Google Play, android’s content market is one of the apps that we take for granted, probably because it comes free and preinstalled with every legitimately licensed version of android that ships to the public. But like I found out over last weekend, when I had to research it after running into some issues, there’s a lot more beneath the surface of the app.
Here are four tricks/tips I’ve just learnt from using Google Play that you may find useful:
How to Install an app that isn’t available in your country:
If you’re as curious as me, you will be used to snooping around looking for new apps to give a spin. You will also be used to the fact that there are a lot of great apps that you cannot install because they haven’t been made available in your country. Don’t worry you still can get pretty much any app on the store regardless of what its availability states. How you ask?; well, by using a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN gives you a secure internet connection via private networks in locations outside of your current one and pretty much “tricks” whatever site or app that you are visiting to “think” you’re at another location.
Once you’ve downloaded a VPN app, (there are a bunch of them on Google Play) select the country whose Play Store you want to access in the VPN app, get the VPN running, then open the Play Store app. It should land on the Play Store homepage of the country you selected. Now you can get the app you desire.
Note that this goes beyond apps, to accessing Google Play services that are not available in your country, such as Tv shows, music or books.
Managing apps in the Play Store:
The Google Play store has an area called ‘My apps & games’ which is basically a dashboard for all your apps, whether downloaded or preinstalled or deleted. It’s also the easiest place to keep track of updates if like me you like to stay on the bleeding edge. If you frequent the “My apps and games tab,” be rest assured that you will not miss out on the latest updates on your installed apps ever.
To get there, open up the Google Play Store on your Android device. Then click on the menu (the three horizontal lines at the top left of your screen). Under the Apps & Games section you’ll see the My apps and & games menu item, tap on it. You should find a list of your installed apps when it opens. From here you can hit the “Update All” option in the top right hand corner of your screen to update all the apps that are due or select the particular app you want updated.
Parental lock on Google Play:
If you happen to have kids around that are convinced that your devices were built to be played with and nothing else, but you also don’t like the idea of locking your device, there is a chance that a lot of times, the kids will install random apps which may include malware innocently, or maybe just access apps that aren’t suitable for their age. This is where the parental lock feature on Google Play comes in handy.
To put a parental lock on the Google Play Store, Launch the app and tap on the menu icon. Go to Settings and tap on Parental Controls then tap the option that says ‘On’. You will immediately be asked to create a parental lock PIN code. Create one, then go through the list of things you can download on the Play Store and tap the ones you want to set restrictions for.
Once the restrictions are in place, everyone will need to enter your PIN code each time they try to download something that triggers the restrictions you have set. Pretty neat.
Did you know there is an ‘Indie Corner?
Everyone knows that big budgets don’t necessarily turn in the goods. In fact, often times, it’s the small independent guy that delivers. Google Play also has a dedicated “indie” corner where independent developers are catalogued.
So where’s the Indie corner?
Indie Corner can’t be found from within the Play Store itself. However, to get to it, open the web browser on your Android device and search for ‘Indie Corner’ in Google. The first result should be ‘Discover Indie Corner’ from Google Play. Click on it and you will find a list of indie apps which is updated monthly.
So there you have it guys….. Hope these tips were helpful and please feel free to add more or share your thoughts. Cheers!