How do I transfer my Google Play apps to another device?

Transferring apps from one Android device to another is a common task many users face when upgrading to a new phone. It allows you to move your apps, data, and settings to continue where you left off on your old device. This prevents having to manually download and sign in to each app again.

Android offers built-in tools like Google Drive backup and Google Play syncing to transfer apps and app data between devices. You can also use third-party apps to wirelessly transfer app APK files. This guide will cover several methods to move your apps to a new Android phone.


To transfer apps between devices, there are a few key prerequisites:

You’ll need a Google account set up on both devices – this is how your Google Play content is linked to you. The same Google Play account should be logged in to both devices in order to access the same apps and data.

The devices will also need an active internet connection in order to sync and download apps. WiFi is recommended for large app data transfers. Both devices should have the latest version of the Google Play Store app installed.

Some apps and in-app purchases may not be transferable between devices and accounts. Google Play Store purchases and subscriptions are generally linked to your account, while some other in-app purchases could be device-specific.

Before starting the app transfer, double check that both devices meet the requirements and can connect to the internet.

Enable App Syncing

To enable app syncing between your devices, you first need to turn on the Auto-add apps option in the Google Play Store app on your Android phone or tablet:

Open the Play Store app on your device and tap on the menu icon in the top left corner. Select Settings from the menu.

Scroll down and find the Auto-add apps option. Tap on it to toggle it on.

Enabling this setting allows the Play Store to automatically install apps on any Android device signed into the same Google Account, keeping your app library in sync. According to Google support, this feature works best when a strong Wi-Fi connection is available.

Sync Apps on New Device

Once you have enabled app syncing in your Google account settings, it’s easy to get your apps onto a new device. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your new device using the same Google account that has app syncing enabled. This is usually your Gmail address.
  2. After signing in, you may see a prompt asking if you want to sync your apps. Accept this prompt.
  3. Your apps will now begin downloading automatically from the Google Play Store. You don’t have to manually search for and reinstall each one.

The key is signing in to your new device with the same Google account that is configured for app syncing. Once signed in, the Play Store recognizes your account and proceeds to download all of your previously installed apps (source). This makes setting up a new phone or tablet much faster, since you don’t have to waste time finding and installing all your apps again.

Alternative: Export/Import

Another option is to export your apps from your old Android device and then import them to your new device. Here are the steps:

On your old device:

  1. Go to your Google Account settings and select Google Takeout to export your data.
  2. In the export options, select “Android App Data” to export your installed apps.
  3. Wait for the export file to be created. Google will email you a link to download your Takeout file when ready.

On your new device:

  1. Download the Takeout file from the link in the email to your computer.
  2. Transfer the backup file to your new Android device via USB or cloud storage.
  3. Install and open the Migrate app on your new device.
  4. In Migrate, tap “Restore” and select the backup file to restore your apps.

The Migrate app will then batch install all the apps from your old device onto your new Android device. This ensures you don’t lose your apps and data when switching phones.


If you run into issues transferring your apps, here are some troubleshooting tips:

First, check that you are logged into the correct Google account on both devices. Apps can only transfer between devices logged into the same account.

Next, make sure app syncing is enabled in the Play Store app settings on both devices. Syncing allows apps to automatically download on new devices.

If syncing is on but apps still won’t transfer, try exporting your apps from the old device and importing them manually on the new device. This is done through the Play Store app menu.

As a last resort, you can submit a transfer request directly to Google to move your apps to another developer account. However, this can take time and may not always be approved.


While the ability to sync apps between devices via the Google Play Store can be useful, there are some limitations to be aware of:

Some app data may not transfer when syncing apps between devices. For example, saved games, settings, and other user data may not carry over to the new device (Source). This means you may have to log back into apps and reconfigure settings after syncing.

Syncing a large app library from one device to another can be quite slow. The process of installing dozens or hundreds of apps on a new device through the Play Store sync can take hours depending on your internet connection speed (Source). For users with app libraries in the hundreds, it may be faster to manually install their most important apps.


Here are some best practices to follow when transferring Google Play apps to a new device:

Sync over WiFi for large transfers – When transferring a large number of apps or large app data, it is best to sync while connected to WiFi instead of mobile data. This will help avoid data overages or slow transfers.

Manually re-download important apps – Even though apps can sync automatically, it is recommended to manually download critical apps again from the Google Play Store after syncing. This ensures no data corruption occurred during transfer and the app functions properly on the new device.

Enable automatic updates – After syncing apps to the new device, go into the Play Store settings and enable auto-updates. This will ensure your apps stay up-to-date going forward.

Check app data before uninstalling old device – Before factory resetting your old device, open key apps and verify important app data transferred properly. For example, check settings and account info in apps.


In summary, the main steps to transfer Google Play apps to another device are:

  1. Enable app syncing in the Play Console to allow your apps to be transferred.
  2. Add the new device to your Google account and sync the Play Store.
  3. The apps should automatically begin downloading on the new device.

Alternatively, you can export your apps from the Play Console and import them to a new account.

It’s important to do the proper prep work of enabling app syncing and adding devices to your Google account ahead of time. This ensures a smooth transfer process. Following these key steps will allow you to seamlessly transfer your Google Play apps and purchases to any new Android device.


Here are some helpful references on transferring Google Play apps between devices:

Transfer apps to a different developer account:

User Data best practices when transferring apps:

Google’s guide on using BigQuery for Google Play data transfers:

Article on syncing app data across devices: [Article URL]

Guide to seamlessly transferring app purchases and data: [Guide URL]

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