Information and tips on how to use and look for Android apps for your Android phone, tablet or watch.
We all know that it’s apps which make our Android device roll (whether it’s a phone, a tablet or an Android Wear watch). Without apps our device wouldn’t do most of the cool things it does for us every day.
That’s why the most useful skill for any Android user is the effective management of the apps installed on their device and the knowledge of how to quickly find new great apps and games.
In Google Play (the biggest Android app store) there are now more than two million apps from lots of different categories like productivity, utilities, family, education and more (there are tens of different app categories).
Where To Look For New Android Apps
The most obvious place to look for apps for any Android user is Google Play, which is the biggest official Android app store out there. According to the latest statistics, Google Play has more than two million apps available for you to download and use. That’s a pretty huge number!
Every Android phone comes with Google Play installed on it (as this is the default app store for all the Android devices). All you need to do to be able to use Google Play is add your Google account to your phone, accept its terms and conditions and add a payment method (if you want).
If you are turning your phone for the first time, you will be asked to add Google account as one of the first setup steps. If you haven’t added your Google account at setup, you will be asked to do so when you open Google Play.
In most cases Google Play (and the knowledge of some essential Google Play tips and tricks) is sufficient if you want to discover lots of awesome apps that will improve your everyday life.
After all, Google Play is where any notable developer puts his or her app in the first place.
Alternative App Stores
As you probably know, there are really lots of other app stores out there. Unfortunately, many of these stores have either outdated or malicious apps and you should stay away from them at all costs.
That’s why if you decide to use an alternative app store you need to use it with great caution. You might do yourself more harm than good if you install some infected app!
Below is the list of my favorite alternative app stores and their short description.
APKMirror is the app store where you will find different version of apps (practically all the versions of the app from the oldest to the newest).
It’s especially useful if you want to revert to the previous version of the app after an unsuccessful update.
These are mostly the official apps of Sony, Google, Microsoft or HTC.
Amazon Appstore for Androidis probably the second biggest Android app store.
One of its biggest advantages is that it offers many discounts and you can very often download many paid apps totally for free!
With the Amazon Underground App for Android you can get free access to (as Amazon claims) over $20,000 in apps, games and in-app items.
F-Droid is the app store which will probably be appreciated by more advanced users, developers and fans of open source software because it offers only free and open source software Android apps.
The number of apps available here isn’t as great as in the two above stores but you can be sure that all the apps here are free, have no ads or in-app purchases.
You have a simple search functionality and the possibility of sorting apps according to their categories.
Samsung Galaxy Apps
If you are an owner of one of the Samsung Galaxy devices, you can install and use yet another great app store called Samsung Galaxy Apps.
I tried to download the store from the website but I was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, I cannot see the APK file download anywhere on their website. 😛
Anyway, I found this APK file in the APKMirror (the first alternative app place I recommend) so you can download it here.
However, I still suggest that if you aren’t an advanced user, you should only use Google Play. After all, this is the place where the majority of apps is.
How To Install Apps On Your Android Device
Installing new apps on Android devices is really extra simple. Here is all you need to do:
- If you want to install a new app using your phone, simply open Google Play and look for the desired app using the search bar. When you are on the app page, hit INSTALL. The app will download and INSTALL.
If it’s a paid app, you will need to pay for it as well (or add a payment method if you haven’t done it yet).
- You can also install the app from Google Play directly from your desktop computer! All you need to do is log in with your Google account (the same you use in your phone) in your web browser and choose the app you want to install in a similar way you do it on your phone.
The app will download and install when your phone is online (when you connect it to Wi-Fi).
How To Uninstall Apps
Uninstalling apps from Android devices is almost as easy as installing them. There are two ways in which you can uninstall apps from your Android phone or tablet:
- Use your device’s built-in app manager and simply go to the settings of each app to uninstall it. This may differ a bit depending on the phone model and the Android version you are using but in most cases you need to go to Settings > Applications > Application Manager and click on the app you want to uninstall (and then click UNINSTALL).
- There is also a quicker and easier way to get rid of several unwanted apps at one time. You can do that thanks to the app called Easy Uninstaller. The app will simply display the list of all the installed apps on your phone and let you check the apps you want to get rid of.
Uninstalling apps from Android Wear is a bit different than uninstalling them from a regular phone, so you might want to take a look at my special tutorial: How To Uninstall Apps From Android Wear
How To Install Apps Outside Of Google Play
Android by default does not let you install any apps from other stores (i.e. unknown sources) than Google Play, so if you want to install new apps you need to at first change this default setting in your phone.
To do that go to Settings > Lock screen and security and make sure than Unknown sources is enabled. Of course, this settings (and where exactly it’s located) may differ depending on the phone model and its manufacturer.
Installing new apps from the unknown sources (that is anything other than Google Play) isn’t allowed by default mainly for the security reasons . That’s why if you aren’t an advanced user, I would recommend sticking to Google Play only.
How To Disable Built-In Apps
Any Android phone or tablet comes together with a number of preinstalled apps which you cannot uninstall in any of the above method. In most cases you don’t use most of these preinstalled apps (at least not all of them), so the best thing you can do it simply disable them.
Once you disable the app it disappears from the app grid and stops consuming your CPU or RAM. That’s the best method of getting rid of the app without rooting your phone .
To disable the preinstalled app, go to Settings > Applications > Application Manager and click on the app you want to disable. Click DISABLE and the app will disappear from the app grid.
Useful Articles & Android Apps
I have been working hard for the past few weeks and created a series of articles with advice and tips about installing and using Android apps. Here is what I have come up with so far:
- Android Wear (the section all about Android Wear and making the most of it)
- Why Does Android Auto Not Work? (the reasons why Android Auto might not work with your car or phone)
- The Best Android Weight Loss Tracking Apps (if you are on a diet and want to have a closer look at your progress)
- Android Apps For Cheaters (no explanation needed) 😛
- The Best Android Wear Apps (the list of my favorite apps for Android Wear)
- Google Now Launcher Battery Drain (my own experiment and its results)
- Anti Mosquito Apps For Android (to get rid of mosquitoes and have a lot of fun)
- The List Of The Best Astronomy Apps For Kindle Fire & Android (check this out)
- Android & Kindle Fire Texting Apps (both for users of Android & Kindle Fire)
Share Your Thoughts
Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts! Do you have any app suggestions or recommendations?
Do you know any other good alternative app store? Do you want me to review a specific category of apps?
Feel free to leave me your comments in the comment box. I would love to hear from you!