During my time as a Chromebook Expert in big box stores, I’ve seen many business owners large, medium, and even small return their devices after getting them home and realizing that the Google Play Store was not able to be used on them out of the box. What they didn’t realize is that consumer Chromebooks bought in a retail store are not set up for enterprise usage.
It’s understandable though that running up to a Best Buy or Walmart and buying a bunch of Chromebooks instead of having to wait for a concierge to communicate with them and dealing with extra logistics is just easier and faster – especially in small businesses where there are just a few employees that are using Google Workspace accounts.
It continually frustrated me that I couldn’t do something about the misconception. They thought that there was some problem with the laptops when in reality, they didn’t realize that there are a few steps they need to take in order to enable the Google Play Store. Google has intentionally made it this way to protect businesses. If employees can just install any and all Google Play Apps without their boss or manager first deciding that it’s okay as a part of their company’s operations, then it could potentially bring about legal or ethical issues, and no one wants that.
Today, I’m going to show you as a Google Workspace admin how to enable the Google Play Store on your store-bought Chromebooks so that you and your employees or students can start using “Android apps” to expand their device’s capabilities! Simply follow the below steps in order and understand that I’ve extracted the information for simplicity from Google’s support article on the matter – If you want to enable extra options or specify organizational units during this process and I don’t cover everything, please refer to their official documentation using the blue button at the bottom of this article!
- Visit your Google Admin Console
- Click on “Apps”
- Click on “Additional Google Services”
- Make sure that “Google Play” and “Google Play Console” are both “ON for everyone”. If they’re not, click each one and choose the Service Status dropdown to change it.
- Next, go back to your dashboard and click “Devices”
- Click “Chrome” on the top left of the sidebar
- From the dropdown that appears, select “Apps & Extensions”
- On the left, you’ll see your users and organizational units listed. Select the one you’d like to enable the Play Store for.
- In the main body of the window, you’ll see ‘Allow users to install other apps & extensions’. Make sure that the dropdown is set to ‘Allow all other apps & extensions’ unless you want to only allow apps from the Google Play Store or the Chrome Web Store (You can also block both of them here for future reference!)
- On the far right of the screen, you’ll see a cogwheel icon (a gear) – click it, and then next to the first option under “Additional application settings” which will be called “Android applications on Chrome devices”, choose the drop-down and make sure “Allow” is selected.
- You can also enable Android reporting for users and devices at the bottom of this screen if you’d like to.
- At the top right of the screen click ‘Save’.
Before you or your employees or students can see the Google Play Store appear on their Chromebooks, make sure that you verify that the devices are up to date, and then restart them. After that, verify that the Google Play Store is enabled in
Settings > Apps. Changes to your Admin console usually take a few minutes, but they could take up to an hour to apply to everyone, so keep this in mind if the Google Play Store does not appear on the Chromebook’s shelf or in the launcher right away. We’ll see if we can put out a video tutorial on this in the near future. Awesome, that’s it – Appy browsing!