How to install apps from the Play Store on an Android smartphone or tablet

Ever since Android first saw the light of day, apps have ruled the smartphone ecosystem. Nowadays, almost everything is an app that does something useful. Whether you know it or not, you use apps for the most basic things you do every day. You have a browser for browsing the web, an email client for your messaging needs, the Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn app to check for the latest updates from your friends or coworkers, the Instagram app to post a photo or see your peers' photos. The Settings in your phone are held together in an app and an app operates your smartphone's photo camera. A smartphone or tablet without apps would be like a tree without leaves. How do you install the apps you need on your Android device? In this article, we will teach you how to find the apps you need and install them on your Android powered device:

NOTE: For writing this tutorial, we used a Motorola Nexus 6 smartphone running Android 7.0 Marshmallow. The procedure is similar on all Android powered devices, so you should be good to go even if you are running a different version of Android on your device.

How to install apps from the Play Store on an Android device

For its Android operating system, Google created an app market called the Play Store. For you, as an Android user, to install a Google-approved app onto your Android device, you need to go through the Play Store. But, you will not be able to use the Google Play Store without first connecting to a Google Account on your Android smartphone or tablet. To find out how to connect your Google Account to your Android device, read this guide: How to set up your Google account on an Android device.

How to find the app that you want to install, in the Play Store

To be able to use the Play Store, you need to open it. First, tap on the Apps icon from the bottom of your home screen.

Scroll through your list of apps until you find the Play Store app. Tap on its name to open it.

This is the Google Play Store that you use to find all the apps approved by Google, free or paid, categorized and labeled accordingly. When a developer submits an app to the Play Store, Google asks for a minimum Android version requirement and some system requirements needed for the device to be able to run the app. If your Android smartphone or tablet does not meet the minimum requirements of an app, the Play Store will not even show the app to you, since you are not able to run it anyway.

Otherwise, you can browse the sections freely, check the Editor Picks, see the Top Charts in any category of apps and browse the latest games, music or books. By default, the Play Store looks like this:

For the purpose of this tutorial, we show you the steps you need to take to install the Skype app. In doing this, we will teach you how to search for the app, view its details and install it onto your Android device. First, you have to search for the app, so tap on the "Search Google Play" field on the top, and then enter the app's name. In our case, that is Skype. On your device, tap the name of the app that interests you.

Immediately after you type the app's name into the search field, the system starts searching through the available apps. If the app you are looking for is found, it shows up in the search results dropdown list with its icon.

If found, you should see a screen similar to the one in the next screenshot. When you locate the app you are looking for, the Play Store gives you two options: to Install it directly or to see More Info about it. Although you can go for a direct install, we recommend you first check the app's additional information, so that you know more about what you are about to install on your device.

What is there to be found on an app's page in the Google Play Store?

Every app has a page inside the Play Store, where you can check all its details like the description, screenshots, technical requirements, user reviews and similar apps. If you are looking for more information, you can tap on the Read more link below the short descriptive text of the app.

The Read more button opens a new screen, which is usually filled with information about the app's features and latest improvements. This information is controlled by the app's developer and is usually the best way to see what's new within the app.

When you are finished with reading the description, you can scroll down and check other information such as, but not limited to:

  • The PEGI rating of the app, an excellent indicator of the suitability of the app's content regarding protection of minors. For instance, PEGI 3 rating is considered suitable for all age groups, PEGI 7 is OK for age 7 and upwards, PEGI 12 for age 12, and upwards, PEGI 16 is recommended for age 16 and higher, and PEGI 18 is classified as anything with adult content.
  • The Play Store top category in which the app has found its way in. Skype, for instance, is part of the Editor's Choice category.
  • Whether the app displays advertisements.
  • If the app is optimized for use on other Android platforms, such as with Android Wear, you will see a notification about it.
  • Right at the bottom of the screen, you can also see the Version of the app, the date on which it was updated, the number of times it was downloaded by other Android users, the download size of the app, who develops it, and the developer's e-mail and sometimes physical address.

Once you are satisfied with the information you learned about the app, you can return to the app page by tapping the Back button of your device or the X (Close) button from the top-left corner of the screen.

On the app's page, if you scroll down, you can find another batch of useful information. First, there should be at least a couple of screenshots taken in the app, to get a better idea of what its user interface looks like.

Then, you can see the ratings other Android users gave to the app, and you can also rate the app yourself if you want to. However, before doing that, you should use the app at hand and get an idea about its quality.

Next, on the app's page, Play Store also recommends other apps from the same developer, other Similar apps from other developers and apps that are Recommended for You by Google's algorithms.

Finally, at the end of your patient scrolling, you get access to a couple of useful links that let you visit the developer's website, contact it via e-mail, check its privacy policy, see the app's permission details and so on.

On the next page of this tutorial, you can see the final steps for how to install an app from the Play Store. Click or tap on the second page to continue reading.