When Apple released its first iPhone, the device came without the App Store, as the company believed most third-party software should run through the built-in Safari browser. It didn’t take long for developers to build third-party app stores, such as Installer.app and Cydia, which weren’t under Apple’s control. Things have evolved since then, with the official App Store being the go-to marketplace for iPhone users looking to install an application.
On Android devices, users have been accustomed to fetching their favorite software using Android Market, now called Google Play. However, due to the popularity of the Android platform, plenty of devices don’t use Google Play Services, meaning they don’t ship with the Play Store preinstalled. This is the case of Amazon’s lineup of the best Fire Tablets and other devices where the manufacturer isn’t part of the Android Compatibility Program (ACP) or hasn’t agreed to the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement (DPA).
If that’s the case, your device probably shipped without Google’s services, including Chrome, Gmail, the Play Store, and other standard Google apps, despite running Android. If this is your case, installing and using the Play Store isn’t necessarily an easy task. It’s more complex than downloading and installing an APK file. It requires some fiddling, and it may not work on your device, which means you’ll try the installation process without any guarantee of success.
Still, it’s not impossible to achieve this, and with a bit of guidance, getting the Play Store up and running is within reach. We can’t guarantee these steps will work for every gadget. After all, there are thousands of devices with various versions of Android. Some devices, such as Huawei and Honor phones, require more complicated third-party workarounds. They may not always work as intended for everyone, but those options are available for anyone willing to try them.
Are you trying to install the Google Play Store on an Amazon Fire Tablet? Please use this dedicated guide, which has specific instructions for Amazon tablets.
Consider the alternatives
While Google’s services are straightforward to use, installing them on a device that hasn’t passed Google’s SafetyNet requirements can be a headache. This means some applications, like Google Pay, won’t work correctly or can’t be installed. Other strange issues could crop up, depending on which version of Android you run, but there’s no way to know what works until you try.
Because of this, there’s a risk that you may reach the end of this guide without an operational Play Store on your device. If you want to save time and possibly frustration, use other marketplaces as Google Play Store requirements, which are easier to install. You’ll find plenty of alternatives to the Google Play Store available online.
The Amazon Appstore as a Google Play Store replacement
Amazon has its own Android variant, Fire OS, which ships with the company’s tablets and phones. Since its devices ship without Google’s services preinstalled, the company developed its own marketplace for its Fire Tablets and Phone. It’s also available for any Android device without going through a complex setup process.
The Amazon Appstore offers an impressive number of games and apps without installing Google services. Most of your essential apps are found on the Amazon Appstore since developers want Fire OS users to download and use them seamlessly. However, some apps may not be available, such as Slack and Telegram, as well as all Google apps like Chrome and Gmail.
Still, consider trying the Amazon Appstore to see if you can find your favorite apps on it. If most of them are available, you can download the remaining ones manually instead of going through the painstaking process of installing Google’s Play Services.
F-Droid for open source apps
One more alternative app store is F-Droid. It’s composed of open source games and applications, so its selection is relatively minimal. Unlike the Amazon Appstore, you won’t find social apps like Twitter or Instagram. Still, it might have something specific you’re looking for, like a FOSS fork of Telegram. You can browse F-Droid’s library and download the app store from its official website.
Direct downloads from APK Mirror
If you can’t find your apps on an alternative store, it’s probably easy to download the applications you need via APK Mirror. It’s a repository of Android applications mirrored from the Google Play Store, created by Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii. Most Google apps require Google Play Services and other framework APKs to function without an issue, so even if you download them from APK Mirror, they may not work on your phone without installing Google Play Services.
We also don’t recommend installing paid apps using pirated or cracked APK downloads. You won’t find these on APK Mirror, but these links are common across the rest of the web. In most cases, you’re bound to set yourself up for trouble with malware or other dangerous files. Even if you aren’t, we recommend supporting developers, especially because small, independent teams usually create a large portion of paid apps.
How to install the Google Play Store on your device
If you’ve considered these but prefer to install the Google Play Store on your device, try the following instructions.
Enable installation from unknown sources
The first step in this process is activating apps to be installed from unknown sources if the option exists on your device. This allows you to open and install applications from downloaded APK files, which is how you’ll get the Google Play Store running. Check out the following steps to get started:
- Open the Settings app on your device.
- If there’s a search feature, enter unknown and look for an option for unknown apps or unknown sources. Depending on the device manufacturer, it may be called something else. For example, the latest Google Pixel smartphones identify this feature as Install unknown apps.
- If your Settings app doesn’t have a search function, the option should be located in the Privacy or the Apps & Notifications sections.
- Select the app that you want to allow the unknown sources setting. Because you likely don’t have the Play Store installed on your device, it’s probably not Chrome but a similar browser.
- Flip the switch to the on position for Allow from this source to activate the setting for that app.
Find your device information
The files needed to install the Google Play Store are based on your Android OS version and the device’s hardware platform. While this can usually be found in your device settings, it might list information about your specific software instead of the general OS. For example, Fire tablets only display the Fire OS version, not the core Android version. As such, you can use a third-party tool to find what you need to be used.
An app called Device Info HW does the job. It’s available via the Google Play Store, but since you don’t have that, you’ll grab it from APKMirror. Go to the app’s APKMirror page on your device, select the latest available version, and click the Download APK button. Once it’s done downloading, open it to install the APK file.
After Device Info HW is done installing, open it. Take note of the Android version on the General tab, switch to the SoC tab, and check what is listed next to ABI. It should be an architecture like arm64-v8a, x86, armeabi-v7a, or similar.
Regardless of your method, you should have two pieces of information: your Android version and CPU architecture. From here, you can install the Google Play Store on your device.
Download all the files required to install the Google Play Store
The next step involves downloading the proper APK files for the Play Store. If you installed Google software on an Amazon Fire Tablet, these steps should feel familiar. You’ll install four applications: Google Account Manager, Google Services Framework, Google Play Services, and the Google Play Store. The first three apps handle essential account services and APIs, while the last app is the store.
The Google Play Store files you’ll download in the section below must be installed directly onto that Android device. If you haven’t done so, open this article on your phone to make things easier. It can save a few steps instead of downloading and transferring those files from a computer to your phone.
Google Account Manager
If you have Android 7.1.2 or a newer version, go to the Google Account Manager 7.1.2 page and tap the main Download APK button. If you have something older than Android 7.1.2, check the list of app releases on APK Mirror here and pick the one with the version closest to your Android version. For example, if you have Android 6.0.1, download Google Account Manager 6.0.1. After downloading the APK file, do not open it. You’ll do that later.
Google Services Framework
This is mostly the same process as with the first app. Go to this APK Mirror page and select the version that closely matches your Android OS version. For example, if you have Android 8.1, choose Google Services Framework 8.1.0. After the APK file is done downloading, do not open it. You’ll do that later.
Google Play Services
This one is crucial, providing most of the behind-the-scenes functionality for the Google Play Store. At the same time, things can get tricky since different versions are available based on the Android OS and your hardware architecture. Go to the APK Mirror page for Google Play Services and select the latest release that isn’t marked beta.
While the APKs for the last two applications usually have one variant for each version, Google Play Services has multiple options based on various configurations. Here, you’ll find the combination that matches your Android OS version and hardware architecture. This is the information you checked out earlier.
For example, a Google Pixel running Android 10 uses the arm64-v8a architecture, so select the APK for Android 10+ and arm64-v8a + armeabi-v7a. The plus symbol means it works on both listed architectures. When you find the variant for your device, select it and download the APK. Again, don’t open it after downloading it because you’ll do that later.
Google Play Store
Google distributes the Play Store as a single variant that works on all architectures and Android versions, making things simple. Go to this page and download the latest stable version, avoiding any of the beta releases for now. After downloading the APK file, do not open it. Again, you’ll do that later.
Install all the files to get the Google Play Store up and running
Now comes the final step: installing the Play Store. Find the Downloads/Files app on your device and open it. If you don’t have a file manager, download the latest version of Files by Google from APKMirror and install it. If that app doesn’t work on your device, try Solid Explorer. In your file manager, you’ll see the four APK files. If not, go back and figure out which one you missed.
Open the apps in the below order, and when the installation is complete, tap Done and not Open. Installing the apps out of order causes the Google Play Store not to work. Also, if you have an SD card, remove it during these installations.
When all four apps are installed, reboot your device. If one of the applications didn’t install, it means you downloaded the wrong APK variant. In this case, double-check the CPU architecture and Android version. For example, if your device has the arm64-v8 architecture, download the variant for armv7a. Some low-end devices (like Amazon Fire tablets) have arm64 processors but run Android in 32-bit armv7 mode.
If you can open and sign in to the Play Store, congratulations! You did it. Now, you can download any Android app or game under the sun without worrying about your device being unsupported. If the Google Play Store isn’t working, or you get alerts about Play Services crashing, you might be out of luck. Diagnosing why Google’s software won’t run on every unsupported device is nearly impossible. If you want to start again, uninstall the four apps you downloaded using this guide and start again. Sometimes, it comes down to choosing the right software for your phone or tablet.
If every attempt fails, getting the Play Store functioning on your device may not be possible without more complicated steps like rooting or installing a custom ROM. For those who are forced to give up on their attempts, go to the All applications section of your Settings app and uninstall all four APKs to prevent further popups about crashing (and potential battery drain issues from Play Services constantly restarting).
Try your luck
If you prefer to play with your phone and install Google’s Play Service, you find yourself using a fully functioning device with the Play Store, as well as other Google apps like Gmail and Chrome. However, installing the Play Store may not necessarily succeed, and it may be hard to pinpoint what went wrong.
Pay attention to the platform, device, and software versions before downloading and installing the files. You can start over by removing the Google apps and services you installed and downloading them again by following the instructions carefully.
However, if the process still fails, you may be unable to run the Play Store and other Google services on your devices. If that’s your case, check out the alternatives section at the beginning of this guide for other options that might work for you. Or, use your favorite service’s website using your handset’s web browser, or consider buying one of the most affordable Android phones.