The Google Play Store is free, but plenty of tablets and smartphones 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 free version of the Google Play Store APK version 5.9.12, paving the way for the introduction of Android Marshmallow.
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. The versions listed below are simply the versions made publicly available by Google. If the jumps between numbers seems odd, that's simply because Google never released the ones in between.
We've also listed the dates each version appeared for your reference. Note that sometimes new Play Store versions introduce new features or delete old ones, so we've got download links for previous versions as well as details on what each new version introduces at the very bottom of this article.
Download latest version of Google Play Store APK
The latest version of Google Play is 5.9.12. It doesn't seem to have any new additions (that we've seen so far) beyond the important new features that are essential to Android 6.0 Marshmallow introduced with the previous version.
Download the latest Google Play Store version:
Download previous Google Play Store versions:
- Google Play Store 5.9.11 - released September 9, 2015
- Google Play Store 5.8.11 - released August 18, 2015
- Google Play Store 5.8.8 - released July 29, 2015
- Google Play Store 5.7.10 - released July 9, 2015
- Google Play Store 5.7.6 - released July 8, 2015
- Google Play Store 5.6.6 - released May 26, 2015
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 it is the Play Store itself you want to install.
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.
What's new in Google Play
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 has already done a teardown of the code and 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.
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.
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.
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. The download link is below.
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 kid's 'Characters' section. Tapping a character's picture makes the image zoom up to the top of the screen with the relevant information displayed underneath.
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.
Do you like to stay ahead of the curve by downloading app APKs manually, or do you prefer to play it safe and wait for the official rollouts? Let us know.