How to download apps on Android without Google Play

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Since almost all Android smartphones and tablets have Google Play installed by default, which has a library for downloading apps for different tastes, you probably rarely have a situation where you can not find something specific for yourself. But the world is a big place, and there are even more apps in it, and Google Play cannot have them all. And so we have to look for a way to install the app without Google Play.

And if you have a conflict or a regional restriction for downloading a particular app, it’s not a problem, because Android is not just famous for its flexibility – you can always find a workaround. One of them is simply to download the app outside of Google Play.

Why Google Play is the best app store

See, Google Play (Play Store) is the equivalent of Apple’s App Store. That is the app store. Of course, it turns out that you can buy not only software, but also movies, music, books, audiobooks, and subscriptions to various services, but by and large this doesn’t change the essence. No matter how you look at it, Google Play is a content store, where only digital goods are sold. You can’t touch them, but they often cost quite a bit of money, especially if we take as an example apps, which you can buy for $400.

Google Play offers everything you need for work and entertainment. The search giant is trying to make the app store safer and is constantly updating the interface and capabilities of the service. Many smartphone manufacturers, of course, are trying to reduce their dependence on the store, but it’s very difficult to imagine a smartphone without Google Play.

Google Play is famous for its diversity because unlike App Store, it’s easier to promote your program there if you want to create a mobile app yourself and popularize it. And because of this, Google Play excels in its versatility and accessibility. However, not all apps can be downloaded through Google Play. In such cases, you can try alternatives.

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Are there alternatives to Google Play

Even with a very extensive database of apps and games, Google Play has a few limitations. In some cases, you may not find the program you’re looking for because of regional restrictions, device compatibility, or if the app hasn’t passed the approval stage. In addition, it should be noted that placement on the Play Store takes a significant amount of time to meet all the parameters of the search giant. So here are some of the Google Play analogs that can help you find the right app.

Aptoide. Aptoide offers a Google Play-like user interface for downloading and installing apps. It’s an open-source app store and it currently has over 150 million users worldwide. Aptoide even has apps that can’t be found on the Play Store thanks to its freer placement rules. The interface offers detailed app descriptions and user reviews. And the developers say that “app updates appear here faster than on Google Play.”

APK Pure. APK Pure is also a website with free (for the most part) programs that are, however, also available on Google Play. You can download and install region-locked and multi-language apps, which you can no longer find on Google’s store. So it’s a pretty interesting place to check out.

There are many more similar stores, but we pointed out a couple of the most popular and you only have to choose. Although if you have a plan to find an app that is definitely not in these stores, it’s worth moving on to another method.

Is there an option to download apps without any app store

The fastest and easiest way is to directly download the APK file of the app you want to install on your phone. There are several good sites such as APKmirror.com, APKPure.com, Uptodown, and more. You can directly visit these APK download sites to get the latest versions of various apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and others.

Indeed, APKs can be easily downloaded and installed on your smartphone. Before doing so, however, you must first allow your Android smartphone or tablet to install third-party apps that aren’t in the Play Store. On different Android phones, the location of these settings may vary, but they are usually under “Security”.

  • Go to Settings.
  • Open the “Privacy protection” section. On other devices, this section may just be called “Security“.
  • Select “Special permissions“.
  • Check the “Unknown sources” box as shown below.

You’ll then be able to install the APK files downloaded without the help of Google Play. When you try to install the app, a window will most likely pop up with choices: allow only this installation or allow the installation of such apps by default.

How to download apps from Google Play via VPN

If your reason for not being able to download the Google Play app is the region, you can try a VPN. This method allows you to bypass only the regional restrictions set by the developers. But it’s the most convenient and safe for this task. It’s very convenient, especially if you have a subscription to a streaming service (such as Hulu) that has regional restrictions.

Thanks to the VPN Google Play will consider that you’re in another country. As a result, the service will open access to the desired app. The most popular VPN services are such as:

  • NordVPN – Best Privacy Features
  • Surfshark – Best App Performance
  • Private Internet Access VPN – Best Value Android VPN
  • ExpressVPN – Best Encryption
  • IPVanish – Fastest VPN for Android
  • CyberGhost – Best Android VPN for Netflix
  • TunnelBear – Best Free Android VPN

To download a program that isn’t available in your region, install the Android version of any VPN. Run it and connect to the server of another country. It’s best to choose the countries of Europe and the U.S., as almost all apps are available there. After that, go to Google Play and download the program in the usual way.

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What risks there may be

The ability to install APK files from unknown sources is disabled by default. And there’s a reason for that: it’s not safe to download APK files from the Internet and install them on your phone. In that case, it’s strange to write a guide about how to install apps without the help of Google Play. But if you download apps from sources you trust, that makes a difference.

If you have an antivirus installed on your app, you have extra protection because it will scan the app before installing it. But the effectiveness of anti-viruses is still debatable because most smartphones already come with minimal anti-virus protection and even more so, are designed so that you’ll not use third-party apps which have not been verified by Google Play.

If you allow apps from unknown sources to be installed by default, you open a loophole for malicious programs to download other dangerous software in the background. If you disable this option and allow apps to be installed individually, you reduce the risk.

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