Boasting the largest number of apps available to download, the Google Play Store is the largest app library in the world. It massively simplifies downloading and updating apps on Android phones and is a core part of the user experience.
So, what do you do when it doesn’t come with your device, or you’ve accidentally deleted the app, or you aren’t sure if it’s on your phone? It’s a fundamentally tricky question since without the Play Store to download apps, how do you download the Play Store itself?
If you’re asking, “how do I download the Play Store app”, you’ve come to the right place.
How Do I Download Play Store App — Not As Complicated As It Seems
It might seem daunting, but even if your phone has no way to install apps from a loader such as the Play Store itself, there is a way to download and install apps. You can find and install an Android Application Package file (APK).
Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems, but there are a few steps you need to take to be able to do this, both practically and in terms of device permissions. But before you do any of that, you need to make sure you can download files in the first place.
Check your connection
If you aren’t properly connected to the internet, you won’t be able to download the Play Store APK in the first place. Make sure you have a good connection to the internet and can use google, as you will need it to download the Play Store App files. If you are having problems with your connection, try to stay close to your router and there aren’t any thick walls or floors in the way preventing you from connecting.
Make sure it’s not already installed
Sometimes it can be hard to find out whether you have an app installed on your device or not. I know I’ve sometimes found myself scrolling through menus with hundreds of apps trying to find one that I swear I installed, yet seemingly can’t find. Maybe you accidentally moved it off your home screen or dropped it into a folder by accident and can’t see it anymore.
Either way, a quick and easy way to double check if you have the app or not is to go to your phone options menu by dragging down your notification bar and clicking the cog wheel at the top right. From there, go down to “apps” and tap it. Once in that menu, tap the search icon at the top right and search for “google play store.” If you have the app installed it will show up. If it doesn’t show up, it’s time to buckle up and download it.
Enable installation from unknown sources
Before you take your first step to downloading the Play Store app, there’s something you need to do, and that’s enabling installation from unknown sources. Normally, your device blocks these types of downloads or installations as a safety feature, preventing offloading or hacking attempts from external sites without your permission, however right now, we need to enable the option. Without it enabled, we won’t be able to download an APK file to get the Play Store.
Open the settings menu on your device and search for “unknown.” Something similar to “install unknown apps” should show up, and if you tap on it, you will be taken deep into your settings. It’s usually in the Privacy or Apps & Notifications folders if your device doesn’t have a search function.
From there, look for your default browser and tap on it to open the settings, then select “enable.” This will allow you to download and install from an unknown source using that browser.
Download the Play Store APK file
This next step is probably going to be unfamiliar to you, but don’t worry, it’s fairly simple really. You are going to open your browser and find a mirror site. A mirror site is one which hosts files available from another source. In this case we are finding the Play Store files, and we are going to use APKmirror to download and install those files.
On APKmirror you will be able to find various versions of the Play Store app, including the most recent version and date of release. Find the most recent version and tap “download.” A warning message may pop up asking for your permission to download external files, but this is fine, simply agree to the download and let it do its thing. That’s why you’re here after all!
Is it safe?
APKmirror is run by the same people who host AndroidPolice and have a long history of actively promoting safety and security when it comes to Android apps and data. The site uses cryptographic analysis to scan any and all app files hosted there, and they go through a long vetting process to ensure they are genuine and contain no malware. They also have a zero-tolerance for pirated or cracked apps, which reduces risks even more and highlights their legitimacy.
Personally, I would only trust this site when downloading Android APKs and I’ve used it for years with other devices and never had a problem.
Install the app
Once the download has finished, you can either click the popup to open and install the file or go to your “downloads” folder and tap the file to install from there. If you have an antivirus app, as I do, you may have to temporarily disable it to be able to download from an external source, as this is an additional layer of security.
Once you enable the installation, it should run and finish automatically. Once it’s finished installing, restart your device and then open the Play Store to test that it’s working.
Disable unknown scources permission
Now that you’ve downloaded and installed the files that you need, you don’t want to leave the “unknown sources” option open as it presents a security risk. Simply search for it again and disable the option in the browser that you enabled it for previously. If you don’t do this, you leave yourself open to potential viruses being installed on your device if you click a bad link or visit a dodgy site.
If you can open the Play Store, sign in and download your favourite apps again, congratulations, you’re back in business! Most people will never have to install an APK, but you’ve managed to do it and get yourself back in touch with millions of apps and essential updates.