How to Download Apps That are No Longer in Your Phone's App Store

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Key Takeaways

  • Apps can disappear from app stores if the developer no longer supports them, lacks resources, or is dissolved completely.
  • If an app is removed by the app store owner itself, it is most likely gone forever and cannot be easily retrieved.
  • For iOS users, they can still download apps that are no longer available by going to the “Purchased” section in the App Store. Android users can either get them from the Google Play Store or sideload them using APK Mirror.

Smartphone app stores are well established at this point, and as much as we love to see new apps become available, that also means the inevitable: sometimes apps go away. Here’s what you can do if your favorites disappear.

Why Do Apps Disappear?

Before we talk about how you can get apps that are no longer available to download from your phone’s respective app store, let’s first talk about why apps get removed in the first place.

Generally, this is a call by the developer; the app gets pulled because they no longer support it. Case in point: Epic Games once pulled all versions of Infinity Blade from the iOS App Store for that exact reason. The company claimed a lack of resources to support the games “at a level that meets [their] current standards.” Makes sense —if you’re going to do something, might as well do it right, after all.

More often than not, this is how it goes. The app becomes more trouble than it’s worth to continue supporting, its features get moved into another app from the same developer (and there’s no need for redundancy), or the developer is dissolved completely.

The good news is that if the app you’re looking for isn’t available for any of those reasons, you should still be able to re-download it if you’ve previously had it downloaded (this is especially true for paid apps).

That said, it’s worth noting that if the app is removed by the app store owner itself —Apple in the case of the iOS App Store or Google for the Play Store —then it’s most likely gone forever. If they pulled it, there’s a good reason for that, so you can’t expect to get it back easily.

If the app is no longer in the app store, however, here’s the easiest way to get it back for both Android or iOS devices.

How to Download Apps That Are No Longer in the iOS App Store

If you’re an iOS user, your options are pretty limited —you have to get your apps from the App Store. Fortunately, if you bought or downloaded an app that is no longer available, you can probably still grab it.

First, fire up the App Store, then tap on the account icon in the top right corner.

Profile icon in the Apple App Store main page.

From there, tap on “Purchased” (the App Store counts any download, even free, as a “purchase”).

Purchased apps option in the App Store.

To see all the apps that aren’t already on your phone or iPad (which is the likely scenario if you’re trying to pull something that’s no longer in the App Store), tap on “Not on this iPhone/iPad.”

Sorting for apps 'Not on this iPhone' in the App Store.

From there, you can scroll through the list to find the app you want to install, then tap the little cloud icon to download it. Easy peasy.

How to Download Apps That Are No Longer in Google Play

While you only have one option to download deprecated apps on iOS, there are a couple of ways to do this on Android: get it from the Google Play Store or download the APK and sideload the app. While the former is the most straightforward way, the latter offers a way to install apps that have been removed from Google Play completely.

How to Install Removed Apps from Google Play

First, open the Play Store, then tap your profile icon and select “Manage Apps & Device” from the menu.

Manage Apps and Device in the Google Play Store.

Switch over to the “Manage” tab and tap the “Installed” drop-down menu. Select “Not Installed.”

Apps not installed on device in the Google Play Store.

This is a list of every app you’ve previously installed on your Google account that’s not on your device. It’s pretty interesting to scroll through this list, especially if you’ve been an Android user for a long time. Select all the apps you’d like to restore and tap the install button in the top right.

Install old apps in the Google Play Store.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to search this list, so if you’re looking for an older app, it could take quite a while to find it by scrolling through.

The good news is that you have another option: sideload the APK.

How to Sideload Apps That Are No Longer in Google Play

APKMirror app listing.

Sorting through an insane list of apps can be a huge pain, so in that case, it can be easier to sideload the app.

If you’ve never done this before, you’ll probably want to take a look at our full tutorial on sideloading apps on Android. It’s not a complicated process, but how you do it will depend on which version of Android your phone is running.

If you have sideloaded apps before and just need a good place to find something that is no longer in the Play Store, APK Mirror is your answer. It’s the best place on the net to grab Android apps to sideload. It’s a trustworthy source that only features free apps (there are no pirated apps on APK Mirror), and every app is legitimate. It’s also worth mentioning that there are several versions of some apps depending on the model of your phone and the hardware details. Make sure you know which APK is the correct version for your device.


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