The Google Play Store isn’t all that great for discovering new and exciting apps. But given how we depend on our Android app experiences, we ought to have greater control over it. It’s why alternative app sources are vital to gain a better handle on a well-rounded ecosystem. Play Store alternatives may help dig up more apps that appeal to your personal and professional interests, either accessing other open-source apps like on F-Droid or owning a library of APKs retrieved from APKMirror; some of these incredible options end up giving the Play Store a run for its money. This is why we’ve rounded up our favorite Google Play Store alternatives to help you find the best apps to add to your trusty Android phone. Let’s dig in!

1 APKMirror

APKMirror is one of the most trusted sources to sideload apps onto your Android device. You can easily grab an APK (source file) for most apps, but you’ll want to be careful where you find these APKs, which is why we turn to APKMirror, as each listing is vetted by the owner. Please note APKs may slowly get phased out in favor of split APKs or app bundling as app developers aim to save on bandwidth and storage space. But thankfully, APKMirror supports this new structure, so there are ways to acquire and sideload bundled apps the same as you would an APK. So if you’re looking for ways to grab apps directly or are in need of a particular version no longer published on the Play Store, APKMirror has got you covered.

2 Samsung Galaxy Store

Now, if you’re looking for a traditional app store experience, the Samsung Galaxy Store brings precisely that. Unfortunately, however, not all devices can access the Galaxy Store. You can only use the app with Samsung Galaxy-powered devices, which should be part of your app library by default. The store offers fewer apps than Google, but it only needs to connect to your Samsung account, and it still holds exclusives, such as the mobile version of Fortnite, something the Play Store doesn’t offer. While the Galaxy Store may not fully replace the Play Store for everyone, it still makes for a healthy alternative for Samsung users.

Samsung Galaxy Store

3 TapTap

A genuine alternative to the Google Play Store’s many games, TapTap is an app store solely for games. Exclusives aren’t unheard of on TapTap, so you’ll notice some titles unseen on the Play Store are already available for pre-registration on TapTap. This indicates the store is growing to compete against Google, which is why some of the spicier titles, like Valorant Mobile, are only available for pre-registration on TapTap. The store offers many titles you can also get on the Play Store, and you can find others sorted by personal tastes and preferences. The key difference is discoverability for new games is much easier on TapTap due to its focus on gaming. So if you plan to install TapTap on your Android device, go for the full version (APK file) rather than the lite version found on the Play Store.

TapTap mobile (APK download)

4 Amazon App Store

Similar to the Samsung Galaxy Store, the Amazon App Store functions traditionally as an app store where you’ll find a variety of Android games and apps. To access the store app, you must install the APK linked on Amazon; you’ll also need to create an Amazon account (if you don’t already have one). Overall, the interface is clean, and you no longer have to jump between menus to navigate to your library; all downloaded apps are located under “My apps” in the app store, which you can filter by latest, alphabetical order, and not installed. We praise Amazon App Store’s design for being simple and easy to navigate, making it an excellent alternative to the Play Store, which is congested with repetitive recommendations.

Amazon App Store (APK download)

5 F-Droid

F-Droid is your go-to for free and open-source software on Android; in other words, this is an app haven for devs (and app acquirers like ourselves). So if you’re looking for complete freedom from Google, F-Droid is also the best place to get started. F-Droid is free, and the app catalog is noncommercialized (very much unlike Google), though you’re welcome to donate to the developers on your own accord. The only downside is that this app store style takes some learning and adjusting since the design isn’t tailored for the everyday user. But that’s similar to how powerful a photo editing program like GIMP performs (even if complicated to use at first), just as well as the best commercially available program, Adobe Photoshop. So it’ll be challenging to return once you’ve adapted to F-Droid.

F-Droid (APK download)

6 SlideMe

For a third-party app store, SlideMe is a practical alternative to the Play Store; it finds both paid and free apps for your Android device. However, you’ll notice a diverse selection of non-gaming apps and simple arcade-like games but nothing on the triple AAA scale for gaming, so gamers may need to opt into other options on this list. On the other hand, SlideMe excels with simple everyday-to-use apps, providing a less cluttered and intrusive experience than Google Play Store; if you’re looking to download OfficeSuite or a PDF reader, you can turn to the SlideMe marketplace to set you up.

SlideMe (APK download)

7 AppBrain

AppBrain makes it easy to curate apps, and you can use it alongside other app store sources (note that Amazon App Store doesn’t work). You can turn to AppBrain to network apps and put forth recommendations and suggestions based on apps you like. To use AppBrain, you don’t necessarily need a Google account; you can sign in with Facebook and Twitter. What’s nice about using AppBrain is how the recommended app feature is optional (not forced); you have to navigate to “Recommended Apps” and select “Update recommendations” to see a list. You can browse AppBrain, and it’ll reveal the app’s score, the number of downloads, and favorited number in a single column. So while AppBrain isn’t a store, per se, it highlights the data you need to make educated decisions on what apps and games to install, filling a gaping hole on the Play Store and its lack of competent discovery.

8 is the best avenue for indie games, where developers have complete control over how their games are distributed and sold. No longer have to worry about adhering to the Play Store’s 15% tax on the first $1 million and 30% cut for money made after. uses an open revenue-sharing mode, where developers pay what they want instead of a fixed/forced rate, and providing a more fair and flexible model makes it so developers don’t have to worry about distribution fees as much, which is precisely the support indie developers need. Note that there is no native Android app/APK for, but you can browse the website through your mobile browser or pin the web page to your home screen.

9 Aptoide

Ironically, Aptoide was available on the Google Play Store until 2018; the app was flagged as harmful to have installed on your device. In actuality, it was perfectly safe but flagged for removal due to anti-competitive practices. Today, Aptoide is one of the most popular independent stores you can install; you aren’t geo-restricted to which apps you can access, and there are even apps you won’t find on the Play Store. Of course, due to how user-friendly the app is and the freedom for developers to upload titles, you may want to tread lighty on which apps you download. Still, Aptoide gets around this issue by offering certified and trusted apps via official trust stamps that are deemed safe by the store; this way, you know which apps are fine to download.

Aptoide (APK download)

10 Aurora Store

From a glance, the gorgeous UI design already makes Aurora Store an attractive option as a Play Store alternative. Between the customizable display options and Aurora Store’s policy for privacy to not track your downloads and the apps you use (unfortunately, the Play Store is quite guilty of this), and not requiring a Google account to operate, pushes up Aurora Store as a fine contender as a Play Store replacement. In addition, being open-sourced means you’ll acquire new apps that you wouldn’t otherwise find on the Play Store. And if you’re already a user of F-Droid, consider installing Aurora Droid. Aurora Droid combines the best of both worlds by serving as a repository for F-Droid apps but also provides you access to the fantastic design Aurora has going for it.

Aurora Store (APK download)

11 Uptodown

This is a safe open marketplace alternative that doesn’t require any sign-ups or fees to use. You can browse Uptodown’s website to find APKs or download the app store. Each APK listing is verified for safety, offering an app rating, comments, and download count. Tapping the hamburger menu presents options to customize your experience, like keeping tabs on your device’s downloaded/installed APKs, managing updates, rollbacking apps, and finally, a section to keep track of your app wishlist. Freemium apps, including in-app purchases, are mainly supported, but the developers are working on bringing paid apps to the store. The whole idea behind Uptodown is adding and distributing apps in the most non-restrictive way possible while ensuring your downloading activity is entirely safe and secure.

Uptodown (APK download)

12 Huawei AppGallery

It still has a ways to go to catch up to Google, but still, over the years, it has impressively grown, laying in around 580 million monthly active users (in 2022). Huawei devices come preloaded with the AppGallery already since, unfortunately, Huawei doesn’t play nice with Google (considering that all Google-serviced apps are banned). But thankfully, any Android-powered device has access to Huawei AppGallery, and most will find it much less cluttered and more straightforward to navigate than the Play Store. You can download apps directly on the store, but if the store doesn’t have the app, you can grab the linked APK by tapping “get” (as opposed to “install” for apps already on the store). Unfortunately, app discovery is still a weak point for AppGallery. Still, the developers are working hard to bring AppGallery up to speed as a complete replacement for the Play Store; major changes to the store were pushed through in 2020 to focus on honing in on popular and familiar apps. So improvements are likely to continue, making this a noteworthy choice as an alternative to keep in your back pocket.

Huawei AppGallery (APK download)

Finding the best Google Play Store alternatives

After experiencing a digital distribution service like the Google Play Store, you must decide what it is about the Play Store that doesn’t mesh with your app downloading habits. If it’s restricted access to apps, we have a sizable list that zeroes in on expanding app categories. Additionally, if it’s the cluttered UI and intrusive app listing experience, we also have some helpful alternatives that ease navigating through lists. After all, just because Google Play Store comes pre-installed on our Android devices doesn’t mean we are obligated to use it!

Conclusion on Best Google Play Store alternatives for apps and games

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