The Google Play Store gets frequent updates, which is great news. The not-so-great news is that it can take weeks, or for some people even longer, to get the latest iteration. The basic functionality never changes so being stuck on an older version isn’t all that bad. However, we understand the urge to get the latest and greatest version on your device.
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Looking to update Google Play Store on your device? Here’s how.
Step 1: Check your current version
The first thing you’ll want to do is see which version you have to make sure you’re downloading Google Play Store’s latest version.
This can be done as follows:
Open your Google Play Store app.
Open the settings.
At the bottom, you’ll see “Build number.” That’s your current version.
At the time of this writing, the latest version is Play Store 12.1.18. Keep in mind before attempting to update that you are sure your version of Android is compatible with the latest store version, though this shouldn’t really be a problem unless you are rocking a super ancient version of Android like Gingerbread — if that’s the case, time to replace your phone!
Step 2: Download Google Play Store via an APK
It’s a pretty self-explanatory step. The Google Play Store comes in APK format like any other Android app. Here are some tips for this step:
Only download Google Play Store APKs from trusted sources (the big Android blogs, tech blogs, trusted people on social media, etc). If you download from untrustworthy sources then they may have tampered with the APK which is bad news. You’ll want an APK that is signed by Google and most trusted websites will only upload a copy that hasn’t been tampered with.
You can download it on your device or your computer. Make sure you transfer the APK to your device to somewhere you’ll remember if you downloaded it on your computer.
At the time of this writing, you can download the Google Play Store with the latest version (12.x) from APKMirror. APKMirror also provides the option to follow and keep a track of Play Store version updates so you can always have the latest iteration.
Step 3: Enable Unknown Sources in the settings
The Unknown Sources setting has been a part of Android for ages. When disabled, it prevents users (and other apps) from installing applications from anywhere aside from the Google Play Store. It’s a security measure that is in place by default and you’ll have to enable the setting in order to install an APK.
Enter your device settings.
Go to “Security”.
Find the Unknown Sources option and check the box. A warning will pop up which you should definitely read. Once done, hit “OK” and this will enable you to install APKs from Unknown Sources.
If Unknown Sources isn’t in the Security settings, try finding it in the Privacy settings or Application (Apps) settings.
Step 4: Use a file manager and install the Google Play Store
Now that we’re all set to go it’s time to install this thing. Use your favorite file browser. For those who may not have one, we recommend ES File Explorer.
Open your file browser and navigate to wherever you downloaded the Google Play Store APK. If you downloaded it on your device then it will be on your SD card in the Downloads folder.
Once you find the APK, click on it. There may be a box that pops up depending on the apps you have installed on your device asking which app you want to use. If this is the case, click “Package Installer”.
On the next screen, read over any permission changes (there usually aren’t any) and then click install. When it’s finished, the latest Google Play Store will be installed on your device.
Hey you did it! Wait, there is still one more step!
Step 5: Disable Unknown Sources
Leaving the Unknown Sources box checked is a major security hole that can cause problems down the road. The best way to keep yourself safe is to go back and turn that off!
Go back into your device settings.
Go back into the Security settings, Privacy settings, or Application settings (wherever you found it last time).
Uncheck the box. This will prevent everything (except the Play Store) from installing apps. You can always re-check the box later if you need to do this again.
That’s all she wrote, folks!