In this tutorial, you will learn:
- how to access the Google Play Store
- how to browse through apps
- how to search for apps
- how to download apps on your Android device
An app, short for application, is software that performs a specific task. Examples of apps include using your device as a flashlight, games, or a sports team’s software. These can be found in an app store. Don’t worry, even though it’s a store, you don’t have to spend money. “App Store” is just a name used for the location at which you find and download apps. Apps help you expand the functions of your device to do more than it was designed by the manufacturer, allowing you to personalize your device without needing computer-whiz knowledge.
The most common place to get apps on an Android device is from the Google Play Store, which should already be installed on all Android devices. This app looks like (Image 1)
Navigating the Google Play Store
Once inside the app, you are greeted with its home screen (Image 2).
Before we search for an app, let’s examine this page. At the top, you will find the six departments within the Google Play Store: Apps, Games, Movies & TV, Music, Books, and Newsstand (Image 3 and Image 4).
Browsing through Apps
The Apps section includes all apps, such as flashlights, sports apps, and many others. It only excludes game apps, as those appear in the Games tab. The Movies & TV tab allows you to find and purchase movies and television to view on your mobile device. The Music tab operates the same way, allowing you to find music to purchase to listen to. The books tab allows you to find books to be read on your device. Finally, newsstand takes you to apps produced by news entities, including television, radio, and newspapers.
Below these divisions, you will see some apps that Google is promoting. Each app button has a picture and a name (Image 3 and Image 4). Underneath the name, there is a star system. This shows the ranking users have given the app on a scale of one to five stars. Next to the stars is the price of the app. Many apps are free, but you should make sure to check this each time you download an app, as some do cost money.
If you already know what type of app you want, you have the option to search for one. For example, many people like to use their phone’s camera flash as a flashlight. To search for this type of app, simply press the magnifying glass at the top of the screen and type in a keyword for the app (for this example, we’ll use ‘flashlight’) (Image 5) Once you enter your keyword, you receive a page that looks like this Image 6.
Since a flashlight would be an app, look in that section. Many times, the app you want is provided there. If you don’t find the one you want, you click “More,” which takes you to a full listing of apps that looks like Image 7
After you find the one you want, select it from the menu by simply pressing the picture. It will take you to that app’s information page. We’ll select “Super-Bright LED Flashlight” (Image 8).
If you decide that you want this app, you simply press the “Install” button on the screen (right above the four dots). If this app had cost money, instead of saying “Install,” it will have the price in the box. Pressing the install button brings up a pop-up with any hardware the app must have permission to access. This usually does not have negative implications, like in this instance it only needs access to the camera, specifically the flash.*
*Note: Sometimes apps that are not created by trusted designers need permissions that are not necessary and may be unethical. If something looks funny, your best bet is to not download the app. That being said, most apps are safe to download and do not pose a threat to your digital security (Image 9)
Clicking the “Accept” button allows the download to proceed. The information box disappears and you are greeted with these next pages (Image 10)
The screen first shows a downloading screen with a bar that seems to be scrolling. If you decide in this time that you do not want the app anymore, press the “X” on the right side of the screen. The scrolling bar then turns into a growing progress bar (Image 11). Lastly, the bar disappears and yields two boxes: one that uninstalls the app and another that allows you to open the app and operate it (Image 12).
To search for another app, click the magnifying glass in the top-right corner of the screen. Or, if you would like to browse the market, press the back arrow in the top-left corner.
Now, you should know how to:
- access the Google Play Store
- browse through apps
- search for apps
- download apps on your Android device
Download this PDF file if you would like a printed version of this tutorial.