Google Play Store

If you're new to Android completely or even if you just picked up a new device for the first time, there's one pretty annoying Google Play Store setting that you're probably going to want rid of as soon as possible. We're talking about the one that adds a shortcut to your homescreen for each and every application that you ever download.

Luckily, putting a stop to that isn't a difficult process. Here's how.

Simply follow these steps:

  • Open up the Google Play Store app on your phone or tablet
  • Slide out the menu from the left of the screen
  • Open "Settings"
  • Under "General" you'll find an option to "add icon to home screen"
  • Make sure the checkbox is unticked

From here on out you'll not be filling up your home screen with dozens and dozens of apps as you install them. This is certainly a better option than going through and deleting them all one by one!


Reader comments

The one Google Play Store setting you have to turn off


+100000 I was about to say the same thing.. Some updates are HORRIBLE (like Amazon Music) smh..

Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5

Whem I saw the title of the article I thought it would have been about this one particularly

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I actually like adding app shortcuts to the Home screen. A lot of times I'll test out a new app after hearing about it here and I want it to be fresh in my memory. If it stays then I'll find a place for it. But if it's got to go I won't forget about it.

Now auto update is one I can't stand. That's an instant off for me.

I love my home screen to be empty and I like to decide if the update is needed. I've had apps break because of updates so I usually wait a day or so to see if anyone has issues or bugs

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It's better for most users. before it came out my wifes phone would have 50 updates waiting to be installed every time I looked at it. Even now she usually has a half dozen manual updates that she had never run, or even considered bothering with.

I have it on for my tablet, off for my phone. My tablet would be sorely out of date if I didn't leave it on...

I used to think so but then I found myself installing the updates anyway. I don't have the patience to scour the Internet every time an app gets updated to see if people have reported stuff badly broken.

I agree. Not only so you can manually see what the updates are, but also because if you are trying to do something and it randomly starts auto-updating a bunch of apps, it slows everything down. I feel like this is the biggest reason so many people think that Android is "laggy and slow". They don't realize that it is installing apps in the background and sometimes causes things to freeze for a second or two or just not be as responsive as it normally is.

Always. I don't take updates unless it might have a feature or fix that I want. Too much breakage possible. Google apps are usually good, but even they change annoying things you might not want. I also back up app versions which many file browsers will help you with.

Also require password for inapp purchases to avoid accidentally doing that.

Anyone coming from an iPhone probably won't mind and might even prefer it.

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Thats not really true, I moved from iOS to Android a year ago and the first thing I did was remove the icons and leave just the ones I really use and also disable the multi home screens. When I had my iPhone I had few apps on my main home screen, I really love that Android has an app drawer :)

I like to keep a folder of new apps. I download so many that some get lost in the shuffle. So I have the add to desktop turned on, then move it to the new apps folder. But that's just me. To each their own

That depends entirely on how many apps you download and the time you have to deal with them.

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I agree. I don't necessarily think d/l a new app, them scrolling through your apps folder to find it is more efficient. Plus, frequently the name it's under is not intuitive or you don't remember. For example, remote control for an Oppo DVD player is called Media Control. NFC app is Trigger. Good luck finding those a week after you d/l it. You can always just delete or move the icon off the home screen without deleting the app.

A lot of launchers, Nova/Apex/Next, give option to sort apps by date, which can actually sort your app drawer by update/install date. However, that is if you're installing way too many apps.

For me, I'd keep these options turned on, just so that I know what's being installed and what's getting updated. I really liked when Play Store added the recently updated section under My Apps.

I prefer it putting new apps on my home screen. That way I can quickly decide where I want to put it.

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The default setting should be changed to have this off with the option to turn on, imo.

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I think that's the wrong approach, simply because I think the average user is more comfortable finding the new app they just downloaded on the homescreen, maybe that's apple's influence on the market or maybe not. But, I know a lot of new smartphone users who rarely if ever even touch the app drawer.
Power users who are picky about how their home screens are laid out can easily turn this off.
I think you have to make the defaults apply to the average user and let the more advanced users tweak the settings to work the way they want.

I agree with adding apps to home screen hate that option and automatically update apps always turn those two options off

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It actually annoys me when this gets turned off. I have used folders for years and want them to be a comprehensive organization of my apps. If this is off then my phone just fills up with apps that I never use and forget are installed.

I agree, I like to have all apps in folders that I've named so I can find them easily. Scrolling through the app drawer gets tedious. That said, I also like to install custom ROMs, so I turn this off when redownloading all my apps so the home screens don't get overwhelmed. Otherwise, I leave it on.

Ironically the one setting I thought this article might mention (if it was an old setting; I thought it was regarding something new) was auto-update. I want to know what the changes are when I do updates occasionally before they update. To each their own of course which is why Android is the best.

I prefer the clean home screen except for the few apps I want there. I use your idea in a different approach; ADWEx with categories (folders) in the app drawer instead. Best of both worlds imo.

I also use folders, and find it so simple to grab the app icon from my home screen and move it to the desired folder. This way, I organize all my apps onto one screen only.

FWIW, I also auto update. If I didn't want the app, I wouldn't have installed it in the first place. And of course, I want the latest updates. I don't need to worry either, because if the permissions change, I am notified, and must accept or reject the update.

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Thanks for that. I thought I had to deal with deleting them every time I downloaded an app. Great tip!!!!

I don't mind it. I'm at the point that the things I install I want to use right away.

I can decide if I want to take it off or move it after I install it.

Not a big deal to me.

On new installs I always change 3 options in the Play Store, in this order of priority:
1) ON: Require password for purchases == ALWAYS (because... kids)
2) OFF: Auto-update apps (I like to read changelogs before manually updating)
3) OFF: Add icon to homescreen (because Nova has it ON)

I disable the "Add icon to Home screen" option, but not for the reason you think. :) -- If you're using Nova Launcher, and you WANT to have icons added to your homescreen, then you're supposed to disable it the Play Store options, and enable it in Nova Launcher, such that there's no redundancy. IIRC, if you leave it enabled in both places, you'll have a ton of icons added to whichever launcher Google thinks is the system launcher, which isn't really a problem if you never use it.

Most of these articles are so basic that I don't pay much attention to them. I don't think I've ever looked in the Play Store settings but this was actually very useful. I just got the M8 yesterday (upgrade from the N5) and it is a pain when the apps are all restoring and you have a ton of apps on your screens. Very useful article.

Actually, I've grown to prefer the setting this way. I often install a new game or something I learn about from the web when I'm not in a place to try it right away. Easy to forget about. This keeps it visible as a reminder.

I honestly don't mind that setting, I know about it and choose to leave it on.

I'm not a big user of the app drawer, everything I use even somewhat regularly is filed away in some folder on one of my homescreens, So having them auto add to the homescreen just puts it somewhere where I can easily grab it and move it to the correct folder on one of my homescreens.

I know such a iPhone "esqe" usage of Android might offend some, but that's what I'm most comfortable with and find the most convenient.

My wife is a regular person (i.e. not an Android nerd), and she leaves it on. It was on by default and she just got used to it I guess.  (She also doen't customize her home screens.)

Wasn't aware of this one actually. I must say that I had not even noticed it's annoyance until it was pointed out. So, now I certainly do need to disable it; appreciate it.

No way is this the most important setting! You're not the boss of me, lol! If it's your preference, that's fine. I want this on so I can put any new apps where I want them, like an appropriate folder. I sometimes install more than a few apps at once, and this is an easy way to keep track of them.

More important is the setting to disallow purchases without using your password. Another one, as many stated, is to turn off auto-updates, if that's your preference.

One case were you probably WILL want to turn this off is if you are going to use an alternate launcher. Apps can build up on the stock launcher behind the scenes, unorganized, and you won't know until it's a mess as you cruise along happily with your alternate launcher.

Actually, I've disabled it since I already have this feature on my own app, which adds an icon no matter how you've installed the app : via Play-Store, via Amazon-AppStore, and via normal APK files. I've even set it to only send the links to my default launcher, instead of to all of the launchers (as done by the play store).
If anyone's interested, here's my app:

I used to agree with this - now I like having shortcuts sent to my tablet's homepage so that I can put them in the appropriate folder. When I have had this turned off some apps go into my app drawer and forgotten about for weeks, sometimes without even opening them to see if they are apps I want to keep.

On the other setting - I never auto-update. I like to see what's happening to my apps, bug fixes rarely excite me but I like to know about the big developments.

How do I bypass the WiFi requirement for larger apps? When I try to "update all", a larger app will "wait for network" because I didn't have the option to use my network to update it. Of course, I can just stop it and do it individually, but that negates the "update all" convenience

I don't really mind having the home screen icon added,and deleting is a flick of the wrist :-D But I can see where for some,this would be annoying. Knowing your settings for all kinds of apps is a good thing. Take for instance,when online for gmail,at the bottom of the page,you can go fullsite,and THEN you can really access all your settings. This is true for all Google apps and settings, So if you don't have a laptop or desktop,you can still access the fullsite pages for more functions,and settings.

This seems to be different based on the manufacturers. My last several phones were in the Nexus line, and they never had that on by default. I recently switched to a Note 3 after my Nexus 5 died, and it annoyed me that it was enabled.

as i read this article i was thinking since when did it do this automatically. then i realized if you disable it once and every time you get a new device and let it do the restore (download your settings and apps) it brings that over as well. that is the only thing i can think of as to why i never have to deal wit this. so i think thats worth noting, just let your google account transfer your settings.

I get so confused about how all these apps work and what to look for and what compatible with my phone I need a phone tech to come help me sort my stuff that I can move stuff from my sd card to my external drive to an internal drive to know what can me and make the best room everywhere and what downloads are going to help keep my phone cache clean. Keep my ram in check, What virus detector is the best for my phone and also what I need that would be best my phone for automatic one hit button and if all three of those items could be in one program that would be awesome