10 useful Google Play Store settings you’ll wish you knew sooner

Here are several Google Play Store tips and tricks that will make app management much easier on Android devices.

1. Test and Refund Apps

You can return an app if you “later decided you didn’t want it.”

For paid apps and games, you have two hours after your purchase to request a refund (or 48 hours if you make your refund request on the web instead of through the Play Store app). The only exception is for unauthorized purchases, which have a limit of 65 days.

2. Search Apps by Developer

When searching for apps in the Play Store, you can use the pub:[developer’s name] modifier to filter the search results and only show apps whose developers match that query.

This is great when you really like a certain app and want to see what else the developers have made, or if you know who made an app but forget what it was called.

3. Unlock Early Access and Beta Apps

You can check if an upcoming app available as an “early access” app, and if it is, you may be able to try it out ahead of time. Beware that early access apps are often buggy, glitchy, poorly optimized, and prone to crashes.

The Play Store also allows developers to offer separate beta versions of already-released apps. These beta apps often have more features and other improvements, but may not be quite ready for public release due to crashes, bugs, glitches, etc.

4. View Only Relevant App Reviews

You can filter reviews and only see the ones that are relevant to you right now.

Go to the app’s page in the Play Store app, scroll down to the reviews, tap Read All Reviews, tap Options on the right, then toggle “Latest version only.” You can also enable “From this device model only,” but the older your device, the less useful this option will be.

5. Install Region-Blocked Apps

You may be able to get around the region block using a VPN.

A VPN, or virtual private network, essentially masks your IP address. Connecting to a VPN server in the US makes it look like you’re in the US. Fortunately, using a VPN on Android is easy, but we recommend staying away from free VPN services because paid VPNs are safer and more reliable.

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6. Don’t Add New Apps to Your Home Screen

You can disable this once and for all. In the Play Store, tap the menu button and go down to Settings. Under General, uncheck the box for “Add icon to Home screen.”

7. Reinstall Owned Apps in Bulk

In the Play Store app, tap the menu button and select My apps & games. Switch over to the Library tab to see a massive list of all the apps tied to your account. Just scroll down and tap Install for the ones you want.

8. Disable Auto-Updates for Certain Apps

Google Play Store allows you to disable auto-update for certain apps. Go to the app’s page in Play Store, tap the menu button at the top right (you’ll only see it if the app is currently installed), and uncheck Auto-update.

9. Prevent Children from Installing Apps

The Play Store offers three distinct ways to “lock down” app installations, which come in real handy if you regularly let your kids play games or stream videos on your device:

  • Fingerprint block: If your device has a fingerprint scanner, you can restrict purchases to your fingerprint by going to Settings > User Controls > Fingerprint authentication.
  • Parental control PIN: You can also restrict purchases by going to Settings > User Controls > Parental controls. Turn it on, set a PIN, and you’re good to go.
  • Mature content filter: You can set when the PIN is necessary by going to Settings > User Controls > Parental controls > Set content restrictions. Disallowing Teen, Mature, and Adults Only apps should be enough in most cases.

10. Create App Wishlists

On the app’s page in Play Store, tap the bookmark icon with the plus sign at the top. This immediately adds it to your wish list. To view your wishlist, tap the menu button and select Wishlist.

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