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Unlike the other apps on your Android device, the Google Play Store already comes pre-installed. And just like any other app, you need to update the Play Store occasionally so you have all the security protection as well as the new features.

While most of us wait until we are prompted by our devices for an update, there are some who are more adventurous and install the Play Store manually. This way, they get to test the new version faster or even opt to roll back their current version should they not like the newer one.

Manually updating the Play Store is perfectly fine and it’s not that complicated as one would expect. Here’s how to do it:

#1: Check your Play Store’s current version

Before you could say you actually updated your app, you need to know its version. After all, you might already have the latest one on your phone and not even know it because you paid no mind to OTA updates. Here’s how to check the current version of your Play Store:

  • Open the Play Store app
  • Go to Settings
  • Look for the Build number. This serves as the version of your app.

As of November 10, 2016, the current version of the Google Play Store app is 7.2.13.

#2: Get the Google Play Store APK

The nature of Android devices is this: you can absolutely depend on the Play Store for all your needs but also have the choice to install other apps from third-party providers. This is not something users of iOS devices enjoy given the closed nature of their system.

That said, an APK is what you would get if you wanted to install an app on your Android device. It’s basically like an EXE on a desktop computer. The nice thing about Android APKs is that there are many places where you can get them. Here’s a few sources:

  • Android blogs (just make sure to pick the reputable ones)
  • tech blogs (again, choose the ones with good reputation)
  • forums (pick wisely and select the one that’s highly reputable)

The avenues listed above will provide a link where you can download the APK. Once you download it to your device or computer, make sure to transfer it to a location that’s easy to remember – this is particularly true when downloading to a desktop.

#3: Make sure Unknown Sources is enable in Settings

Since you’re essentially trusting an outside source, you should let Android know that as well. If Unknown Sources is disabled, you can’t install from outside sources, just the Play Store. Here’s how to enable it:

  • Go to Settings
  • Head to Security
  • Look for Unknown Sources then tick the box. Tap OK when prompted with a warning.

#4: Install the Play Store APK using a file manager

If you don’t have one, there are many good ones available but to save you time, try ES File Explorer. Follow the steps below:

  • Open the file browser and go to the location of the downloaded APK.
  • Click the APK and when prompted about what app to use, choose Package Installer.
  • Click Install and allow the process to complete.

Once everything is done, make sure to disable Unknown Sources as a safety precaution. The Google Play Store is a repository for whatever you need for your device, and although you’ll do fine without it, it’s nice to still have it there.