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10 Google Play tips and tricks every Android user should know

10 Google Play tips and tricks every Android user should know

The Google Play Store is a big benefit of owning an Android device. It gives you a wide variety of apps to choose from. To get the most out of your shopping experience, we've gathered some Google Play Store tips and tricks to help you test drive apps, save money and more. Check them out below!

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1. Swipe to open the Play Store menu

First thing's first. In a few of the following tips, you'll be prompted to open the Play Store menu. This can actually be done two ways. The first and most obvious is by tapping on the "3 bars" icon on the top left. But there's an even faster and more convenient way. When you're in the Play Store, just swipe from the left side of the display to open the menu, from which you can access various sections of the store as well as your own account settings.

2. Install an app that isn't available in your country

If you're really keen to get an app that's not available in your country, then you can still get your hands on it by using a VPN. 'VPN' means 'virtual private network'. It gives you a secure internet connection via private networks in locations outside of your current one.

Basically, a VPN service can make it look like you're accessing the Internet from a different location. It's important that you choose a credible VPN.

Once you've downloaded a VPN, select the country's Play Store that you want to access in the VPN app, get the VPN up and running, then open the Play Store app. It should land on the Play Store homepage of the country you selected. Now you can get the app you're looking for.

androidpit vpn
Invest in a VPN and access apps outside of your location. / © AndroidPIT

3. Manage your apps in the Play Store

The Google Play store has an area called My apps & games. From here you can look at which apps you've downloaded, which were pre-loaded and the apps that you need to update. This is an excellent place to manage your apps within the Play Store and to easily access it.

  • Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  • Open the menu (the three horizontal lines at the top left of your screen).
  • Under the Apps & Games section, you'll see the My apps and & games link. Tap here.
  • Now you should see a list of your installed apps.

From here you can hit the button Update All in the top right-hand corner of your screen. You can monitor what you've downloaded and manage these apps. If you go into the All section you can see which apps were on your device and what could be removed.

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Manage your apps from the menu. / © AndroidPIT

4. Put a parental lock on Google Play

If you don't want your child or dependent downloading inappropriate apps on the Play Store, you can set up parental controls to prevent your Android device from being misused. This could include games with copious amounts of violence or gore as well apps that could put them in danger like dating apps or chats that give out their location. 

It's easy to put a parental lock on the Google Play Store.

  • First, open the Play Store and open the menu.
  • Go into the Settings
  • Tap Parental controls and hit the slider so it says 'On'. From there you will be asked to create a parental lock PIN code.
  • Create one and then go through the list of things you can download on the Play Store and tap the ones you want to set restrictions for.

Once the restrictions are set, your child or dependent will need to enter your PIN code each time they try to download something that triggers the restriction. As they get older and are able to handle more content, you can go back in and change their privileges.

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You can set parental locks and restrictions in the Google Play Store app. / © AndroidPIT

5. Get refunds on the Google Play Store

You can get refunds for Play Store purchases with a single tap, so long as you do it within two hours of buying the app. This should be plenty of time to find out if that new weather app actually works, or whether that game is as fun as the garish pictures made it out to be.

  • Once you've purchased an app, on its Play Store page you'll see options to Install or Open. In addition, a Refund option should appear to the left of it.
  • Tap the refund button within two hours of your purchase to get your money back, no questions asked.

If you notice that a child made this purchase without permission you can always change their privileges.

  • Just head into the Play Store, tap the menu icon and hit Settings.
  • Toggle Require authentication for purchases 
  • Then choose For all purchases through Google Play on this device.
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Google has made it easy for you to get refunds on purchases you made in the last two hours. / © AndroidPIT

6. Check out the 'Indie Corner'

Both big and small developers are important for a vibrant Android app ecosystem. The big developers are not struggling, it's the small developers who have difficulties.

Part of the problem is that it can be tricky to find independent apps. But did you know that there is a special Indie Corner in the Google Play Store? Indie Corner can't be found from within the Play Store itself, but it contains some of the best games you'll ever find for your mobile device. Here's how to find it:

  • Open a web browser on your Android device and search for 'Indie Corner'.
  • The first result should be 'Discover Indie Corner' from Google Play.
  • Head in and you should see the list which is refreshed with new apps every month or so.
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Check out the Indie Corner for some apps from small developers. / © AndroidPIT

7. Stop automatic updates

The Google Play Store has a tendency to download updates available for your applications at the wrong time: you can quickly say goodbye to your 3G/4G data package if you're not careful.

  • From the Google Play Store, go to your Settings, click Update Apps.
  • Choose Do not automatically update applications
  • It will then be up to you to choose when or where you want to update your applications!

8. Disable automatic addition of a shortcut to the Home screen

When you install a new application, Google Play has the bad habit of systematically adding a shortcut to your home screen. If this is sometimes practical, it can quickly become annoying, especially if you download a lot of apps that you don't use all the time.

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Home screen looking crowded? / © AndroidPIT

There is a simple method to disable this automatic addition:

  • From the Play Store, go to Settings.
  • Uncheck the Add icon to Home screen check box.

9. See your order history

It's so easy to just tap and buy apps on the Play Store and just as easy to lose track of what you own, especially since so many apps and games are free (at least to download). But you can access your Play Store purchase history, including free downloads, with a few quick taps. Here's how:

  • Open the Play Store
  • Enter the menu (via three bars or swiping from the left)
  • Tap on Account, then Order history
  • You'll then be able to scroll through your account's entire purchase/download history
playstoreorderhistory
Every app you ever downloaded plus how much you paid, all in one place. / © AndroidPIT

10. Download apps using your PC

It's surprising how few people know of this little trick. Yes, you can download apps on to your Android device of choice from your PC. All you need to do is log into your Google account and open Google Play. From there, just find the app of your choice and click install. You will see a drop-down menu containing your Android devices connected to the Google account.

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Downloading apps using your PC browser is easy! / © AndroidPIT

Using this method is especially useful if you want to install the same app on multiple devices, or if you have just bought a new phone. Of course, your PC screen is also bigger, allowing you to browse and find the right app quicker.

What are some of your favorite Play Store tips and tricks? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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44 comments

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  • Google Play customer care number 9064324528=/=/=/8420644707


  • PC Wiz Jul 13, 2018 Link to comment

    Just like apple & google to record ALL your voice commands! And if you think they DON'T record everything you say, you are very gullible! 🐺🐺🐺


  • D. L. Dec 18, 2017 Link to comment

    It should also be mentioned, that on the
    "My apps page" Google Play Protect is above updates. If you tap "no problems found" , it takes you to most recent apps scanned. And settings page.

    Also, you can slide out the menu from the left side of screen, instead of the three dot menu button.


  • well screw me! i didn't know no-questions-asked refund policy existed for all apps until today.


  • For error that "This app isn't available in your country".
    Just note down the app id.
    then replace it with com.smsBlocker
    http://apkdl.in/app/details?id=com.smsBlocker

    Bang
    You will get apk download link for that app. ;)
    It works for me everytime


  • I am using Motorola 4G+, and I am not being able to download any thing on my mobile Google play store with my cellular data but through Wi-Fi network I can download. Please help me on this ,how can I download on cellular data?


  • [Deleted comment re Opera's stand alone VPN, now discontinued.]


  • Android Developer mode is the door to customizing android. Navigate to Settings > About phone and tap on your phone’s build number seven times to enable it. It will give you more control of your app.
    thanks,
    Harshal


  • Free stuff and money on internet with Rewardo. me app. You can get all kind of cool stuff. Use my code OEEN4A to earn more points. Try it!


  • Full close my Play Store how do I bring it back up


    • PC Wiz Jul 13, 2018 Link to comment

      Just go to Google play in your browser and install it, it will update and refresh the app, don't forget to let it put the icon on your front page, you can move it later.
      Good to go!


  • My Google Play Store just keeps installing the apps? But it never downloads? Can someone please help me?


    • Is it just loading on Google play and not completeling the install on your Android or are you unable to find the installed app because it's not set up to automatically provide you a link on your Androids homepage?


  • My googel play store keeps saying.... Googel play store has stopped working. Can someone please help me with this!


  • This is all lovely information but still don't see an answer for why play store won't load


    • PC Wiz Jul 13, 2018 Link to comment

      Ok, the answer is: on your browser, go to the play store, and find the play web view app, little gear icon, and install it.
      if that fixes the problem you are golden, have fun. IF NOT, then install the Google Play app, it will update what you have, and tell you what is missing!
      Also install the Google Play Services app! Those are the 3 piecez needed to run. If you're trying to use the auto run app without installing it, then you need to find the piece/gear to download. I don't use that 'feature' so I don't have a name for you.
      Happy Googleing!!


  • My Google play games app is disabled please help me enable again.it happened during rooting now I unrooted again and play games is still disabled.


  • nice


  • My phone is telling me that have enough space to download apps. I have 7GB available on an SB card. Please help. I need to download WhatsApp and Amazon Kindle.


    • PC Wiz Jul 14, 2018 Link to comment

      If you are updating a Android phone, you need to find a sd card utility that will save .apk files to the card. For Amazon Kindle Fire units, you can set install to sd card in your configuration menu, swipe down from the top of the device, then click the gear/settings icon... See your device user guide for details to make the device execute an install from sd card. I do not memorize the software for every device's operating system...
      Good hunting...


  • I didn't know about the first one...
    I'm not even mad, this is amazing. Great article!


  • My LG tribute has a last updated date of 12/31/69. This happened after I did a factory reset. Can anyone help?


    • PC Wiz Jul 14, 2018 Link to comment

      Using the browser, go to the LG. Com site, search for your device and find the update file! You can also send a message to the LG system operator for help... Good hunting!

      anomaly...


  • bob Jun 17, 2016 Link to comment

    Does anyone know of an app or process to "lock" icons into position? I get my screens laid out the way I want and soon or later they have get moved or slide around as I pull my phone in or out of my pocket, or flick the screen too hard.


    • PC Wiz Jul 14, 2018 Link to comment

      Hmmm, there are user interface utilities out there, but maybe you should use a device lock? Swipe down from the top of the screen, open settings, tap the display option and look for the lock option. Select the swipe pattern, and it will ask you to swipe your dots in a pattern, twice in a row. Once it is set, it will enable when you sleep the phone/device. Then stick it in your pocket, and motor on! 😎
      When you want to wake it up, tap the screen/power button, and swipe your pattern! Voila! You can now access your home screen as you left it!!!!
      Confused?? Read the user manual! RTFM....
      anomaly...


  • the VPN tip did not work for me.


  • Good stuff!


  • I have a question somewhat relevant to the topic, but to anyone who have Nova Prime Launcher: If you had the free version first and then purchase prime, will all your settings still be saved?


  • I didn't know about the "indie corner " section of Google Play Store and now that I do, I will probably be checking it out. I think it's nice that there's a place for little known apps to be discovered, but it's pretty messed up that Google Play doesn't have a section for them to be seen within the app itself.


  • While I deal with updates to currently installed apps on each device, I much prefer browsing and comparing new apps on the desktop big screen using the browser version of the Play Store. Google has gradually diminished the functionality of the web site over time, forcing users to the device Play Store app. I wish it were back to where it was a couple of years ago.


  • good info


  • Good info about that Indie Corner!


  • Why is it that my play store doesn't work,everytym the ask for Google account,if l put my account they say its not avalieble.Goole play store is not supported. So l want a play store active.


  • With my phone I can to on the app store but I search something and in the middle of the app name it goes to the home screen


  • woohoo I live in south Africa and I can't get hulu. now thanks to this article I know that I can. thanks!:)


  • How can I take print screen-shot from my Android device?


  • IS THERE A WAY TO REMOVE APPS YOU DONT WANT TO SEE IN YOUR PURCHASED LIST (THAT I INSTALLED FOR FREE) I HAVE BEEN USING ANDROID FOR 6+ YEARS AND GOT A LOT OF JUNK.


  • How to revert back to Jelly Bean once you upgraded to kit Kat (AT&T)on Galaxy Note 3? Please explain in simple and detail way if possible. Lost my call recording ability and Samsung has no solution in sight.

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