How to Manage Apps on an Android Phone - dummies

How to Manage Apps on an Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

The apps you install on your Android phone originate from the Play Store. And that’s where you can return to for app management. The task includes reviewing apps you’ve downloaded, updating apps, and removing apps that you no longer want or severely hate.

Reviewing your apps

To peruse the apps you’ve downloaded from the Google Play Store, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Play Store app.

  2. Choose My Apps from the navigation drawer.

    Touch the Play Store app icon to view the navigation drawer.


  3. Peruse your apps.

There are two categories for apps: Installed and All. Installed apps are found on your phone; All apps include apps you have downloaded but have not installed.


Touch an app to see details. Touch the Open button to run the app, the Update button to update to the latest version, or the Uninstall button to remove the app.

  • While viewing an app’s details, you can place a check mark by the Allow Automatic Updating option. That setting helps keep your apps current, although not every app features automatic updating.

  • Uninstalled apps remain on the All list because you did, at one time, download the app. To reinstall them (and without paying a second time for paid apps), choose the app from the All list and touch the Install button.

Sharing an app

When you love an app so much that you just can’t contain your glee, feel free to share that app with your friends. You can easily share a link to the app in the Play Store by obeying these steps:

  1. In the Play Store, choose the app to share.

    You can choose any app, but you need to be at the app’s details screen, the one with the Free or price button.

  2. Touch the Share icon.

    A menu appears listing various apps and methods for sharing the app’s Play Store link with your pals.

  3. Choose a sharing method.

    For example, choose Gmail to send a link to the app in an e-mail message.

  4. Use the chosen app to send the link.

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

The end result of these steps is that your friend receives a link. That person can touch the link on a mobile Android device and be whisked instantly to the Google Play Store, where the app can be viewed and installed.

Updating an app

Whenever a new version of an app is available, you see it flagged for updating. Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you’ve been to the My Apps screen; apps in need of an update also display an App Update notification, similar to what’s shown here.


To update an individual app, view its information screen: Choose the app from the My Apps screen. Touch the Update button. Or from the list of installed apps, touch the Update All button to update a slew of apps at once.

The updating process often involves downloading and installing a new version of the app. That’s perfectly fine; your settings and options aren’t changed by the update process.

Look for the App Update notification to remind yourself that apps are in need of an update. You can choose that notification to be taken instantly to the app’s screen, where the Update button eagerly awaits your touch.

Uninstalling apps

There are a few reasons to remove an app. You might want to remove apps that don’t work or annoy you. It’s also perfectly okay to remove redundant apps, such as when you have multiple e-book readers that you don’t use. And if you’re desperate for an excuse, removing apps frees up a modicum of storage.

Whatever the reason, remove an app by following these directions:

  1. Open the Play Store app.

  2. Choose My Apps from the navigation drawer.

  3. In the Installed list, touch the app that offends you.

  4. Touch the Uninstall button.

  5. Touch the OK button to confirm.

    The app is removed.

The app continues to appear on the All list even after it’s been removed. That’s because you downloaded it once. That doesn’t mean that the app is installed.

  • You can always reinstall paid apps that you’ve uninstalled. You aren’t charged twice for doing so.

  • You can’t remove apps that are preinstalled on the phone by either the phone’s manufacturer or your cellular service provider. Seriously: Just don’t use the apps if you want to remove them and discover that you can’t.