How to Download Apps on Android

Install Android apps from Google Play, Amazon, and Galaxy Apps

Android users have access to many app stores, including Google Play, Amazon Appstore for Android, Galaxy Apps (if you have a Samsung device), and an array of others—some legit and some not. This article explains how to download apps safely; instructions apply to smartphones and tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and later.

How to Download Apps on Google Play

The Google Play Store app is built into all Android devices. Here's how to download apps from the store:

You can download Google Play apps from a desktop browser in addition to your smartphone or tablet. Google keeps a running list of devices supported by the Play Store.

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your smartphone or tablet.

  2. Search for the app you want to download or select a category, such as Games or Movies & TV, or other filters like Editors’ Choice or Family.

  3. Tap the app’s listing.

  4. Tap Install. When the download is complete, Install changes to Open.

    An Android user downloads 'Fallout Shelter' from the Google Play Store

Google Play on Desktop

You can manage app downloads on the desktop for any Android phones or tablets you’ve connected to your Google account. Using the Play Store on your desktop is convenient if you use more than one device or manage app downloads for others, such as your children.

  1. In a desktop browser, navigate to play.google.com

  2. Search for the app you want to download or click Categories, Top Charts, or New Releases to browse the library. 

    A PC user searches for a game in the Google Play Store
  3. Once you find the app, click its entry and then Install. If you have more than one Android phone linked to your Google account, you will see a list of smartphones and tablets. Choose your device; if you’re not sure which is which, there’s a “last used” date next to each one.

    A PC user searches for the game 'Fallout Shelter' in the Google Play Store
  4. Click Install or Buy and the app should appear on your device within a few minutes.

    A PC user installs the game 'Fallout Shelter' from the Google Play Store

The price of the app is on the Buy button.

How to Download Apps on Amazon Appstore for Android

Android users can also access apps from Amazon’s store, either in a desktop web browser or the Amazon AppStore app. The apps sold here are sometimes cheaper compared to Google Play or even free. You can also earn coins for future purchases. If you don’t have the Amazon AppStore installed, you can download it, but you must enable a setting called Install unknown apps.

  1. On your phone, open the Amazon Appstore.

  2. Search or browse for the app you want.

  3. Tap Get or the button with the price for a paid app.

    An Amazon Appstore user buys a copy of 'Candy Crush Saga'
  4. Then tap Download on the next page.

Amazon Appstore for Android on Desktop

If you have the Amazon Appstore on your smartphone or tablet, you can download and purchase apps directly from there. You can also download the Amazon Appstore through your mobile browser by visiting Amazon.com or through the Amazon Shopping app. You'll need to allow the app to install unknown apps in settings, as explained above.

  1. From the Amazon website, click the menu icon on the top left (three horizontal lines).

    The Amazon home page with the All menu icon highlighted
  2. Click Appstore for Android.

    The Amazon website with the All menu displayed and 'Appstore for Android' highlighted
  3. Click All Apps and Games. (There’s also an option to download the Amazon Appstore app.)

    The Amazon website with the All menu displayed and 'All Apps and Games' highlighted
  4. Search or browse for the app you want and click its listing.

    The Amazon App Store with the game 'Plants vs. Zombies' highlighted
  5. Click Get App (free) or Buy Now (paid).

    The Amazon website with the listing page for the game 'Plants vs. Zombies' displayed. The Buy Now button is highlighted.

Samsung Galaxy Apps on Mobile

The Galaxy App store is pre-installed on most Samsung Galaxy devices. It includes Exclusive Apps Made for Samsung (apps explicitly made for Galaxy phones), Galaxy Essentials (curated Samsung apps), and Samsung DeX apps. It also has a sticker shop, live stickers, and fonts.

To get apps from Samsung, open Galaxy Apps and search or browse for the app you want. Tap the app’s listing, then Install.

Google Play Protect

One of the most important things to consider before downloading any apps on Android is security. Like a computer, an infected smartphone can cause performance issues and privacy breaches and even cause you to lose your data.

In response to some high-profile security incidents, which included malicious apps in the Play Store, Google rolled out Play Protect, which regularly scans your device for malware. By default, this setting is on, but you can also run a manual scan if you want.

  1. Go to Settings > Security > Google Play Protect.


  2. Tap Scan.

    An Android user accesses Google Play Protect settings
  3. Here, you can also see recently checked apps and the time of the last scan.


Google Play Protect also checks apps in the Play Store before you download them.

Downloading Apps From Unknown Sources

If you try to download an app from somewhere other than Google Play using a mobile browser or another app, you'll get a warning that your device doesn’t allow the installation of unknown apps from this source.

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special app access.

  3. Tap Install unknown apps.

    An Android user accesses settings to allow for the installation of unknown apps
  4. You'll see a list of apps that can download apps, such as Chrome and other mobile browsers. Tap any app you use to download apps and toggle on Allow from this source.

Beware that an unknown app could compromise your device. To further protect yourself, toggle on Improve harmful app detection in the Google Play Protect section of your device’s settings.

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