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Discover the Android Market

Avoid unnecessary Android Market confusion with this handy guide on getting started.

One of the main draws of any Android device is the access it has to thousands of apps in the Market. These can do anything, from telling you the weather, through helping you keep track of your calorific intake to even just giving you a noise-maker to annoy friends with.

But your first tentative steps into the Android Market might well be fraught with some confusion – it’s a big place and there’s a lot of rubbish out there. This guide will give you some handy pointers and walk you through the process by which you can search for, check out, buy and download anything you can find in the Market.

It’s always good to have peace of mind when it comes to both splashing your cash on things and keeping your smartphone secure. As long as you always pay close attention to what you’re downloading and follow these simple hints and tips, you’ll be able to download all of the useful, useless and just plain silly apps you could want.

  1. Load the Market

    The first step is to get into the Android Market itself, which is a very simple process indeed. The default home screen on your Android device should have a Market icon on it, and a single tap on this will load up the store-front, ready to peruse the thousands of apps inside.

  2. Choose your download

    From the main Market screen you can select a featured app, search for a specific program or narrow down the parameters by genre, category or by bestselling (or most downloaded for free apps). This is a handy method of searching if you don’t know specifically what you’re after.

  3. Search for an app

    If you do know exactly what you’re looking for, or have a vague idea of what an app is named, you can go straight to the search option by clicking the top-right magnifying glass. Search suggestions will pop up as you type, which helps if you’re working with non-specific wording.

  4. Check app quality

    Tapping an app will bring up its information screen. Scroll down a small amount and you will see a screen like this example, where you can see how many downloads and ratings it has. Generally the more downloads, the more likely it is the app isn’t nefarious.

  5. View the ratings

    By scrolling down the information screen a little further, you can see the ratings for the selected app. Tapping ‘More’ lets you see reviews in full – there are thousands of programs out there, so it’s good to gauge the public’s reaction to the available downloads.

  6. Download the app

    When you decide on an app, tap the link at the top right – it will be displaying the price. The screen changes to show the app’s required permissions – how it interacts with your device – and a second tap of the ‘OK’ button will commence the download.

  7. Check the progress

    Once a download has begun, you can check the progress it is making. You can return to the main Market screen by pressing the Back key a few times, then select ‘My apps’. Here you will see progress bars for however many downloads are currently being processed.

  8. Try out your new app

    Once the download is completed, you can check out the app straight away. You can either find it in your apps drawer from the home screen or drag down the notifications bar from the top of the screen to see it in the menu. A single tap loads up the program.

  9. Download more apps

    There are thousands of apps available to download in the Market, so it’s very likely you’ll want to get some more for your device. Simply – and obviously – go back to the beginning of the process, find a new app to download and download to your heart’s content.