I get asked questions all the time by seniors unsure how the Google Play Store works, buying apps and reinstalling apps already bought, so here’s some help.
Firstly, the most important thing to remember is that the Play Store account you use to download and buy apps is always linked to a Gmail account and this is a fact that trips people up sometimes. While you can have more than one Gmail account set up on a device, it is always best to use the same one when downloading apps. This is because Google keeps track of what apps you have installed (and more importantly, paid for) using this account. It also means that if you have to say, reset your phone or tablet which will remove all your apps, after setting up the Gmail account again on the device and ‘linking’ it to your Play Store app the first time you run it, all the apps you have bought can be downloaded again at no extra charge.
To check your account settings, start the Play Store app and swipe in from the left to open the menu (or tap the three horizontal bars at the top left). Note that the Gmail account associated with the store currently is shown at the top of the menu. Now tap ‘My Account’ to set up and view the methods you can use to pay for apps, either a credit card or a Pay Pal account.
Now tap on ‘My Apps’ to view a list of the apps you have already installed or tap the ‘All’ heading above the list to see apps that you have previously installed and removed, or even installed on other devices using the same Gmail account.
To find and install a new app, tap ‘Store Home’ from the menu then tap the ‘Apps’ or the ‘Games’ icon to find either an app or a game. You will now see some apps under different headings but I often find it useful to swipe left to display the Categories list. Now swipe down to a category you want and tap it, let’s try the ‘Lifestyle’ category first. Now you will see some headings at the top, Top Selling, Top Apps etc, choose one of these (by swiping left and right, you’ll soon get used to doing this!) and then swipe up to scroll through the apps and if you see one that takes your fancy, just tap it to view more about it.
Now you can swipe up to view details about the app, or tap ‘Read more’, view comments from people who have rated it (take many of the comments with a grain of salt, some people seem to enjoy leaving scathing remarks especially if the app isn’t free) and also see similar apps etc lower down. Tap install or’ Buy’ if you want to purchase it.
Andy’s Tip: You can get a refund for up to two hours which gives you plenty of time to see if it works on your phone or tablet and suits your needs, there is a ‘Refund’ button that replaces the ‘Buy’ icon on the store listing page for two hours after purchasing an app which makes it easy to get the refund and it will be uninstalled for you.
I hope this has shed some light on using the Play Store and installing and purchasing apps. It isn’t too hard once you have done it a few times, so give it a try with some free apps or games until you get the hang of it.