These days, most Android devices come preloaded with the Google Play Store installed and ready to be used. That gives users access to millions of apps and games — the vast majority are available as a free download — by logging in with their Gmail account. Still, there will always be a handful of popular gadgets that bypass Google Play Services. Whether it's Amazon's lineup of the best Fire Tablets or a random Android tablet you found through a deals site, finding out a device you were excited about lacks the Play Store can be a real headache.
If you've run into this situation, getting the Play Store up and running is trickier than just downloading and installing an APK file. Combined with the variables that can challenge you every step of the way, getting Google apps onto an Android device that doesn't include them can seem difficult.
However, it's not impossible, and with a bit of guidance, getting the Play Store up and running is easy to accomplish. We can't guarantee these steps will work for every gadget out there. After all, there are thousands of devices with various versions of Android to account for. And 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's tablets.
First, consider the alternatives
Let's start by breaking down a couple of the headaches you could run into through this process. Devices that don't have the Google Play Store preinstalled won't pass Google's SafetyNet checks. This means some applications, like Google Pay, don't work correctly or can't be installed. Other strange issues could crop up, depending on which version of Android you're running, 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 yourself some time, and possibly frustration, we have a few workarounds that you should try first. After all, you'll find plenty of alternatives to the Google Play Store available online.
The Amazon Appstore as a Google Play Store replacement
The best alternative to the Google Play Store that generally works on all devices is the Amazon Appstore. It offers a healthy selection of the same big-name games and apps as the Play Store without needing Google services. Social mainstays like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are available through the Appstore. Still, a quick browse through the store revealed that a couple of daily driver apps, including messaging clients like Slack and Telegram, weren't accessible. More importantly, you won't find any Google apps like Chrome or Gmail in the store.
Still, this is an easy way around the frustration that trying to get Google Play Services up and running can bring. If you'd rather avoid those headaches and can live with the shortcomings Amazon's platform brings, download the Appstore.
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 only need a handful of apps, and automatic updates aren't super important, it might be possible 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. Keep in mind that most Google apps require Google Play Services and other framework APKs to function without an issue.
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, you can try your luck with the following instructions.
Enable installation from unknown sources
The first step in this process is enabling 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 enable 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.2 Images
- Flip the switch to the on position for Allow from this source to enable the setting for that specific 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 their core Android version. As such, you can quickly 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 press 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've ever 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.
All the Google Play Store files you'll need to download in the section below must be installed directly onto that Android device. If you haven't done so already, you'll want to pull up 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 page for Google Account Manager 7.1.2 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 — the information you checked out earlier.
For example, a Google Pixel running Android 10 uses the arm64-v8a architecture, so you'd pick the APK for Android 10+ and arm64-v8a + armeabi-v7a. The plus symbol means it works on both listed architectures. Once you find the variant for your device, select it and download the APK. Again, don't open it after you've downloaded 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 super simple. You can 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 should 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, press 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.
Once all four apps are installed, reboot your device. If one of the applications didn't install, it means you probably 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 isn't running 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 making sure you chose 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).
The Google Play Store may not work with every single device
Spending time trying to get something to work and not getting the results you want isn't fun. But the Play Store only sometimes works on devices that aren't rooted or modded in some way. We recommend checking out the alternatives section at the beginning of this guide for other options that might work for you. And while not every application has a web version, mobile sites are better than ever, with options for email, social media, and more available through your browser.