If you're an Android user then the Google Play store is probably going to be your app store of choice. But with so many apps available, searching through them all can be a little overwhelming. Since Google Play is (obviously) a Google product though, it should come as no surprise that there's a fairly hefty search function in the Play Store. If you know what you're doing, then getting everything you need shouldn't be a problem. We're taking a look at the best Google Play store tips and tricks, so that you'll always find what you need.
If you really like a certain app, then you might be interested in the other apps that the same developer has made. Finding this info isn't always easy, unless you know the right search terms. Go into the Play store then in the search bar type “pub: developer name.” For example, if you're a big fan of Candy Crush, then you might be interested in other games made by the developer King, so you'd search for “pub: King” (without the quotation marks). Easy peasy.
Get the Right Reviews
Many of us will look at reviews before buying or downloading an app, which is a pretty smart thing to do. However, this can backfire when you realise that you're looking at reviews for the entire history of that app. Since apps are updated and change often, it makes way more sense to read only reviews of the current app version. This stops you downloading something that's buggy or that won't work with your device.
Sorting reviews by app version is actually quite easy. Go to the app page you're interested in at the Play store, roll down to the “read all reviews” section and hit it, then once the reviews are open hit the “options” button at the top right then toggle on “latest version only.” That way you'll only get relevant reviews.
Skip the Home Screen Shortcut
Generally, when you download an app from the Play store Google automatically creates a new icon on your home screen. But if you're a minimalist and have a neat and clean home page, or maybe if you'd prefer that others don't know which apps you're downloading, then you can stop this happening.
Open the Google Play store, hit the menu button, then hit “settings.” Go to the general tab and uncheck the option that says “add icon to home screen.” Your apps will download to your app drawer, but won't appear on your home screen.
Get a Refund
Google actually has a great refund policy. This means that if you don't like an app you can get your money back (you don't need any other reason than that), and also that you can download and test something without making a big commitment. If you're shopping through the Play store app you have two hours to get your money back (you get 48 hours if you use Google Play on the web).
To get a refund within that two hour window open up Google Play store on your mobile, hit the menu icon (three lines at the top left) and then hit “account” and then “order history.” All you need to do now is find the app you want refunded on the list that appears and hit “refund.” Clean and simple. Just make sure that you keep to that two hour limit, since refunds after this get a lot more complicated…
Stop App Updates
Some apps update all the time, which can be pretty annoying. Perhaps you prefer an older app version, or maybe you just don't want to be constantly updated when it doesn't seem necessary. Disabling updates is simple and can be done on an app by app basis.
Open the Play store, head to the page for the app in question, then hit the menu button at the top right. All you need to do is uncheck the box next to “auto-update.” And you're done.
Make a Wishlist
Just like with most online stores you can make a wishlist at the Play store, either so other people know what gifts to buy you, or so that you can come back later and buy an app. Simply go to the Google Play Store page for the app you're interested in then hit the icon with the plus sign at the top to add that app to your wishlist. You can check out your wishlist any time by hitting the menu button in the Play store and choosing “wishlist.”
Maybe you've got a new phone, or perhaps you've just had to factory reset an old one, but getting all those apps back can be a pain. With Google Play store though, things are easier than you might think. The store keeps track of every app you've ever bought or downloaded for free. Just open up the Play store on your empty phone, hit the menu button, hit “my apps and games” and slide over to “library” and you'll get your whole list. All you need to do is hit “install” next to the apps you'd like to reinstall.
Stop Others Downloading
You can lock down your Play store account so that others can't download apps at all using your version of the Play store. This is pretty handy if you have kids that might get hold of your phone. The process is simple if you have a fingerprint scanner on your phone. Open the Play store, hit the menu button, go to “settings” then “user controls” and then “fingerprint authentication.” Now only your fingerprint will release a download.
If you don't have a fingerprint scanner, don't worry. Open the Play store, hit the menu button, then “settings,” “user controls,” and finally “parental controls.” Toggle parental controls on and enter a PIN number and now only that PIN will allow the device to download an app.
The Google Play store is packed full of great apps and useful settings. Now you know how to better use the store, your app shopping should be easier than ever!