Google Play

Installing Android apps to your phone or tablet from any computer with a web browser

Google is one of the biggest web service companies around. Their cloud-based apps and services can do some pretty wild and wonderful things, and we're about to look at one of them -- installing apps to your Android device remotely through the Google Play website.

All the complicated issues, like making sure apps are compatible and available for you, or keeping track of which device(s) you're currently using are done by Google behind-the-scenes, leaving us with just a few clicks needed to make some serious magic happen. All you need is an Android device registered with Google Play, and a computer with a modern web browser.

There's a complete video walkthrough of the process after the break, but we'll spend a few minutes and talk about it as well. This is the way I install almost all my apps, because I only have to find them once and can install them to any device I may have in service. It goes a little something like this.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

Android appsPoint your browser at the Google Play website, and and choose Android apps from the "Shop" drop down in the upper left corner. You're whisked to the Android app store, where you'll find a slew of apps ready and waiting for you to install to your Android device. Finding the right app (the hardest part of the process sometimes) is up to you, but you'll notice plenty of blocks of featured apps, as well as a category list. Once you find the app you need to install, you're almost done!

On the apps page, near the left margin, click the Install button. You're presented with some information about the app you chose to install -- including those important app permissions -- and a drop down to select which device to install it to. If you only have one Android device you're all set, but if you have more than one just choose the right one from the list. Once that's done, click the continue button. If it's a paid app you'll be presented with payment options, and it will walk you through the process. 

Install me!

Afterwards, all that's left is to grab your Android device and enjoy your newly installed app!

There are 33 comments

Ikeman90 says:

FIRST! no really tho. i thought this was common knowledge. well *the more you know*

I think this is tailored towards new Android users or iPhone converts.

Though, with just 1 gmail ID, we can manage all our devices from the web.

Kvoth says:

Then it's even worse, because the US website is different to most other countries. Noobs will just be confused by this, unless they're american Noobs.
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TheDu9du says:

Next Week:

"how to turn on and off your android"

JasW says:

Followed by "How to charge your Android with a common wall socket."

still1 says:

You must know that there are some noobs out there who don't know how to turn off their smart phone. I would say it would be useful for them

Zach24LA says:

This is a feature that iOS users never had as an option. If the Android market hopes to continue its race to domination, it must continue to work on educating its new users.

Good article, not for powerusers, but i don't believe it was intended to be.


Actually, you're incorrect sir. IOS does have that ability through the app market. I've done with me previous IPhone 4 many times. And they can add an app to multiple devices at one time.

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Delph says:

Apple has a online store to buy apps to remotely send to your phone? Link?

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hodan says:

Hey your email is on the pic. Also, beware the FF's probably like 30% of your free space...

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wollewotz says:

Can I also install an app on multiple devices at once?

patruns says:

No, one at a time.

S-Doo-1965 says:

Works for updating apps to. Click on my Android Apps to the right. Each device you have active is across the top to the screen. Click it and apps needing update show up first. Mash the update button. Bang. Your device will be all set when you next pick it up.

Kvoth says:

Huh... That extremely useful functionality disappeared ages ago for me, when they revamped the website for increased eye-candy.

Must be US-only now, like everything Google does these days :(

I can't even see my currently installed apps, instead it's a mega list of every app I've ever installed. It's rubbish.

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This kind of gets at a topic that I was going to pose a question somewhere on......while this is an AWESOME feature and I've used it many times over the past few years......does anyone know WHY I would have multiple listings for the SAME device in my list of devices?!? I currently have a GNEX and I could swear last time I saw my listing (I can't pull it up currently since my employer has now started blocking the Play Store for some reason...).....but it seems like there were at least 3 listings for my GNEX......and I've never (knock on wood) had to have the phone replaced in the nearly two years I've had it....

Anyone know what causes this?

bigsam411 says:

It is mostly likely cause by flashing multiple Roms on one device.

Except that I've never flashed any ROMs on my GNEX.

neillee1 says:

(I can't pull it up currently since my employer has now started blocking the Play Store for some reason... butt i found it here ..duℬ40. ℭℴℳ

ash71ish says:

Can someone tell me how wishlist works in google play website?

Gearu says:

Don't you still have to accept the prompt on the phone?

Also Google, I'LL DECIDE what apps are compatible and available for my phone.

artlu629 says:

The instructions were not specific enough. My scrotum got shock by the outlet.

Posted from my Nexus 4 via Android Central App

Ishaan Verma says:

I've never installed any app through play store website and I don't think I ever will.....It's much easier with the phone itself

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Why my google account has been disconnect to my samsung account.niw i cannot download anything like playstore samsung app.because need my google account is login failed.....

my galaxy tab 2 is hanged since 10 days.what can i do?

my samsung galaxy tab 2 is hanged since 10 opens up to android and stops.and then others things does not opens.please,what can i do?give me suggestions.

madhank65 says:

Hay now guys; Believe it or not this was good news for me. I know it's hard to believe but just got first tablet with Android (4.0.) Thought I'd check it out since the price was right. And lucky me found this site to help. I might try to upgrade to 4.1 if I feel brave, though I doubt it. So thanks for the clue. Long time Linux user so thought I'd join the tablet crowd. Thanks, there's always a newbie somewhere. Some day might even get a smart phone......

Andy_14 says:

Why can't I install apps on my android phone using pc? i have a google account and i can access it using pc. but whenever i choose an app and click install it always says: "Congratulations! This app will be installed in your device soon." But it never installs in my phone...What should I do?

Veratek says:

Hi, same problem here. Did you ever find a solution?

febby585 says:

Sync is probably not on!

BlueLatitude says:

Well, I'm a noob and I found this very helpful! Including the bit about the sync. Thank you!

tachyon1 says:

Been doing this for years.

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Hey my sm app got deleted n now wn I reinstall it it asks me about the authenticity and sign in wch I HV lost .help me to reinstall the lost apps ..plsss.

Brian Howell says:

Hi. I'm trying to load apps onto my wife's Android (LG) phone, and I've tried both through the phone and the Google Play site. I've switched the USB to "charging only," I've checked the sync function, turned it on and off, but all the apps just show as "loading" for literally hours and never show up on the phone. Help!