Accessing the Google Play Store- Beginners Guide


Updated: January 24, 2017

google-play-storeThe Google play store is a collection of Apps,books,videos and music etc which you can download and install on your android tablet/device.

To access the play store you will need the Google play store App installed on your device and a google account.

Most devices will have the play store App already installed, as a pre-installed/built in App, and it is a good idea to make sure that your device has it pre-installed before you buy it.

Device manufacturers need a licence from Google before they are allowed to pre-install the Google Play store App, and other Google Apps (e.g. Gmail) on their devices.

Apps submitted to the Google App store by developers are scanned for malware and viruses.

They are also manually screened and  approved before they become available to download from the store.

Therefore limiting your App downloads to the Google play store is probably the best way of staying secure.

Controlling Access to the Play Store

When your tablet is switched on it is automatically logged into your google play store account, and so any one with access to the device can browse the App store, and purchase Apps, books etc.

It is a good idea to implement restrictions, specifically if you let your kids use the device, or if the device is used by others.

Note: if you have purchased the device for your kids then you can get more control by installing a parental control App.

If you have multiple Google accounts configured on your tablet then you can use either account to access the play store.

Accessing The Play Store from Your Tablet

google-play-store

There is no real setup required before you access the Play store for the first time, provided you have already setup a Google account on the device.

Locate the play store App and  click the Google play icon to connect to the store.

If you have multiple accounts on your device you will connect to the store using the last account that you used to connect to the store.

Now press the menu icongoogle-play-menu

You should see the currently connected user at the top left.
google-play-accounts
Click on the small down arrow to show a list of available users and select the one you want to use.

google-play-accounts-change

You should see a settings option towards the bottom of the menu.

Press settings to configure access restrictions.

google-play-settings

You can:

  • Restrict App downloads with a password.- On by default
  • Restrict App and content downloads using parental controls.- Off by default.

See the Google support article for more details on parental controls.

Note: Restrictions apply to the particular Google account and device.

Installing Apps From Other Stores

There are many other App stores like Amazon that are available for obtaining android Apps.

Because of the security risks involved in installing Apps from unknown sources you should always use an App Store that you trust.

The Google play store App is an application that lets you browse the Google Play store and download, install and Update Apps.

Amazon provides a similar App for accessing the Amazon App store.

The problem is you can’t get the Amazon Store App from the Google App store, and so you need to install in manually using the apk files. See installing Amazon App store App on Android.

An Apk file is the android equivalent of a .exe file on windows. If you click on an apk file it installs an application.

If you want to use other App stores then you will normally download the apk files and then do a manual install.

Accessing The play store from your PC.

You can login to the play store using a web browser on your PC and review your play store settings.

The main things you can do here is

  • Add and remove payment options and  review past purchases.
  • View all devices associated with that Google Account
  •  Access to the Android device Manager

To view a list of associated devices go to the settings icon in the top right corner and press Settings from the drop down list.

Google-play-store-settings-browser

If you click on settings you can see all registered devices, and when they last accessed the store using the current Google account. (click image to enlarge)

Google-play-settings-devices

You can hide them from the device manager using the visibility check box.

To access the android device manager go to the settings icon in the top right corner and press android device manager from the drop down list.

Note: to use the Android device manager with a device it must be enabled on the device. See setup device manager.

Paying For Apps,Books and Movies

Google support a variety of payment options from credit/debit cards to gift cards.

If you are worried about security and want more control over your purchases then you might want to look at using  gift cards to yourself.

Common Questions and Answers

Q– Is it safe to download free android apps from sites other than play store?

A- No it isn’t as safe but if you use a well know store like Amazon then you should be OK. If you need to download and install an APK file then you should be very careful.


Q- Do I need to register a payment method to use the Google Play store to download free Apps?
A- No


Q- I’ve deleted the Google Play store App by mistake can I re-install it?
A- Yes you will need to get the .apk file and install it manually. There is a download file available from android police here.

Q- Can I access the play store from my PC?

A- Yes and I find this is the easiest way of managing settings but you can’t install Apps this way.

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