How to install Android apps | Mobile | Geek.com
There isn’t just one way to install Android apps on a phone or tablet. Rather, Android’s open nature allows you to get apps from various sources, and choose how to install and maintain them. The array of options can be a little daunting, so let’s lay everything out.
The Google Play Store
Most apps are going to be obtained from the Google Play Store. On your phone or tablet, tap the Play Store icon (or Play Shop in some locales) to open the store. The main page in the Play Store will offer you access to books, movies, and music in addition to apps. Just tap the Apps link to get to the right area.
This page will show you a selection of featured apps, as well as a few curated lists like Editors’ Choice. If you want to install and Android app you can pick it from here, or search for the one you want. Each app has its own details page where you can check out reviews, ratings, prices, and download size.
For free Android apps, hit the download button at the top of the page to install. Paid apps will have a button with the price listed. Tap that and you will go to the payment interface where you can choose the account you want to use to pay.
The Play Store is also online and has many of the same options. You have to click past all the music and movies on the main page, and you can still pick from lists of apps or search for them. When you find an app you want to install from the web interface, you will be asked which device you want it installed on. Choose your phone from the drop down (for most users there will only be one device in the list), and hit install.
Paid apps will go through a payment screen before the app is installed. When you’re done, the app will be pushed down to your phone automatically.
Some developers are good enough to sell apps, or give away betas on their websites. An example of this is the Humble Bundle. If you want to install an Android app like this, odds are it comes as an application package, or APK. Installing that APK on your device is called “sideloading”, and it requires just a little setup.
You will have to go into your device settings and enable “Unknown Sources,” which is usually in the Security menu. After that, just put the APK on your phone’s SD card and use a file manager like Astro or AntTek to find and open it. Another option is to use Dropbox. Be aware, though, some shady people will package malware with Android APKs on the open internet.
Android users in the US have another option for installing Android apps, and that’s the Amazon Appstore. This is essentially a glorified sideloading system, so you still need to have Unknown Sources checked. Amazon’s website will send the Appstore installer to your device to make things easier. Then you can browse and install apps in the Amazon ecosystem from your phone or the Amazon website. The files downloaded from Amazon will trigger the same system-level installer used to sideload apps.
The Google Play Store is the way most users will find apps, and it has the best experience. The cloud push installs from the web interface is almost magical. Amazon’s app store works fairly well, but the selection is poor and it doesn’t integrate well with the system. Manual sideloading is the most difficult method, but it lets you install literally anything you want, even if that turns out to be not such a good idea.