How to Download Apps on a Surface Pro

The Windows Store is the best source for Surface apps

What to Know

  • Tap the Windows Store icon in the Windows taskbar.
  • Use the Windows Store catalog to find an app you'd like to download.
  • Select Get (if the app is free) or Buy (if it's paid) to download the app.

This article provides instructions for how to download apps on a Surface Pro.

How to Download Apps on a Surface Pro

The Microsoft Surface Pro ships with Windows 10 installed. It's compatible with hundreds of thousands of apps spanning back to Windows 95, but the Windows Store is a really convenient place to find and download apps. Here's how to download apps from the Windows Store on a Surface Pro.

  1. Tap the Windows Store icon on the taskbar.

    Windows 10 desktop with the Windows Store icon highlighted.
  2. Use the Windows Store catalog to find an app you'd like to download. You can also search for an app using the Search feature in the upper right hand corner.

    Windows Store with Search highlighted
  3. Tap the icon of the app you'd like to download in the catalog or, if using search, in the search field.

    Windows Store with search and app icons highlighted
  4. You will see detailed information about the app. If it's free, you can tap Get to download it. If it's paid, you will tap Buy. The store will ask you for payment information. Apps you've already purchased will have an Install button.

    Windows Store with Prime Video App available and Get highlighted
  5. The app will begin to download. Small apps may take only seconds, but larger apps (like games) may take several hours, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

  6. Want to check the status of an app's download or installation? Tap the Download and Updates icon in the upper right hand corner.

    Windows Store with the Downloads and Updates icon highlighted.

Apps you download through the Windows Store will install after the download is complete and appear in the Windows Start menu.

What Apps Can You Get on a Surface Pro?

Windows 10 has the potential to run most Windows programs ever made. Even programs coded for Windows 95 or 98 may work, though often not without Windows compatibility mode.

You can also use an emulator called DOSBox to run ancient DOS programs and use Linux software by installing a Linux distribution like Ubuntu in a virtual machine.

Can I Download Google Play Apps on the Surface Pro?

You can't download Google Play apps to the Surface Pro by default, but you can run Android apps on a Surface Pro by using a third-party Android emulator.

Microsoft announced Windows 11 will support Android apps on the Amazon App Store (which is different from the Google Play store). Windows 10 lacks this feature, but Surface Pro devices eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11 may gain it after the upgrade.

Why Should You Download Apps From the Windows Store?

Many app developers don't offer apps on the Windows Store, instead making them available to download online. You'll likely have to download at least a few apps from outside the Windows Store. However, it's a good idea to check the Windows Store first. Here's why.

  • The Universal Windows Platform: Apps on the Windows Store are built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This offers several benefits for Surface Pro owners. UWP apps conform to standards that support multiple inputs including a touchscreen and stylus.
  • Easy installation and access: Apps you buy on the Windows Store are tied to your Microsoft account, so they're easy to download and install on other Windows devices you own.
  • Automatic updates: The Windows Store lets developers push updates for their software. Some developers offer this for apps outside the Windows Store, but many don't. Downloading from the Windows Store will help you keep up on patches and security updates.

How to Fix Problems When Downloading Apps on a Surface Pro

Several common problems may prevent you from downloading apps through the Windows Store on your Surface Pro. Here's how to fix them.

  1. Check your Surface Pro's Wi-Fi connection. Try resetting your Wi-Fi adapter if Wi-Fi isn't working. Also check you're connected to the right Wi-Fi network and have the correct password.

  2. Check you Internet connection. If your Internet connection does not work on multiple computers, try resetting your router or modem.

  3. Log in to your Microsoft account. You won't be able to re-install apps you have previously purchased or installed if you are logged out, and you won't be able to make new purchases.

  4. Check that your hard drive isn't full. Perform a Windows Search for Storage settings and open it from the search field. The C: drive's storage will be highlighted in red if it's nearly full. Uninstall apps you no longer need to make room.

  5. Restart your Microsoft Surface Pro. This will clear up temporary bugs or driver issues.

  • Why are my apps blurry on my Surface Pro?

    Some apps may look blurry if your display settings change. If you receive an automatic prompt asking Fix apps that are blurry?, select Yes, and then open Settings and select Apply. If apps are blurry but you don't receive the prompt about fixing the problem, go to the Taskbar search field and type advanced scaling settings, and then enable Fix apps that are blurry.

  • How do I uninstall apps on a Surface Pro?

    Swipe downward to access App View, find the app you want to uninstall, and then tap and hold the app for a few seconds. Select Uninstall from the options to delete the app.

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