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Downloader's guide to Google Play | How to get it and use it

About Google Play

Through the Google Play Store, you can find apps and games for your Android device. You can also find a range of digital entertainment -- including movies, TV shows, and music -- that you can access not only on Android but also on your Windows PC or Mac. The Play Store app comes preinstalled on Android devices that support Google Play. You can also reach the Google Play Store via the Web.

Google Play Store

Google Play FAQ

  • How do you find and enable Google Play Store on Android?

    If your Android device supports Google Play (see Google's list of supported devices), the Play Store app should be available on your device. To open the app, go to the Apps section and tap the Play Store app. If you don't see app, you may have disabled it.

    To re-enable Google Play:

    1. Go to Settings, Applications, then Application Manager.
    2. Tap Google Play Store, then tap Enable.

    If you don't see the Play Store app, Google suggests that you turn your device off and then on again.

    And if you still can't locate the app, contact your device maker or mobile carrier. After all that, if the app's not on your device, unfortunately Google says there is no way to download it.

  • Can you access Google Play Store and manage apps on Windows, Mac, or other devices?

    You can reach the Play Store via your Web browser. You can't download the Google Play Store app to your desktop, and you can't download or use Android apps or games on your computer.

    However, through your browser, you can search the Play Store for apps, install compatible apps on your Android device, and browse apps you've already installed. You can also manage your Google Play account -- including payment methods and subscriptions -- via a browser.

    And you can stream or download other digital content, including music and movies, to your computer in addition to your Android device.

    On iOS, you can't download the Play Store app, but you can get the Google Play Movies & TV or Google Play Music apps for access to the content.

    One exception: Google has added the ability to download and use Android apps with some Chromebooks. Check this list to see if your Chromebook can run Android apps.

  • Are there other safe (and unsafe) ways to find Android apps?

    Want to find and download apps from somewhere other than the Google Play Store? Proceed with caution.

    Amazon. If you have an Amazon Fire tablet or phone, you can can use the company's Amazon Appstore for Android to find and download apps. Amazon's app is also available for Android phones.

    Third-party download sites. We strongly discourage grabbing apps from an unauthorized Android site. Google reports that the chance of downloading a harmful app is higher from a non-Google site.

    For more information, see our guides for how to find Android apps, how to choose an antivirus app, and how to protect yourself from ransomware.

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Clifford Colby follows the Mac and Android markets for He's been an editor at Peachpit Press and a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWeek, MacUser, and Corporate Computing.