Google Play Tricks for Your Android Tablet

By Dan Gookin

You probably don’t want to be a Google Play expert. If you’re like many other Android tablet users, you just want to get the app, music, movie, or whatever you want and get on with your life. Yet more exists to the Play Store app than simply obtaining new stuff.

Using the wish list

While you dither over getting a paid app, some music, a book, or any other purchase at Google Play, consider adding it to your wish list: Tap the Wish List icon.

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To review your wish list, tap the Side Menu icon in the Play Store app. Choose the Wish List item from the navigation drawer. You see all the items you’ve flagged. When you’re ready to buy, choose one and buy it!

Sharing a Google Play item

Sometimes you love your Google Play purchase so much that you just can’t contain your glee. When that happens, consider sharing the item. Obey these steps:

  1. Open the Play Store app.
  2. Browse or search for the app, music, book, or other item you want to share.
  3. When you find the item, tap it to view its description screen.
  4. Tap the Share icon.

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    You may have to swipe down the screen to locate the Share icon. After tapping the Share icon, you see a menu listing various apps.

  5. Choose an app.

    For example, choose Gmail to send a Google Play link in an email message.

  6. Use the chosen app to share the link.

    What happens next depends on which sharing method you’ve chosen.

The result of following these steps is that your friend receives a link. That person can tap the link on his Android device and be whisked instantly to the Play Store app, where the item can be obtained.

Keeping stuff on the device

Books, music, movies, and TV shows you obtain from Google Play aren’t copied to your Android tablet. Instead, they’re stored on the Internet. When you access the media, it’s streamed into your device as needed. This setup works well, and it keeps your tablet from running out of storage space, but it works only when an Internet connection is available.

When you plan on being away from an Internet connection, such as when you are flying across the country and are too cheap to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi, you can download Play Store music, eBook, and movie purchases and save them on your tablet.

To see which media is on your tablet and which isn’t, open the Play Books, Play Music, or Play Movies & TV app. Follow these steps, which work identically in each app:

  1. Tap the Side Menu icon.
  2. In the navigation drawer, choose the Downloaded Only item.

    To view items that are downloaded (saved on your tablet), ensure that the master control is set to the On position.

  3. Choose the Library item from the navigation drawer.

    You see only those items on your tablet. The rest of your library is held on the Internet.

To see your entire library again, repeat these steps, but in Step 3 slide the master control to the Off position.

Items downloaded to your tablet feature the On Device icon. The icon’s color differs between Play Music, Play Books, and Play Movies & TV apps.

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To keep an item on your tablet, look for the Download icon. Tap that icon, and the item is fetched from the Internet and stored on your tablet.

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Movies and music consume storage space on your Android tablet, especially feature-length films. Downloading these items is fine for short trips and such, but for the long term, consider purging some of your downloaded media.

To remove an item from the tablet, tap the On Device icon. Choose the Remove Download action and then tap the REMOVE button to confirm.

Don’t worry about removing downloaded media. You can always access items you’ve purchased (or obtained for free) when an Internet connection is active. And you can download items over and over without having to pay again.