Uninstall” button shown in screenshot number 4 below. Wait for a minute or so for the device to do its magic and the process is finished.

Keep in mind that a few pre-installed apps cannot be deleted from the device — unless you have root access. These apps are normally from Google (YouTube, Gmail…), the manufacturer, or your carrier.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Launch the Play Store app and bring up the settings menu from the side.
  2. Tap on “My apps & games”.
  3. Tap on “Installed” and choose an app or game you want to get rid of.
  4. Tap on the “Uninstall” button.

How to redeem a Google Play gift card?

To redeem a Google Play gift card, bring up the settings menu from the side¹, select the “Redeem” option², and type in the code³. That’s all there is to it.

The amount of the gift card will be applied to your account and can be used for purchases on the Play Store. You can check your balance at any time by heading to Account > Payment methods.

Step-by-step-instructions:

  1. Launch the Play Store app and bring up the settings menu from the side.
  2. Tap on “Redeem”.
  3. Redeem your code.

There you have it — these are some of the basic functions of the Play Store you should know about. Have we missed any major ones? Let us know which in the comments below.