The best alternatives to the Google Play Store: download apps without Google

The Google Play Store is hegemonic on Android, but is not always the ideal solution. Here is our selection of the best alternative apps stores in the Google Play Store that we recommend.

To install applications on an Android smartphone, the overwhelming majority of users go through the Google Play Store . However, the Google store is not the only one to offer applications and games on Android and real alternatives exist. They allow not to transmit more personal data to Google, better pay developers or find applications not found on the Play Store. They are also essential for Android devices that do not have access to the Google store and could be essential if a brand loses its Android license and its smartphones lose access to the Google Play Store .

However, it is important to turn to sources of confidence to avoid unpleasant surprises. Fortunately, solid alternatives exist:

  • Amazon Appstore
  • F-Droid
  • XDA Labs
  • Humble Bundle
  • APK Mirror
  • Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery…

There are other alternatives that you have certainly heard about: Aptoide, APKPure or UpToDown. We do not recommend their use. First, some offer illegal applications, which do not pay developers, but you can also find applications or mods that can be dangerous for your smartphone or tablet. This does not mean that ALL applications in these shops are illegal or dangerous, but the added value is not enough to justify the risk.

Let’s take a closer look at our selection of the best alternatives to the Google Play Store.

Amazon Appstore: the other giant

Launched in 2011, the Amazon Appstore is the first alternative to the Google Play Store. This store is installed by default on Amazon Kindle devices, but is also available for any Android device. Like Google, the giant makes 70% of the revenue generated by payments on its developer store and keeps 30%. The use of this store requires an Amazon account, including to manage the synchronization of purchased applications. Note that Amazon offers its own virtual currency, Amazon Coins, which can be used for purchases in applications and games, often with interesting discounts.

Amazon.com_ Apps & Games

Amazon.com Apps Store

The approach of this shop is basically the same as Google, and that’s finally what we could blame the Amazon Appstore. It is certainly the alternative best-supplied applications, and without a doubt the most popular alternative, but it is like Google a classic shop that recovers 30% commission and belongs to a giant of tech, that we know how to love as much as Google, retrieve information about its customers.

Most :

  • a known and reassuring brand
  • a wide range of applications and games

The lessers :

  • no real advantages over the Google Play Store

Amazon AppStore

F-Droid: the free and open source application store

F-Droid is another popular application catalog, although little known to the general public. This project hosts only free and open source applications . Its philosophy is also closer to that of Linux repositories , with a management of deposits as sources of applications. This means that it is possible to add different application sources of F-Droid and therefore do not respect the same rules. F-Droid also allows you to exchange applications with people around you without going through an Internet connection, which can be practical abroad in particular.

Most :

  • free and open source applications
  • a simple interface that goes to the basics
  • access to banned apps from the Play Store
  • no need to register with an account

The lessers :

  • an editorial line that restricts the catalog

 F-Droid

XDA Labs: the friend of independent developers

If you have already customized the ROM of your smartphone, or have rooted it, you may have fallen at one time or another on the XDA-Developers forums. It’s simply the world’s largest community of developers and hackers, specializing in Android devices in particular. The site has launched an application XDA Labs that allows first access to its forums, but also to a catalog of applications.

XDA Labs-outdroid.com

XDA highlights the fact of returning 100% of income to developers and therefore does not apply the commission of 30% practiced by Apple and Google. The shop supports the ability to deploy applications in beta versions for the more impatient who want to test the changes first. XDA requires, we find mostly applications to customize or hack the settings of his smartphone. The store puts forward the fact of authorizing any type of applications, even those which are refused by Google.

Most :

  • a complete redistribution of income to developers
  • access to banned apps from the Play Store

The lessers :

  • a fairly light catalog

 XDA Labs

Humble Bundle: The Charity Play Shop

Humble Bundle is a video game distribution platform that takes its name from the fact that games are sold as temporary packs, bundles , and that players can redistribute some of the money to charity actions. More than 130 million dollars have been redistributed since the creation of the platform. The site is best known for letting users choose their own purchase price, knowing that packs are often cut into several levels. If the platform was mostly about PC games originally, Humble Bundle has since fairly regularly offers game packs for Android.

humble-bundle

The platform offers a simple Android application that allows to find his purchases, linked to a mandatory account, but also to be notified when the release of new bundles . Note that Humble Bundle offers more and more music and digital books, often related to video games, or digital trades. This content is also accessible from the application.

Most :

  • Game purchases at a price set by the user
  • redistribution to charity

The lessers :

  • obligatory passage through the website to order bundles
  • pretty basic application

Humble Bundle

APK Mirror

To download applications without going through the Play Store, there is another solution, sideloading . It’s all about installing apps by directly downloading their APK package without going through an app store. To find application packages for free legally and being assured that they will not contain malware, the best solution is the APKMirror site .

apk-mirror

This is a good way to access apps that are declared incompatible for your device through the Play Store, or that are only available in certain countries. APKMirror only lists free apps. Finally, note that an application installed by this method may very well be updated by the Play Store.

Most :

  • access to applications available exclusively abroad
  • access to banned apps from the Play Store
  • downloading new versions from the beginning of their deployment
  • no need to register with an account

The lessers :

  • reserved for slightly more experienced users

APK Mirror

Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, etc.

Some brands like Samsung, Huawei or Xiaomi offer their own app store directly on their smartphones alongside the Google Play Store. In general, these stores are of little interest, it must be admitted, but they can present good alternatives for those who absolutely want to avoid giving information to Google.

samsung-galaxy-store

Apart from this, these shops have the merit of being rather orderly, to be a minimum secure and remunerate the developers. Moreover, with the willingness of manufacturers to free themselves from the yoke of Google, we should see more and more competitiveness from them in the coming years. We have already seen for example with Samsung who negotiated a temporary exclusivity on their store at the launch of Fortnite .

Most :

  • The app is already installed on your smartphone
  • Applications are verified
  • There may be exclusives

The lessers :

  • Interest often limited
  • The mediocre selections

One does not prevent the other

As we can see, there are several alternatives to the Google Play Store. It must be kept in mind that the use of one of these alternatives does not imply the deactivation or the uninstallation of the Play Store. Android allows multiple shops to coexist on a device, so there is no reason to limit yourself to one or two solutions.

We can easily imagine installing free applications with F-Droid and buying games through Humble Bundle while continuing to update Google applications through the Play Store.

How to install an alternative shop

App stores are not available on the Google Play Store, which is the biggest drag on their adoption. Their publishers offer to download them as APK packages on their official website. You must then install the APK file on the device to access the shop.

In a nutshell, you need to allow the app install from unknown sources (that is, not from the Play Store) in the device settings, and then open the file from file explorer that will launch then the installation.