The Google Play app store is pre-installed on every Android phone with the Google Services Package (GMS). However, for Android, Google Play may not be the only source of apps. With regard to the openness of the system and the possibility of installing packages from virtually any source, the possibilities of alternative application stores open up on this platform. Which one is one of the best known, and does it make sense to risk downloading applications from “semi-legal” markets?
You may be wondering what alternative stores you can get on your phone and what you can lose. In the first case, alternative stores are mainly used to download application content that is regionally restricted on Google Play. For example, you can download games that the developer does not offer outside of Asia or Australia. On the other hand, you have to take into account that malware is literally often rampant in alternative stores. You have to be careful when downloading applications and games, especially you have to check whether the downloaded application just pretends to be a more well-known title. And it can often be a problem to distinguish.
So what are the most well-known alternative stores on Android?
Leaving aside the Galaxy Store, which is only pre-installed on Samsung, or AppGallery on Huawei, Amazon Appstore is probably the best-known alternative store. The fact that Microsoft has previously joined Amazon with the aim of running Android games applications on Windows 11 also proves that the store is trustworthy.
Amazon Appstore is in English, you must log in with an Amazon account or register before downloading
The Amazon Appstore has a decent range of applications and games, and of course Google Play doesn’t match them. In the store you will also find a large portion of applications from Amazon. You can download the store installer here, it runs on your phone without major problems and it doesn’t mind other third-party application stores.
You will need an Amazon account to download from the Amazon App Store. Applications and games are sorted into clear categories. The application is in English, but you will quickly find your way around it. We like that you can turn off in-app purchases in settings. However, we recommend disabling user data collection within your account, which will turn on automatically when you first log in.
At APKPure (installer here) we are already entering the gray zone. Some applications are legitimate, others may look suspicious, some are unloaded, and some are illegal warez full of malware. So when downloading applications, the old familiar password “trust, but check” applies.
APKPure is in a kind of “gray” zone, needs suspicious permissions and offers applications that are often not completely legal or even infected with malware
And the “gray zone” is visible when you first start a business that needs “call” permission. Why this needs an application store is a mystery to us. In APKpure you have a catalog of applications and games, but also community discussions, world news and interesting videos. And if you come across a fake application, you can mark it as inappropriate. You do not need a special account to download.
Of course, there are also comments from users who downloaded the application in front of you. However, they are not filtered by region, but come from all over the world. So you can’t easily read or translate reviews in Arabic.
One of the oldest alternative application stores is (un) sought for reasons of low censorship and content regulation. On Aptoide, whose installer you can download here, you will find plenty of applications and games for adults as well as debatable applications with a link to the illegal Showbox.
Apotide application does not censor much. In the store you will find quite a lot of content for adults
In the editorial, you will find recommendations for games and applications that do not require a special account to download. There are also separate “stores” available in the app, which is nothing more than a list of apps used by other users on Aptoide.
F-Droid is one of the safest variants of alternative stores (with an emphasis on freedom and privacy) on Android, moreover in Czech. In particular, you’ll find productivity apps that have “something extra” from Google Play apps. There are simple simple one-time applications and a basic selection of games, but the store is not big. You can download the installer here.
F-Droid as one of the few alternative stores available in Czech
The F-Droid store is run as open source, which also applies to all applications offered on it. You can even download open source alternatives to F-Droid in F-Droid, which is taboo for other application stores. When downloading applications, information often appears that apka “Contains features you may not like“. And that can be a record of your activities, the promotion of non-free network services, and other things commonly known from apps downloaded from Google Play.
We were the last to be selected by APKMirror, which is not a store as such, but rather an alternative repository of official installation packages from Google Play. Why download APKMirror? Maybe because you need to update a game or application that isn’t yet available to you on Google Play. Or, conversely, download an older version of the application if the new version has errors or does not work as before.
The APKMirror application only serves as a package installer. You can install the APK yourself, but the application can also handle the * .apkm, * .xapk and * .apks packages
APKMirror is also a great tool for finding installers of older games that have already disappeared from Google Play. In the service you can find installation packages whose integrity is already verified during upload. So if you want to install downloaded packages from the Internet on Android, APKMirror, as their source, is the safest option. For some games, you can download the * .apkm, * .xapk or * .apks packages from APKMirror, for which you need the APKMirror Installer. And here you can download the pre-access on Google Play.
Do you use any of the alternative application stores on Android? Share your opinion in the discussion below the article.