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HolidayBuyer's Guide
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How to download and install the Google Play store on any Android device

Picked up a phone that doesn't come with the Play store preinstalled or simply looking to manually install the latest version? Here's what you need to know.

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There are a lot of good deals out there for Android smartphones and tablets. While the flagship devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and Motorola all come with the Google Play store preinstalled, some lesser known devices, especially smaller ones from Asia, may not include the app store. You are usually left with an inadequate alternative store that doesn't include the big name apps (Facebook, Twitter, Gmail) you have come to know and love.

There's no need to worry, though. It's relatively easy to manually install the store on any supported Android device. The method outlined below can also be used by users who have the Play store already installed and are looking to manually update to the latest version. Unfortunately, this method won't work on Amazon devices.

Head to Settings, click Security, scroll down to Unknown Sources and toggle the switch to the on position. You will get a message warning you about the dangers of installing apps outside of Google Play. Don't take this lightly. You should be cautious when sideloading an application and only do so from a trusted site. You should never attempt to pirate a paid app. Not only is this illegal, but it could also lead to malware being installed on your device.

I like to use the site APKMirror.com, which is from the people behind the blog Android Police. Moderators for the site check every app to ensure that it's safe to use. On APKMirror, search for and download the latest version of the Google Play store (as of October 16 that is version 5.10.29)

The downloaded file will appear in the notifications pull-down menu at the top of your phone and in the Download folder in the app drawer. Click on the file in either location and install it. If you are unable to install the store, you may have to download the latest version of Google Play Services. You can find a list here, be sure to download the version that corresponds with the Android version you are running.