The Google Play Store is often taken for granted. As long as it works, people don’t explore the settings, but are they right for you? The Play Store app could be set up to drain you battery and use your data unnecessarily.
All it takes is a few minutes of your time to check and configure the Google Play Store app and with the right settings there is less hassle, your phone battery will last longer and data usage is reduced.
Open the Play Store app and tap the menu button in the top left corner, then select Settings in the panel that opens on the left. Here is a rundown of the settings:
Auto-update apps: Tap this and select Do not auto-update apps. Why? Apps are updated quite often and because you have so many on your phone or tablet, there will be one or more apps to update every day. This puts a strain on the battery because it requires extra power to download and install updates, and it can use your data allowance if some of the other settings are incorrect.
Another problem that can occur is when apps run in the background, they are stopped to install the update and sometimes they are not started again. This means that an app you might rely on to work in the background, is not actually running. Phones and tablets with 3G have an additional option and this is to auto-update apps i=only over Wi-Fi. If you do have this auto-update option turned on, you should set Wi-Fi only or you'll burn through your data allowance in no time at all.
With auto-update turned off, you must manually check for updates. To do this, go to the Apps section of the Play Store, tap the menu and tap My Apps. All the updates are listed and you can choose the ones you want or update them all with one tap.
Add icon to Home screen: The home screens are customisable and you can place your favourite apps and widgets there. This option should be ticked because it saves you having to hunt for the app and manually add it to the home screen. It is easy enough to remove (tap, hold drag to trash) if you don’t want it.
Clear local search history: Why bother? It does no harm to leave it or clear it.
App updates available: Do you want to be notified when there is an update to an app? This setting is best turned off and the reason is because there are always updates for apps, except for about five minutes after you just updated everything. It becomes annoying seeing the notifications all the time.
Apps were auto-updated: This is best turned on, but it does not matter if auto-update apps is turned off, which it should be.
Content filtering: If you are setting up a phone or tablet for a child you will want to use this setting to limit what they can access in the Play Store. Tap it and select from low, medium and high maturity, show all apps and so on. It is your choice.
Require authentication for purchases: Authentication basically means that you need to enter your password. The most secure option is to require it for every single purchase. It can become tedious if you are purchasing several items at once, so there is an option to require it only after 30 minutes. You can buy lots of stuff in quick succession and only enter your password once. The main danger is that you buy an app for your child and hand the phone or tablet to them. For the next 30 minutes they can buy as much as they want and no password is required. Beware of setting this option to anything but For all purchases.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 22 May 2015