How to download music from Google Play

This is a two-part question: how to download your own content on Google Play, either uploaded or bought, and how to listen to music offline (we recently shared how to save radio stations for offline listening too). Google Play Music is a one-stop shop for many of us, and it certainly covers a lot of the bases for streaming music and paid purchases. But sometimes you really just need to have some music on your local storage. Here’s how to do it.AndroidPIT Play Music All Access - How to download music from Google Play
Note: not all Play Music features are available in all countries and some require an All Access pass. In this case, any downloaded content will only remain on your phone while your subscription is active.
In your Playlists, you’ll find Free & Purchased (right) in your Auto-Playlists. / © AndroidPIT/Google

If you’ve previously stored your own collection of paid or uploaded content in the Play Music’s locker, you can grab it again anytime you would like. Go to Auto-Playlists and into Free & Purchased. Whenever you play a track from this list, it will be cached and available even when you’re offline. If you clear the cache in the Play Music settings or in your Android settings menu, you will lose the songs from your device (as it has not actually been downloaded). While this is not technically downloading, it is a handy trick.

AndroidPIT Play Music Keep On Device - How to download music from Google Play
On the left you can see my Last Added playlists are already ”pinned” for offline listening. On the right you can see a new album that gives me the option to ”keep on device”. / © AndroidPIT/Google

If you want to download for real, you’ll need your computer. Simply find the track or album you want in Free & Purchased (in the web-based Play Music) and click the overflow button (three stacked dots) and then Download. That’s it – you can then transfer it to your Android with a USB cable or wirelessly as you normally would. Please note that you can only download a track twice. If you want to download multiple items at once, just hold shift when you click the titles and then right click to bring up the menu with the Download option. You can also install Google Play’s Music Manager on your PC if you want to download and manage your entire collection. Shared music cannot be downloaded however.

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Signs your Android device is infected with malware (and what to do about it)

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Credit:flickr photo by trophygeek

Here are a few of the malware protection apps you can download from Google Play:


Malwarebytes, long a provider of PC malware protection software, on Wednesday unveiled its first mobile software for Android devices.

The company says its free Android app covers more than 200 malware families and their variants, including “thousands of malware types, Trojans, backdoors, and spyware.”

I already have Lookout (more on that below) on my HTC One and Nexus 7, but downloaded Malwarebytes onto my smartphone to try it out. The app scanned my device in less than a minute and declared it malware-free.

Malwarebytes also has a Privacy Manager that details which third-party apps on your Android device are accessing personal information such as your accounts, calendar, security settings, storage, text messages and more. (It’s a large number, and I’ll get into this personal information access issue in another article.)


I’ve used the free version of Lookout Security & Antivirus since I bought my devices a couple of months ago. It’s pretty comprehensive as far as scanning and protecting my devices from threats — open Lookout and it shows you a list of apps with their security status (“Evernote is safe,” “Waze is safe,” etc.).

Lookout’s settings allow users to determine whether the app automatically scans their devices weekly (which is what I do), daily or not at all. If you choose the latter (which I don’t recommend), Lookout has a “Scan Now” button you can press to launch a scan.

Lookout is very popular, with more than 40 million downloads and nearly a half-million reviews on Google Play, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

AVG Antivirus

This is an app I don’t have, but I’ve used AVG for years on my PC. AVG’s free mobile app for Android has been downloaded more than 70 million times and is even more highly rated than Lookout (4.6 average rating from nearly 679,000 reviewers).

Updated just last week with new permissions and auto power-saving to reduce battery consumption, AVG Antivirus scans apps, settings, files and media for viruses, malware and spyware. And while this has nothing to do with malware, AVG Antivirus also will kill tasks that slow your device — a nice feature.

AVG also offers a free antivirus app for tablets in Google Play, but I’m not sure how it differs from the other mobile version.

Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus

Another company well-known for its PC protection software, Avast protects your Android device by scanning installed apps and memory card content, as well as new apps when they’re first used. Users also can schedule automatic scans of their Android devices with Avast.

This is another highly rated app, with a 4.6 average rating in Google Play from 425,000 reviewers.

There are dozens of other malware protection apps in the Google Play store. As far as which one to choose, I don’t recommend any of the apps cited above over each other. My recommendation is to stick with a familiar name that has a lot of reviews (at least 100,000) and a high rating. There’s no need to be blazing a trail when it comes to your device’s security.

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Not sure what music to listen to, just ask Google Now on Android to “play some music”

OKGoogleMusicFeelingLucky - Not sure what music to listen to, just ask Google Now on Android to “play some music”

Google is well known for its shenanigans and easter eggs when it comes to search, just try a Google search for “askew” to see them in action. So when Google Now on Android gets a cool new voice activated feature, I wonder if it is an easter egg or a full blown feature. This time around, try following up “Okay, Google” with “play some music” and you’ll get an “I’m feeling lucky” radio station fired up in the Google Play Music app.

The “I’m feeling lucky” radio station pertains to All Access users, but don’t worry if you do not subscribe to All Access, it will instead fire up an “I’m feeling lucky” instant mix out of your music. Assuming you’ve taken the time to upload your tunes to Google’s Play Music cloud storage, and have the latest Google Play Music app installed, of course.

To take advantage of this cool feature, in addition to the Play Music app, you’ll need to be running Android 4.1 or higher and have the latest Google Search app installed. If you do not know what I’m talking about, simply swipe up from the Home button on your device, if the Google Now search tool pops up, you are on the right track.

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Recordense for Android is a stylish recorder for annotating audio with notes

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A quick peruse in Google Play reveals there’s no shortage of audio recording apps at your disposal. Some are pretty basic, while some offer more advanced functionality such as time-tags, and the ability to annotate recordings with photos.

The latest one to hit our radar goes by the name of Recordense, which is a really nicely-designed app that shows a lot of potential. In a nutshell, it lets you mark and tag any part of a recording in real-time, and allocate a category to it. It’s pretty simple stuff, but we took a quick peek under the hood to see exactly what it does.

Recordense: The lowdown

Perhaps one of the app’s biggest flaws, is when you first launch it. You’re greeted by what’s basically a blank screen, with the record button just about visible at the top-right hand side of the app. Over time, the more recordings you make, this blank canvas will be filled with your recordings, but it doesn’t look overly engaging for first-time users. We are, however, told that this will be remedied with the next release of the app, when a large record button will be included by default on the opening screen.

At any rate, for now you will see a giant record button, but only when you tap the little icon at the top.

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New malware tries to infect Android devices via USB cable

USBcable - New malware tries to infect Android devices via USB cable

Gone are the days when only downloading from Google Play was enough to stay safe. Anti-virus and security company Symantec has released details of a new piece of Windows malware that tries to infect Android devices when they are plugged into a compromised PC.

The new malware, called Trojan.Droidpak, installs itself as a system service on a Windows PC and then downloads a malicious banking .apk file. It will also probably download the Android debugging tool ADB. Once ADB is installed the malware will wait for an Android device to be connected and then install the banking trojan via sideloading. The good news is that USB debugging needs to be enabled in the Android device for this to work.

The malicious Android app is a variant of Android.Fakebank.B and installs itself as a clone of the Google Play Store. It will then look for certain Korean online banking apps and prompt the user to delete them and install malicious versions from the fake Play Store. The malicious app can also intercept SMS messages and forward them on to a server that is undoubtedly used to help bypass the SMS authentication systems used by the banks.

Although the currently active versions of this malware target Korean banks, the same setup could be used to sideload a huge variety of malware that target banks all around the world, or sideload other types of malware like premium rate SMS apps.

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Here’s How To Optimise Your App For The Google Play Store

The Google Play store will probably be a bigger player over the next 5-10 years because of the open source nature of the Android platform. Also, since this is a Google product, the store has access to search indexes collected by Google. Yes, that means back to some traditional link building for the Google Play store! Below are some quick tips on optimizing for your app in the Google Play Store from our friends over at Search Engine Journal:

On-Page Optimization

  1. App Title: The foundation of any optimization is the title tag. This is very similar to a website’s title tag. Make sure it is descriptive and clearly explains what the app does. Due to android being used by many brands and different screen sizes, it’s hard to tell how many characters are optimal. The best strategy is to keep the app title as short as possible, so that searchers can read it in its entirety. Nothing kills user experience more than a lengthy title that gets truncated because it’s too long.
  2. App Description: Very similar to the Meta Description tag on a website. Clearly and effectively explain what the app is, what it does, and its benefits. Again, since there is no actual website, this content will be your primary leveraging mechanism to market your app. Hire a professional copy writer if you must. There is a 4000 character limit on descriptions – use it wisely.
  3. App Icon: believe it or not, the actual icon of the app does make a difference. Look at all the large, popular brands (Facebook, Twitter). They all have one thing in common – an iconic logo/brand. Make sure your icon or logo clearly and creatively expresses your app.
  4. App Type: Google divides apps into two main “types.” They are “applications” and “games.” Mark your app appropriately.
  5. App Screenshot: Everyone likes to see what an app/software or game looks like. Humans are visual creatures, so use this to your advantage and display some eye-catching screen shots of your app in action.

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Google makes Android Device Manager app for mobile devices

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In one of the more curious moves by Google, a few months ago when they launched the new Android Device Manager, users could only access the service via a web browser. That has changed with Google’s release of the Android Device Manager app to Google Play. The app brings all the same tools to your smartphone or tablet that you get from the desktop, like the ability to locate devices, lock devices remotely, reset lock PINs, and even erase all data on a device. This could be especially useful for users who have more than one Android device as they can now find, track and manage their other devices.

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How To Turn Off Auto App Updates on Android


Open up the Google Play Store App from your App Drawer or where you have it located.

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Choose Apps and then go to Settings by using the capacitive button to the left of the Home Button.

Once you reach the Settings Window select Auto-Update Apps.

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On the menu pop-up that appears choose Do not auto-update apps. You’re done.

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By Warner Crocker
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