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How to download and install the Google Play Store

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 4 days ago

The Google Play Store is a treasure trove of apps and content. It's sometimes necessary to re-install the Play Store manually, if you unintentionally uninstalled it or want to roll back to a previous version to avoid bugs. Here's our guide on how to download and install the Google Play Store (currently version 6.0.00), along with details of the new features each update introduces.

A note on Google Play Store version numbers

The numbering system for Google Play Store versions may seem a little confusing at first, but it's easy to get your head around. If the jumps between numbers seem odd, that's simply because Google didn't publicly release the versions in between. Note that new Play Store versions can delete old features as well as introduce new ones, so we've detailed what each new version brings in at the bottom of this article.

google play2
You should always stay up to date with the latest version of the Play Store. / © ANDROIDPIT

Download Google Play Store APK

Please note that the following guide is for owners of an Android device with a licensed version of the Play Store installed. We recognize that is sometimes necessary to re-install or roll back the Play Store. 

The latest version of Google Play is 6.0.00. The biggest difference we can see is the new-look Google Play font in the search bar alongside other features designed around Android 6.0 Marshmallow. For more details, head to our what's new in Google Play section and if you're having problems, check out our guide to troubleshooting Google Play.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 2 app drawer
Of all the apps on your phone, the Play Store is the one you really want to keep updated. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to install Google Play Store

The simplest method 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 equivalent to 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 extra useful when the app you want to install is the Play Store itself.

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 want. (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.
androidpit unknown sources htc one m8
Before you can install APKs, you need to enable Unknown Sources in your settings. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.
androidpit micro usb x
Sideloading from your PC with a USB cable can sometimes avoid installation problems with APKs. / © ANDROIDPIT

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, it may need to be rooted in order to manually install the Play Store, but that's a tutorial for another day.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S4 Play Store
Each version of the Play Store can add or subtract features. / © ANDROIDPIT

What's new in Google Play

What's new in Google Play 6.0.00

The biggest change in Google Play v6.0 is the long-awaited visual overhaul previewed by Googler Kirill Grouchnikov almost a month ago (shown below). The redesigned Google Play Store now divides content into two categories: apps and games, and entertainment. Previously, the front page showed six tabs. 

The new Google Play Store landing page – coming soon. / © Kirill Grouchnikov

What's new in Google Play 5.10.30

Google Play version 5.10.30 came quickly after version 5.10.29. There are only a few changes that we can see, the most notable of which the new Google Play font in the search bar, along with the ability to copy text from the Description and What's New section. 

We still haven't seen the new front page mentioned above, but that may well be Play Store version 6.0 or a server-side change. Other changes in the code that aren't live yet reference books being grouped into series and app size information being displayed at installation time. 

AndroidPIT Nexus 6 google play store select text
Google Play now lets you select text in descriptions and What's New. / © ANDROIDPIT

What's new in Google Play 5.9.11

The first thing you'll notice in Google Play 5.9.11 is a new pop-up window letting you know about granular app permissions in apps compatible with Android 6.0.

The team at Android Police revealed further documentation for fingerprint support, an uninstall manager (probably tied into Marshmallow's RAM Manager), location-based recommendations and new visuals when refunding apps.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Google Play app permissions notification
You'll now see a notification alerting you to granular app permissions. / © ANDROIDPIT

What's new in Google Play 5.8.11

There's not a lot that we can see, other than transitions and animations seeming a little faster on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Even though this version of the Play Store was pulled from the Android M preview 3, it still seems to be working fine on Android 5.1. If you want to play it safe though, stick to 5.8.8 for now.

What's new in Google Play 5.8.8

Not much other than a cool new hamburger menu animation. You've probably seen this elsewhere in Google apps, but when you switch from one screen to another, the three horizontal lines that take you to the navigation drawer rotate and convert into a back arrow.

What's new in Google Play 5.7.10

Google Play Store 5.7.10 brought circular animations to TV pages and "popular opinions review blurbs", according to the uploader's notes on APK Mirror. Feel free to check it out and let us know what you find.

What's new in Google Play 5.7.6

Some new changes appeared in Google Play Store version 5.7.6. The 'What's New' section in app descriptions now has a slightly different look – green text on a green background.

There's also some new animations in the kids' Characters section. Tapping a character's picture makes the image zoom up to the top of the screen with the relevant information displayed underneath.

AndroidPIT Google Play Store v576 whats new characters
The What's New section (left) has changed and there's now a nice transition animation for Characters. / © ANDROIDPIT

What's new in Google Play 5.6.6

A previous update to version 5.6.6 introduced some realigned buttons (right-justified) – difficult to notice if you hadn't seen 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. 

One more thing: Buzzinga lets you try new apps and get rewards

If you're looking for some great apps for Android now that you've got the Google Play Store, download Buzzinga!

Buzzinga recommends new apps for you to discover and review. Best of all, you get rewarded for it. The premise is simple: the more apps you download and review, the more points you accumulate. You can exchange those points for the chance to win prizes, including Ultra HD TVs, the newest smartphones and other gadgets, or you can redeem them for Amazon, Starbucks and GameStop giftcards. Buzzinga is developed by App Media, which is owned by Fonpit, the publisher of AndroidPIT.

Buzzinga lets you try out new games, review them, and get rewards. / © AndroidPIT
Buzzinga: Rewards for Reviews Install on Google Play

What is the one must-have feature you want in the Google Play Store? Let us know in the comments.

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.


Write new comment:
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  • Thank you so much!

  • This article saved my life as I was completely clueless on how to recover the Google Play Store. Now I can update and download my apps like before! Thank you AndroidPit!!!

  • Great stuff. Really helped me with my Play Store issues.

  • Hi,in android mobiles and tabs ,go to settings>storage>apps,scroll down for Google play services, tap on this then touch uninstall update, if this notification bar is greyed out you can can't click on this then go to settings again and disable android device manager and come back to tap on uninstall update on Google play services , when finished, open chrome browser, in Google search box type " Google play services update " and search ,see in results the emblem of Google play services and notification , tap on this emblem it will lead you to Google play store icon along with other browsers in device ,tap on play store icon now you can see Google play services update notification bar tap here, play services will be updated.

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    Is this only for #US? Because I am from #INDIA.

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  • Karen J. 2 months ago Link to comment

    Mine phone goes to Google Play Services & says i had an update on the 16th of September vrs,8.1.15 for Android 4 4+( Kit Kat,API 19 )
    So I'm assuming my phone has done an automatic update.
    Is this correct?
    My phone is an Alcatel onetouch Smartphone purchased in July 2013.
    Thanks for another great article.

  • Thanks

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