Smartphone app stores are well established by this point, and while we love seeing new apps become available, it also means the inevitable: sometimes apps disappear. Here’s what you can do if your bookmarks disappear.
Why do apps disappear?
Before talking about how you can get apps that are no longer available for download from your phone’s respective app store, let’s first talk about why apps get deleted in the first place.
Typically this is a developer call; the app is retired because it no longer supports it. Case in point: Epic Games recently removed all versions of Infinity Blade from the iOS App Store for this exact reason. The company argued the lack of resources to support games “at a level that [their] current standards. That makes sense – if you want to do something, you might as well do it right, after all.
More often than not, that’s how it goes. The application becomes more problematic than it is worth continuing to support, its functionality is moved to another application from the same developer (and there is no need for redundancy), or the developer is completely disbanded .
The good news is that if the app you’re looking for isn’t available for any of these reasons, you should still be able to redownload it if you’ve already downloaded it (this is especially true for paid apps).
That said, it’s worth noting that if the app was removed by the company from the App Store itself — Apple in the case of the iOS App Store or Google for the Play Store — then it’s probably gone for always. If they pulled it, there’s a good reason for it, 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 Android or iOS devices.
How to Download Apps That Are No Longer in the iOS App Store
If you are an iOS user, your options are quite limited: you duty get your apps from the App Store. Luckily, if you purchased or downloaded an app that’s no longer available, you can probably still get it back.
First, launch the App Store and then tap the account icon in the top right corner.
From there, tap on “Purchased”.
To see all apps that aren’t already on your phone or iPad (which is the likely scenario if you’re trying to extract something that’s no longer in the App Store), tap “Not on this iPhone/ iPad”.
From there, you can scroll down to find the app you want to install, then tap the little cloud icon to the right to download it. Peasy easy.
How to Download Apps That Are No Longer in Google Play
Although you only have one option to download outdated apps on iOS, there are several ways to do it on Android: get it from the Google Play Store or download the APK and load the application. While the former is the easiest way, the latter offers a way to install apps that have been completely removed from Google Play.
How to Install Removed Apps from Google Play
First, open the Play Store, then open the menu by tapping on the three lines at the top left (inside the search box).
From there choose “My apps & games”.
Once this menu is open, choose “Library”. This lists all the apps you have downloaded from Google Play.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to search this list, so if you’re looking for an older app, it might take a while to find it by scrolling through it.
The good news is that you have another option: sideloading the APK.
How to sideload apps that are no longer in Google Play
Sorting through a crazy list of apps can be a huge pain, so in that case it might be easier to sideload the app.
If you’ve never downloaded an app before, you’ll probably want to take a look at our comprehensive tutorial. It’s not a complicated process, but how you do it will depend on the version of Android your phone uses.
Soon: How to Download Apps on Android
If you have downloaded apps before and just need a good place to find something that is no longer in the Play Store, Mirror APK is your answer. This is the best place on the net to grab Android apps for download. It is a reliable source that presents only free apps (there are no pirated apps on APK Mirror), and every app is legit. It is also worth mentioning that there are multiple versions of some apps depending on your phone model and hardware details. If you don’t know which APK you need to install, check out this introduction.
So, for example, if you want to install Skitch (a now defunct Evernote app). You would just catch APK Mirror APK and install it on your device by following the instructions above. Nothing to do!