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Tip: If an Android App Update is Not Showing as Available on Your Device, Install From the Web


How many times has a new Android app update been issued for a major app, yet you find yourself without the ability to update on your phone or tablet? All of your friends are showing off the new features, and there you are stuck in times of old, refreshing and tapping frustratingly, hoping that you’ll receive the satisfaction that accompanies the “Update” button. What if there was a way around the wait, at least in most cases? There is, actually. 

I’m surprised we haven’t shared this trick in the past, but never the less, it’s time that we do. Should you know of an app update in the wild, you can almost always install it directly from the web version of Google Play even if your device isn’t showing that you have an update available. As soon as you see the Play store listing of the app change over to today’s date, meaning it was recently updated, you can tap “Install” followed by a selection of the device you wish to install the update on, before sitting back as it updates over-the-air.

Take today’s Google+ update as an example. None of my devices are showing it as being available at this time on device (pictured above), however, I installed it just fine through the web Google Play on both my HTC One and Nexus 7. Also, if you got really desperate and weren’t anywhere near a computer, I’d bet that you can do the same trick through the Chrome browser on your phone.

  • orlando

    Your Stuff is really great !
    excellent tips….

    android apps development in chennai

  • achilles

    This does not work. All it does is bring up my devices, which are not compatible, and will not permit an I stall. Try to download lego star wars yoda.

  • That doesn’t work for all apps. You can’t update Talk to Hangouts unless the latter’s been rolled out to you, even if Hangouts is listed on the desktop site.

  • duke69111

    If you have Titanium backup you can also install their update helper.

  • I’ve been using this trick for awhile! I didn’t even think that I should have mentioned it lol.

  • You can also go to the Google Play, then click on My Android Apps tab at the top and it will show you updates for each of your devices, also lets you remote uninstall.

  • Interesting suggestion. But given the specific error affecting today’s update — a faulty manifest citing a too-narrow range of Android revs (see image) — this ‘trick’ is more than useless.

    In fact, I checked the website (from two desktops) multiple times with no luck; only my DroidX was on the list. Worse, even if you did somehow manage to d/l the app, it wouldn’t work with APIs outside the cited (Froyo – Gingerbread) range.

    As to the folks who posted their ‘Thanks!’ in this thread…well, based on these Disqus timestamps it looks like any such success was coincidental. Every one of them installed the app well *after* Google corrected the problem (approx. 3:50PM, EST).


  • Tried that it still doesn’t work

  • SomeDooD123

    They need to move Messenger+ conversations over to Hangouts, so you can retain the conversation history and get rid of Messenger+.

  • John

    I find the easiest thing to do is to go into Play -> Menu -> Settings -> “clear search history” works great for when my device doesn’t show an update even though there is. Worked everything so far.

  • sdafasdf

    Said my “device wasn’t compatible” but let me install it anyway.

    Annoyed that the Messenger+ option remains there.

    Device: N4

  • What i just did was hit menu, accounts, then reselected my account and G+ update popped up. Not sure if this is a thing or just coincidence. Just putting it out there.

    • Ryan Rangel

      this worked. gracias.

    • Caleb Shahamat

      Also worked for me!

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  • Chiaroscuro7

    Tip addendum: Sometimes I see the app listed as having an update in the “My apps” section of google play on my device, however if I click the app to try and update it – it doesn’t allow me to update. But – many a time if I click on the “update all” icon at the top of the my apps listing (also works if you have only one app update available) – it works just fine.

  • Jeff Tycz

    Another thing that works is to find the app in your “Installed” list click on it let it load click the back button to go back to the list of your apps then click back in the app you want to update and you should see the update button

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    Whenever I hit the issue I back out with the “Anywhere-But-Here” button, and go right back in and the Update selection appears.

    • This trick has worked for me in the past as well.

  • Steve Benson

    I was just able to push Google+ to my GNex finally. Thanks guys.