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How to get paid apps for free on Android

Update: Amazon's Underground Actually Free program to end

We love apps. We love free apps. And we love paid apps being given away for free most of all. But we don't like pirates and we don't like stealing. There are plenty of legal ways to get paid apps for free on Android – including in the Play Store – and we're going to share a few with you. The latest news is that Amazon will be closing its Underground Actually Free program.

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Before we continue, it's worth pointing out that free apps may cost in other ways: as one study discovered, ad-funded apps can use an average of 79 percent more mobile data than the ad-free equivalents. If you're on a limited monthly mobile data plan, choosing the "free" version of an app may be a false economy.

AndroidPIT Google Play Store new search bar font
Yes, there are even paid apps for free in Google Play. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Play free app of the week

Google Play has taken a leaf out of Amazon's book and introduced a free app of the week promotion, where a previously paid-for app is available for nothing. It's done a rubbish job of promoting it though, and it's hidden away where you're unlikely to stumble across it. 

To access the Google Play free app of the week, use your device to visit the Family section of the Play Store. You should now see a banner promising a free app of the week. If you tap it you'll see an install dialog that tells you what the app is and what it normally costs. Even then you don't get an app summary, just the title and icon.

AndroidPIT Google Play free app of the week android
At last, Google Play offers free apps. / © ANDROIDPIT

Amazon Underground

Amazon has recently announced the end of its Underground Actually Free program, which offers thousands of premium apps, games and even in-app items at no cost. The shutdown will come in several phases beginning on May 31, where developers will no longer be able to submit apps for inclusion in the Actually Free program. Android devices will lose access to Underground Actually Free apps in summer 2017, though anything that you have previously downloaded will continue to work until the end of 2019. The proud owners of Amazon's own Fire tablets have a little more wiggle room, as they will be able to continue downloading and using Actually Free apps and games until the end of 2019. 

Long story short - if you want to take advantage of the Amazon Underground Actually Free program, you'd better get in fast.

Opinion by Kris Carlon
It's a shame Amazon's free app program is shutting down
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Amazon is great place to get free Android apps, though not for much longer.... / © ANDROIDPIT

Free App of the Day apps

AppGratis is one of my favorite apps because every morning I'm greeted by another new app for free. There's no overload of offers — just one app a day — curated by Sam, the ever-comical developer with the bad jokes.

As with any deals program, the offers vary: some apps won't be eligible for updates, and some of the free apps probably don't cost anything to start with. Nevertheless, the AppGratis deals just keep coming and there's often some real gems in there. Also keep an eye on Freapp, which does basically the same thing.

AndroidPIT App Gratis 123 Blitz
AppGratis will deliver a free app offer to you every day. / © ANDROIDPIT
AppGratis - Cool apps for free Install on Google Play Freapp - Free Apps Daily Install on Google Play

Google Play surveys

We've written about Google's free Play Store credit in exchange for answering surveys before. If you're not aware of it yet, Google offers its very own rewards program because, well, it wants even more information about you and your habits.

Simply install the Google Opinion Rewards app, fill in a short survey and collect your coinage. You're limited to one survey a week (so you won't exactly be able to retire early), and you don't always get paid for every survey, but you can earn up to a dollar per survey. Not bad for a few minutes of your time.

There's another app called Get Paid Apps Free where you watch short videos or download selected apps in exchange for credit that can be used to buy other apps in the Play Store.

AndroidPIT Paid Apps For Free Google Opinion Rewards
Google likes to know things about you, and it is willing to pay you for it. / © ANDROIDPIT
Google Opinion Rewards Install on Google Play Get Paid Apps Free Install on Google Play

Discounted apps and sales

Some apps, such as AppSales, enable you to add apps you're interested in to a watch list, so you can be notified when they go on sale. It isn't exactly free, but it's still better than full price. Plus, AppSales does occasionally post free apps.

Another great option is the Free App of the Day app for your country. Offering discounted apps for temporary time frames, Free App of the Day is pretty addictive.

AndroidPIT App of the Day triangulate it
App of the Day often includes free or heavily discounted apps for Android. / © ANDROIDPIT
App of the Day - 100% Free Install on Google Play AppSales - Sales & Free Apps Install on Google Play

Google Play return policy

If you're interested in a game and don't mind spending a few bucks on it — but don't want to commit unless you know it's actually worth it — then you can take advantage of Google's returns policy for apps. When you pay for an app you've got two hours to test it out before you are stuck with the purchase.

A couple of hours may not seem like a long time, but it's definitely long enough to get a feel for a game and know if you actually want to pay for it or not. And if you're really, really skint you could manufacture a night's entertainment out of just your phone and a stopwatch. Be warned though: dodgy behaviour could lead to Google flagging you as suspect and refusing to refund paid apps.

AndroidPIT Google Play app refund The Martian
Google allows you to refund an app with two hours of the initial purchase, no questions asked. / © ANDROIDPIT

Troubleshooting: "Can't give you a refund at this time" 

It may happen that you try to refund an app you just purchased only to be greeted by the message "Can't give you a refund at this time. Try uninstalling later." Of course, the refund clock is likely still ticking while you're blockaded by the Play Store and it's possible the refund window will close before the Play Store allows you to successfully uninstall and refund the unwanted app.

In this case, there's not a lot you can do. But one thing we would recommend is that you take a screenshot of the error message that clearly shows when you installed the app and when you were trying to refund it. This provides proof that you were encountering errors on Google's end within the refund timeframe.

AndroidPIT Google Play app refund cant refund at this time
If you can't refund the app in Google Play, make sure you get a screenshot of the attempt. / © ANDROIDPIT

You can then email the screenshot (make sure you get the date in there too) to the developer requesting a refund. The developer's contact details are now required at the bottom of each app description in Google Play.

If the developer is unresponsive, you can also try contacting Google via the Google Play help page for returns and refunds and hitting the Contact us button in the top right-hand corner. There's no guarantees Google will refund your app purchase price, but the fact that you have proof you tried to refund it within the returns window should be enough to get your money back.

How do you score paid apps for free (no illegal methods, please!)? What's the best deal you've ever found for a paid app? Make yourself heard in the comments. 


Readers' favorite comments

  • Paco Inurreta Jul 22, 2014

    If you speak any other language other than english you can also try to contact the developer and help him translate the app, most of them give you the pro/premium version "for free" for helping them.


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  • I had also written about apps which are free available fro people i think you will enjoy that to get apps in your pocket with your smart phone here is it on

  • almost all paid app are available free in Google play but then you can play some of the mission there and then you should pay for other mission.

  • Mark G. Dec 20, 2015 Link to comment

    I can't seem to find the Google play store "free app of the week" has it ended or moved?

  • Karen J. Dec 19, 2015 Link to comment

    Google Play Rewards were constantly giving me surveys.....I earned a bit here & there & loved it but now I hardly here from them . My tablet is set to alerts & nothing.....I've reinstalled the app a few times but still having issues...
    Same with the App of the Day,same as above but if I want to check it out I have to press on the widget......

    All settings are correct...Just in case you were wondering...I formerly had an Acer tablet which I loved...I now have a Samsung Galaxy s4 16G. ...

  • On Amazon you can also get free apps

  • You can also go to Google Play - Get paid apps for free. good luck!

  • Google Play Rewards is great! Able to get premium version of Nova Launcher without spending my own hard-earned $$$

  • Nice idea, but m not sure its 100% legit.

  • I use Blackmart app to get paid apps for free ;-)

    • I'd be wary about blackmart, Aptoide or any other app pirating app/site. Any of their pirated apps (i.e. any paid apps for 'free') have the ability to compromise your phones security at root level and install undetectable or unremovable trojans. If you don't pay a developer for his work, you pay in other ways ;)

      • Ya I know and blackmart app always ask for root access but i denies that, I use android fire wall to break internet collection of certain apps and also xprivacy Xpose module so that i have permission controls over those apps

      • I am more sacred after using app called "king Root" which give you root access in just 1 click without doing anything
        What if that apps source codes r mixed with a malware,virus or torjan apps to get them root access that will make them more worse ,user will never get to know about it
        This is a that a serious problem
        u should post about it in AndroidPit informing people not to install apps from untrusted source

      • That won't really help, it stops the simpler hacks like malware and phishing but won't detect certain intents that seem legitimately coded into an app. Obviously it's your choice; most of the apps from these sources aren't decompiled/recompiled by pros so the damage can be and will be limited, but similarly this is where some coders introduce new hacks. Plus you're depriving someone their income, but that's for other threads.

  • The Amazon Appstore for Android also gives away a bunch of paid apps for free about once a month. There's typically between 25 and 35 apps, normally costing around $100, available for free for two or three days.

  • This tip is what we are looking fort as there are paid apps that are worth downloading but sometimes we don't have the money to avail it.

  • Phil Jun 15, 2015 Link to comment

    ya get nothing for nothing in this world -- THEIR IS ALWAYS A CATCH SOMEWHERE

  • Hey guys! I've just tried Gums Up! It's pretty cool and works fast. You can redeem your credits almost instantly! Give it a try!

  • Or... you could just have 'Aptoide'! :D

  • I have been doing Google Play Rewards since November 2013, so far I have earned $73.46. Plenty of paid apps for free.

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