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Download apps on Huawei phones without the Play Store

Huawei P40 Pro Plus 6

It has been more than a year since Huawei lost access to the Google Play Store and Google Play services. For the foreseeable future, Huawei users will be forced to download their apps in other ways. Fortunately, there are a handful of options. Today we will show you how to install applications without the Play Store!

Related: The Huawei ban explained: a complete timeline and everything you need to know

Before you start: Update your Huawei smartphone

Make sure to update your phone to the latest software version before starting to avoid a headache.

  1. Pull up the app drawer from the home screen and tap it Settings app to open it. Scroll down and tap on it “System updates” menu to open it.
  2. Tap from here “Software update” where you will find an automatic update page.
  3. The phone will then check if there is an update. If an update is available let the phone download and install it. If your software is up to date, return to the home screen using navigation gestures or the home button at the bottom of the screen.
  4. You are now ready for the following installation options.

Related: Huawei P40 Pro Plus review

Huawei App Gallery icon in a Huawei app drawer

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Option 1: Use the Huawei App Gallery

Huawei App Gallery is already installed on your Huawei device. This is Huawei’s own application market and is the main way to download apps on your Huawei smartphone.

  1. To find it, open the phone’s app drawer and look for the red bag logo. Tap on this and you should be in App Gallery.
  2. You will be taken to the Featured page. Find the app you want by tapping the search bar at the top. Once your app appears, click on the list entry. This should then load the app page.
  3. The bottom of the screen should be blue “To install” button. Tap this. Wait for the application to install.
  4. The blue button should now say “Open”. Tap on this and you should be in your newly installed app.

Read more: Huawei App Gallery Review

Huawei Petal Search app icon in a Huawei app drawer

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Option 2: Use Huawei Petal Search

Huawei Petal Search is the company’s all-in-one hub for search, news, images and apps. It’s a lot like Google’s all-in-one system. If you have a Huawei P40 series device, Petal Search is pre-installed. If you are using an older device such as our Mate 30 Pro, you will need to install the app from Huawei App Gallery. Hint: We will guide you through this process in option 4!

Here’s how to get your apps through Petal Search.

  1. You will see it when you open the app “For you” page. Tap the search bar and type in the app you want to install and hit Enter.
  2. When the search results appear, tap the “Apps” tab to limit the entries to applications only.
  3. Tap your preferred app. This will display the app page from the App Gallery or a third party.
  4. Find and tap “To install”. If applicable, tap “To download”Wait for the phone to install the app.
  5. Then one comes “Open” button. Tap this to open your newly installed app.

The Huawei Phone Clone app icon on a OnePlus home screen

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Option 3: Using Huawei Phone Clone

Huawei’s Phone Clone app is a great way to transfer applications from a device with Google Play. This won’t work for 100% of the apps, but it’s mostly effective. This is pre-installed on all Huawei smartphones. You need a separate device for this that is suitable for Google Play. Here’s How to Use It!

  1. Find “Phone clone” on your Huawei device in the app drawer and tap to open it.
  2. The app is asking for file storage permissions. Accept this so that the phone can send and receive the date from another device.
  3. Select “This is a new device” to make the phone receive data. Also allow the rights for this.
  4. You will then be given the option to choose which platform is your individual device. For this we select “Other Android Device”.
  5. On your individual device, open the Google Play Store and search for Phone clone. Hit install and let the phone do its thing. Once installed, click open.
  6. Once opened, provide the required permissions and scan the QR code of the Huawei device with the separate device.
  7. Match details on displays and if so press “Connect”.
  8. On the individual device you should see a list of applications and tools. Select the desired items using the check boxes and click the “OK” button at the bottom of the screen. Then press Transfer at the bottom of the screen.
  9. Let the phones transfer and receive data. Once completed, it will say separate device “Sent”, while the Huawei device will say “Transfer completed”. Touch “OK” and “Finish” on the respective devices and you’re done!

Related: Switching Phones Like a Pro: How Our Reviewers Do It

Huawei USB file transfer widget with the Mate 30 Pro

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Option 4: use an independent MOT

Installing applications via a standalone APK can be daunting. However, it is often the most effective way to download exactly what you want. You can do this in two ways: download from your phone’s browser and also from a Windows PC. We’ll cover both today.

We will download and install the apps in separate parts.

Download via the browser

  1. Open your phone’s browser and go to your APK website optionally. From here you should be able to search for the application you want.
  2. Tap the APK page and click the to download button to start downloading. Accept the save permissions to allow the download.
  3. The APK for your application is now in the Downloads folder.

Download from a Windows PC

For this you need a Windows PC with internet connection, a USB cable to go from your phone to the computer and the Huawei phone itself.

  1. Open your internet browser on your PC and go to your APK website of your choice. Search for the desired application using the site search bar. Touch to download and select the desktop as your download destination.
  2. Connect your Huawei device to the computer via the USB cable. After connecting, select “File transfer” from the pop-up menu on the Huawei phone.
  3. Open on the Windows PC “This PC” from the Start menu and double-click the Huawei device. Click until you come to a page with a Downloads folder.
  4. Open this folder and drag and drop the downloaded APK file from the desktop to the phone.
  5. When you are done, close all file explorer windows on your computer.
  6. Now Disconnect the USB cable from both the phone and the computer. Your file has been successfully transferred.

Install the APK

  1. From the home screen, open the app drawer and find it Files app. When opening this for the first time, accept permissions.
  2. Crane “Internal memory” and then “To download”. You should now be your “.Apk” file in there.
  3. Tap the file, then tap “to install” at the bottom of the screen. Let it install.
  4. When you are done, you have two options. You can close or open the application. Your app has been successfully installed.

Huawei P40 Pro Huawei App Gallery icon

Now you know how to download and install applications without the need for Google’s Play Store. Some methods are better than others – it depends on where each app is available for download. There are solutions to install the Google Play Store, but that’s another topic for another day.

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