The Google Play Store is free, but there are plenty of tablets and smartphones that don't come with it pre-installed. Fortunately, it's super-easy to get Google's app marketplace running on your Android device, so you don't have to worry about missing out on all the Play Store has to offer. Here is our guide on how to download and install the latest version of the Google Play Store APK (version 5.6.6).
What's new in Google Play 5.6.6?
Nothing much we can see other than some realigned buttons (which are right-justified now). The change is hard to notice, but was announced in this post from Googler Kirill Grouchnikov. The last noticeable changes we saw came back in version 5.5.8, which introduced a nifty circular animation in the TV shows section (only on devices running Android 5.1 though).
Whenever you tap on a TV series, the image for that show will animate into a little circle that shoots up to the top of the screen to become the hero banner. When you back out of a show, the process is reversed. We're assuming the animation will come to other sections of the Play Store in a future update. You can see the animation in action below.
Get the Google Play Store APK [5.6.6]
The simplest method is one that should already be quite familiar to you if you're an avid follower of AndroidPIT: just install the Play Store APK manually. An APK is the Android version of an .exe program on your computer.
Instead of downloading an app from the Play Store, you simply install it yourself without the Play Store's help (see our guide on installing apps outside of Google Play. This is, of course, extra useful when it is the Play Store itself you want to install.
How to install Google Play 5.6.6 manually
There are two ways to get the Google Play APK installed on your device: directly on your phone or with your computer. We'll do the easy option first.
Install Google Play (phone method)
- Enable ''Unknown Sources'' by going to Settings > Security, then ticking the box next to Unknown sources. Don't be alarmed, unknown sources are simply locations outside of the Play Store, which is critical if it's the Play Store itself that you're after. (Don't forget to uncheck this option once you're done)
- Using the browser on your device, go to XDA Developers forum or APK Mirror to download the APK for the latest version of the Play Store.
- You may get a message warning that 'this type of file can harm your device.' Ignore it (trust us) and tap OK.
- Open the APK (you can tap the completed download in your notifications menu), read the new permissions (if any) that the new Play Store version requests, then tap Install.
Install Google Play (computer method)
If you don't have a data or Wi-Fi connection on your device, you can download the APK to your computer instead.The same process applies:
- Enable 'Unknown sources' on your device.
- Using the browser on your computer, go to XDA Developers forum or APK Mirror to download the APK for the latest version of the Play Store.
- Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable and copy the APK over to your Android.
- Launch it the APK, accept permissions and tap Install.
Google Play Store troubleshooting
Google Services Framework is a crucial service that lets the Play Store communicate with apps on your device - allowing for automatic updates and so on. If these functions stop working, or you experience other problems, then there may be a problem with the service, and you should clear the cache on Google Play Store and 'Google Play services.' To do this:
- Go to Settings > Apps
- Scroll down to Google Play Store, tap it, then tap 'Clear cache'.
- Do the same for Google Play services
- That should fix most problems you'll experience with the Play Store
Note: depending on what type of device you have, you may need to be rooted to manually install the Play Store, but that's a tutorial for another day.
Do you prefer to stay ahead of the curve by downloading app APKs manually, or do you like to play it safe and wait for the official rollouts? Let us know.