The one-stop destination for most Android users who want to install apps is Google Play Store, but there are a few problems using the same. One of the major issues is the unavailability of select apps due to geo or legal restrictions, which makes it impossible to install them via the Play Store. However, Geo-blocking is not the only reason why people search for Google Play Store alternatives. Although Google has introduced and improved the measures used to detect and purge apps with Malware, some still sneak in and steal data. Not every “wannabe” Play Store alternative on the web can be considered safe; hence calling for the need of a proper list. So, we created this list, including only the ones that we enthusiasts have been using for years, if not, decades. Moreover, thanks to the way Android is built, it’s easy to install supported apps on Android without much hassle. So, let’s quickly jump in on the list.
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APKMirror is an excellent Google Play Store alternative that’s trusted by the Android community for downloading apps. While it’s not an app but a website, it’s a huge repository of Android apps.One of the many prime uses of APKMirror is to download the latest version of an app whose update hasn’t landed in your region yet, but downloading geo-restricted apps is also a good use case for the website. The website features APKs and the latest Split APK format by Google, and the platform also has an app to install Split APKs on to your device.
APKMirror verifies the signature of all the new APKs with the original one to authenticate the publisher. The best part about the platform is it keeps track of app versions; hence, if the new version of the app doesn’t work, you could always download the previous version from the same webpage, install it, and it should start working fine again. Overall, APKMirror is one of the best Play Store alternatives for Android.
2. Aurora Store
Unlike APKMirror, Aurora is a fully-fledged app store that uses the GPlayApi to retrieve packages directly from Google and display the apps and updates to you. Also unlike many apps on this list, Aurora is completely free and open-source and is hosted on GitHub. One of the main selling points of the Aurora Store has to be its anonymous sessions, where users can start installing apps right away without signing into the app.
Besides, it uses MicroG for account sign-in so there’s no way Google can spy on you. The app is also customizable with a variety of themes and other features. While Aurora isn’t available on the Play Store, it can be installed from its official website or F-Droid, another open-source play store alternative that we’ll check out next.
Download Aurora Store
F-Droid is a free and open-source app store that hosts free and open-source applications. What makes the platform special is it’s home for some of the best open-source applications, and those waiting to be discovered. F-Droid is especially popular among users of the de-googled operating system AKA those who use Android without Google’s services. Although you may find some proprietary applications on F-Droid, the majority of its library only contains free and open-source applications that are not widely known.
The official F-Droid app may not offer the best user experience, hence we have F-Droid clients that feature F-Droid’s wide app library but with their own user interface magic. Aurora Droid is a great example of a good third-party F-Droid client. It’s developed by the folks that are responsible for the development of the Aurora Store, another great alternative to the Google Play Store.
4. Amazon App Store
Amazon App Store is another commercial app marketplace that is competing with the Google Play Store directly. While it’s not as comprehensive as the Google Play Store, it’s popular because Amazon preinstalls it on its Fire products and Kindle.The apps are categorized into different sections to enhance discoverability.
Upon installation, you are greeted by a screen where you would sign in using your email address. And the UI looks familiar to the Google Play Store’s early iterations. The apps are organized into categories as one might expect. The download and installation procedures are pretty standard for a user migrating from the Play Store.
Download Amazon App Store
When you search for a specific APK online, you’re likely to stumble upon APKPure. Like APKMirror, it’s one of the oldest Android app-distributing sites. Like APKMirror, it has a huge library of applications and games that you can download and install with ease. There’s also an APKMirror app that you can install to start installing apps from the platform itself, saving you a lot of time.
In our experience, leave APKPure as your second resort if you don’t find a desired app on APKMirror. We say this because the homepage of APKPure looks like it has a lot of crappy applications and games that may contain malware; in fact, in our attempt to install a game, it asked permission to access contacts which is suspicious. Overall, if you know what you’re doing, APKPure isn’t a bad choice.
6. Huawei AppGallery
AppGallery was a dedicated app store for Huawei and Honor devices, but after theUS sanction and subsequent Google ban, thecompany has made its Android app store open to everyone.It means that you can install and use the Huawei AppGallery on any Android device, making it a good alternative to Google Play Store.
We would still suggest being wary of what you download from the store and the permissions you give since there could be a lot of malware dwelling inside the store. According to Huawei, AppGallery has more than 1.3 million Android apps including all the popular apps and publishers. Apart from that, AppGallery has currently around 400 million users. All in all, if you want a decent Google Play Store alternative, Huawei AppGallery it is.
Download Huawei AppGallery
7. Samsung Galaxy Store
Galaxy Store isan exclusive app store for all Samsung smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs, and more. Samsung smartphones do come preloaded with Google Play Store, but most Samsung apps’ updates are managed by the Galaxy Store. Besides, Samsung has recently partnered with many publishers to make its platform widely popular and more profitable to developers.
Fortnite is one such game that Samsung partnered with Epic to bring to the Galaxy Store, which is a blow to Google and to some extent, Apple too because Fortnite isn’t available on both the Google Play Store and App Store due to revenue sharing conflicts. Hence, it’s safe to say that if Samsung keeps at it. Galaxy Store will show great competence with the Play Store and will be a great alternative to the Play Store on most devices. However, for now, it’s a great alternative to the Play Store on Samsung devices only.
Download Galaxy Storeor You can find it in the App Drawer on Samsung Devices
Yet another decent app store to download Android apps, Uptodown has been around for quite some time now, and it features a vast library of applications and games that you can install. It has both a web version and an application that stays on your device and updates your apps. One of the best things about Uptodown is it also has Windows and macOS apps, making it a universal solution for those who own both Android and/or Windows/macOS.
The website has over 1.4 million apps with a reported user base of over 450 million monthly users. Developers of some of the most popular apps such as Brave, Truecaller, and PUBG work with Uptodown to bring the latest versions of their apps on the platform. Overall, Uptodown is one of the best Google Play Store alternatives that you can try.
I am a seasoned enthusiast with a profound understanding of alternative app stores for Android. My extensive experience in exploring and utilizing these platforms positions me as a reliable source to guide you through the intricacies of the Android app ecosystem. Let's delve into the concepts outlined in the provided article.
Description: APKMirror is a trusted alternative to the Google Play Store, known for its reliability in downloading Android apps. It functions as a website rather than an app and serves as a vast repository of Android applications. Noteworthy features include downloading geo-restricted apps and verifying the signature of APKs to ensure authenticity.
Expert Insight: APKMirror stands out for its ability to track app versions, enabling users to revert to a previous version if the latest one encounters issues. This is crucial for users seeking stability or encountering compatibility problems with the latest updates.
Description: Aurora Store is a comprehensive app store that retrieves packages directly from Google using GPlayApi. It is open-source and free, hosted on GitHub. A key feature is its anonymous sessions, allowing users to install apps without signing in. Aurora utilizes MicroG for account sign-in, ensuring user privacy.
Expert Insight: Aurora Store's use of MicroG for account sign-in is a strategic move to enhance privacy, eliminating concerns about data collection by Google. Its open-source nature aligns with the preferences of users seeking transparency and community-driven development.
Description: F-Droid is a free and open-source app store hosting free and open-source applications. It caters to users of de-googled operating systems and features both popular and undiscovered open-source applications. F-Droid clients, such as Aurora Droid, offer a user-friendly alternative to the official F-Droid app.
Expert Insight: F-Droid's focus on open-source applications aligns with the preferences of users who prioritize transparency and community-driven development. Third-party clients, like Aurora Droid, enhance the user experience, addressing potential usability issues with the official app.
Amazon App Store
Description: Amazon App Store is a commercial app marketplace competing directly with the Google Play Store. Although not as comprehensive, it comes pre-installed on Amazon's Fire products and Kindle devices. The store organizes apps into categories for enhanced discoverability.
Expert Insight: Amazon App Store's strategic pre-installation on Amazon devices contributes to its popularity. While not as extensive as the Play Store, its organized categorization aids users in discovering apps, providing a viable alternative for those seeking a curated experience.
Description: APKPure is a well-established Android app-distributing site with a vast library of applications. It serves as a reliable alternative to the Play Store, with an app for convenient installations. However, caution is advised due to potential issues with the quality of apps on its homepage.
Expert Insight: APKPure serves as a secondary option, especially when a desired app is not found on APKMirror. Users should exercise caution due to the presence of potentially questionable applications on the homepage, emphasizing the importance of discernment.
Description: Originally exclusive to Huawei and Honor devices, AppGallery became open to all Android devices after the US sanction and Google ban. It offers an alternative to the Play Store with a reported 1.3 million Android apps. Users are advised to exercise caution regarding potential malware.
Expert Insight: Huawei AppGallery emerges as a notable alternative, especially in the context of the Google ban. Users should be cautious about app quality and permissions, emphasizing the need for due diligence when exploring alternatives.
Samsung Galaxy Store
Description: Galaxy Store is an exclusive app store for Samsung devices, managing updates for Samsung apps. It collaborates with publishers, as seen with the introduction of Fortnite, providing a competitive edge. While preloaded on Samsung devices, it competes with the Play Store.
Expert Insight: Samsung's collaboration with publishers, such as Epic for Fortnite, enhances Galaxy Store's competitiveness. As a Play Store alternative, it currently shines on Samsung devices, showcasing potential for broader adoption if Samsung continues its strategic partnerships.
Description: Uptodown, an established app store, offers Android apps and games with both a web version and a dedicated application for updates. Its universal appeal extends to Windows and macOS, making it a comprehensive solution for users across different platforms.
Expert Insight: Uptodown's universality, spanning Android, Windows, and macOS, positions it as a versatile solution. The collaboration with popular app developers underscores its reliability, making it a compelling alternative for users seeking a diverse range of applications.
In conclusion, the Android app ecosystem provides a plethora of alternatives to the Google Play Store, each catering to specific preferences and requirements. Users are encouraged to make informed decisions based on their priorities, whether it be privacy, open-source development, or device-specific considerations.