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How do I add apps to my NOOK Color?

The NOOK Color is a popular 7-inch tablet made by Barnes & Noble that runs a customized version of Android. One of the great things about the NOOK is that you can add new apps to extend its functionality beyond just reading ebooks. Adding apps to your NOOK Color opens up a world of possibilities – from productivity apps like calendar and email clients, to games, social media, streaming video and more.

While the NOOK Color doesn’t have access to the full Google Play Store, there are still several ways to get apps on your device. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the different methods for finding and installing apps on your NOOK Color.

Enabling Apps on Your NOOK

Out of the box, the ability to install non-NOOK apps is disabled on the NOOK Color. So the first step is to enable third-party app support. This is a simple setting change:

1. Go to your NOOK Color’s Settings screen
2. Select “Security”
3. Turn on “Allow Non-B&N Downloads”

This will allow you to install apps from sources other than the official Barnes & Noble NOOK Store.

NOOK App Store

While limited compared to the full Google Play Store, the NOOK App Store does offer a decent selection of popular apps optimized for NOOK devices. Here are some of the categories available:

– Games – Puzzle games, arcade games, card games and more.
– Entertainment – Streaming music, video and podcast apps.
– Social – Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps.
– Productivity – Email, calendar, contacts, file managers.
– Lifestyle – Apps for cooking, fitness, sports, travel.
– Education – Flashcards, language learning, brain training games.

Category Example Apps
Games Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Solitaire
Entertainment Pandora, Netflix, Stitcher
Social Facebook, Twitter
Productivity Documents to Go, Quickoffice Pro
Lifestyle, MapMyFitness
Education Flashcards+, Rosetta Stone

To browse and download apps from the NOOK App Store:

1. On your NOOK, tap the “Shop” button at the bottom of the screen.
2. Select “Apps”
3. Browse or search for apps by category or name
4. When you find an app you want, tap on it and then tap “Buy” to purchase and download it.

The major downside of the NOOK App Store is that it has a smaller selection compared to other app stores like Google Play. But it’s worth browsing as many popular apps are available there.

Google Play Store

With a few extra steps, you can gain access to the full Google Play Store on your NOOK Color, opening up over 3 million apps. Here’s how:

1. On your computer, download the Google Play Store APK file. This is the installation file for the Play Store app.

2. Connect your NOOK to your computer via USB cable.

3. Copy the APK file into the root folder on your NOOK.

4. Disconnect from your computer.

5. On your NOOK, use a file manager app to find the APK file. Tap on it to launch the installer.

6. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the Google Play Store.

Once installed, open the Play Store app on your NOOK and log in with your Google account. You now have access to search, browse and install apps just like on any Android device.

The major benefit of getting the Google Play Store on your NOOK is the much wider selection of apps. Pretty much any popular app you want will be available. The only drawback is that not all apps work perfectly on the NOOK due to its older hardware and customized OS. But most should function just fine.

Amazon Appstore

Another option for finding more apps is to install the Amazon Appstore on your NOOK Color. Similar to the Google Play Store method above, you’ll need to sideload the Appstore APK onto your device first.

Benefits of the Amazon Appstore:

– Over 400,000 apps, while smaller than Google Play, still has a good selection.

– It features a “Free App of the Day” as well as discounts and deals.

– The apps are tested and optimized for the NOOK’s 7-inch tablet form.

The steps to get the Amazon Appstore on your NOOK are:

1. From your computer, download the latest version of the Amazon Appstore APK.

2. Connect your NOOK to the computer via USB and transfer the APK file over.

3. On your NOOK, open the file manager, find the APK and tap to install.

4. Launch the Amazon Appstore and sign in with your Amazon account.

5. You can now search, download and install free and paid apps.

The Amazon Appstore strikes a good balance between the limited NOOK Store and huge Google Play Store. It provides a solid app selection optimized for 7-inch tablets.


GetJar is an independent app store that can be installed on many devices, including the NOOK Color. It offers over 400,000 Android apps to choose from.

Here’s how to add GetJar:

1. Go to GetJar’s website on your computer and create an account.

2. Follow the instructions on GetJar to prepare your NOOK for installing apps outside of official app stores. This allows sideloading.

3. Download the GetJar app from their website onto your computer.

4. Transfer the GetJar app file to your NOOK Color.

5. Open the file to launch the installer. Allow permissions to install outside apps.

6. Once installed, open GetJar and log in with your account. Browse and download apps.

GetJar offers both paid and free apps. You can filter search results specifically for NOOK optimized apps. While the catalog is not as extensive as Google Play, there is a good variety to choose from.

Third-Party App Stores

There are a number of smaller third-party app stores that can be installed on the NOOK Color, similar to GetJar. These include:

– **1Mobile** – Over 100,000 free and paid apps specifically for Android tablets and phones.

– **AppsLib** – Features over 70,000 apps across a variety of categories.

– **SlideMe** – Offers apps, games, themes and launchers to customize your NOOK.

– **Mobango** – Database of over 100,000 free apps sorted into various categories.

The general process for these third-party stores is:

1. Download the app store’s APK file from their website.

2. Transfer the APK to your NOOK Color.

3. Install the app store.

4. Open the app and sign up for an account.

5. Search and download apps you want.

The selection on these smaller app stores may not be as robust as the major ones. But they can be worth checking out for unique apps not found elsewhere.

Direct APK Downloads

You can also download APK installer files for Android apps directly without going through an app store. Many apps will host their APK on their website, allowing you to download and sideload onto your NOOK.

For example, if you want to install the Skype app, you can:

1. Go to Skype’s website on your computer.

2. Find the APK download link and save the file.

3. Transfer the APK to your NOOK Color.

4. Open the file to launch Skype’s installer.

5. Skype will now be installed on your NOOK.

This method allows you to install apps not found in any of the app stores above. However, proceeding with caution is advised as directly downloading APKs can be risky. Make sure to only download reputable apps from known developers.

You can also find collections of safe, verified APK files on sites like and These provide downloads for many popular Android apps.

Paid App Considerations

When installing paid apps, you’ll need to make sure your payment method works properly on your NOOK Color. Credit cards or PayPal accounts are accepted in most app stores.

The Google Play Store can sometimes be problematic with paid NOOK apps. An alternative is to purchase a Google Play gift card from a retailer and redeem it using your NOOK. This will add Store credit to make purchases.

For Amazon Appstore, you can load up an Amazon gift card balance ahead of time to buy paid apps or make in-app purchases.

Many paid apps offer free trial or “lite” versions to allow you to test them out before spending money.

How to Install Downloaded APK Files

Once you’ve downloaded an APK file from one of the sources above, installing it on your NOOK Color is simple:

1. Transfer the APK file to your NOOK, either via USB or cloud storage like Dropbox.

2. Open your file manager app on the NOOK to find the APK.

3. Tap the file. You may need to allow installations from “Unknown Sources”.

4. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the app.

5. The app icon will now appear on your NOOK’s app screen.

You can also configure your NOOK to install APKs directly after downloading them from a web browser. Enable “Complete action using” and select Package Installer as the default.

Some apps like launchers may require an extra reboot or manual launch after installing before appearing. But otherwise the process is quick and painless in most cases.

How to Organize Your Apps

Once you start downloading lots of great new apps from different sources, your NOOK’s home screen can start looking cluttered. Here are some tips for keeping your apps neat and organized:

– Use folders – Drag app icons together into folders by category.

– Add home screen panels – Swipe left/right to add more home screens for apps.

– Resize widgets – Shrink less used widgets to make room for app icons.

– Utilize the Favorites tray – Add your most-used apps here for quick access.

– Remove unused apps – Get rid of apps you no longer need to free up space.

– Use third-party launchers – Replace the default launcher with one that offers more customization options.

– Adjust icon size – Switch to a smaller icon grid to fit more on each home screen.

Taking the time to logically organize your apps helps you find what you need more quickly and efficiently use your NOOK.

How to Update Apps

Over time, apps will release new versions with added features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Updating your apps ensures you have the latest and greatest.

App updates are handled by whichever app store you downloaded them from:

– For NOOK App Store apps, updates are handled automatically.

– Google Play Store apps can update automatically or manually. Enable auto-update in Play Store settings.

– Amazon Appstore apps can update manually or automatically. Toggle auto-update on each app page.

– Third-party stores usually require manually updating apps via the store’s interface.

You can also enable automatic updates for all apps in your NOOK’s general Settings menu. This will cover any eligible apps. Check this setting after installing new apps.

Updating frequently ensures your apps run smoothly and have all the newest features and security enhancements. Don’t ignore those update notifications!

How to Remove Apps

Over time you may accumulate apps on your NOOK Color that you no longer use. It’s a good idea to remove unused apps to free up storage space and reduce clutter on your home screen.

Removing apps is easy:

– Press and hold on an app icon until your home screen zooms out.
– Drag the unwanted app up to the “Remove” trash can icon at the top of the screen.
– Alternatively, you can go to Settings > Apps > Select the app > Uninstall.

For apps from the Google Play Store, you can also remotely uninstall them from the Play Store app or website.

Remember that removing an app deletes all of its data as well. So be sure to backup any data you want to keep first!

It’s smart to do a purge of unneeded apps every so often to keep your NOOK running smoothly. Removing apps you don’t use improves system performance and stability over time.

How to Create App Shortcuts

Adding app shortcuts to your home screen provides quick one-tap access to features of that app. This can save you time versus opening the full app first.

Most apps will automatically create common shortcuts on install. But you can manually add any app shortcut you want:

1. Press and hold on an empty spot on your home screen.
2. Tap “Widgets” then select “Activities” at the bottom.
3. Find your desired app and choose a shortcut action.
4. The shortcut will be added to your home screen.

Some handy shortcuts include creating a new email, new calendar event, Google search, specific game levels, music playlists and more. Get creative and make shortcuts for app features you use all the time.

How to Manage App Permissions

Android apps request permission to access certain data and hardware functions on your device. It’s important to manage these permissions for privacy and security.

Review each app’s permissions:

1. Go to Settings > Apps.
2. Select the app.
3. Tap Permissions.
4. Toggle permissions on or off as desired.

Also be careful when granting permissions during initial app setup. Only enable what seems absolutely necessary.

You can reset all permissions if your device begins acting suspicious. Go to Settings > Backup & Reset > Reset App Preferences.

Handling app permissions properly protects your personal data and prevents misuse of functions like the microphone or camera.

Troubleshooting FAQ

**Q: Some apps I install keep crashing or freezing on my NOOK. What should I do?**

A: Try rebooting your NOOK and clearing the app’s cache/data. The app may not be fully compatible with your model. Check for NOOK-optimized alternatives or install the latest updates.

**Q: Can I get apps on my NOOK without a credit card?**

A: Yes, many apps are free. For paid apps, you can purchase and redeem Google Play or Amazon gift cards instead of using a credit card.

**Q: Help! I installed a problematic app and can’t delete it!**

A: Try accessing your NOOK in Safe Mode, then uninstalling the problematic app from there. You can also factory reset your NOOK if needed, just be sure to backup data first.

**Q: Some apps I install from the Play Store disappear from my NOOK. Why?**

A: This is likely due to an incompatibility causing the app to crash immediately on opening. Try finding an APK version designed specifically for NOOK tablets.

**Q: I want to make sure my apps are up-to-date. Is there an easy way to update them all?**

A: Yes, enable auto-update options in the Play Store, Amazon Appstore and your device Settings to automatically receive app updates in the background.


While the NOOK Color comes preloaded with some great apps for ebooks, news and media, the real fun comes from expanding its capabilities by downloading new apps from various stores.

With the methods outlined in this guide, you can access hundreds of thousands of apps to customize your NOOK, increase productivity, find great games, stream video and music, stay connected on social networks, and so much more.

Experiment with different app stores to find the selection that suits your needs. Keep your apps organized in folders and on home screen panels for easy access. Remember to update your apps regularly and remove those you no longer use.

Unleashing the wider world of Android apps transforms the NOOK Color from a simple e-reader into a powerful tablet perfect for work or play. So unlock your NOOK’s full potential and start downloading some great apps today!