Epic Games’ battle royale hit Fortnite was released on Android devices in 2018 with a big catch: it was only available on Samsung-made phones for a few days to help market the then-new Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
At the time, prospective players had to deal with a waiting list and/or a limited selection of qualified Android phones. It’s a lot easier these days, but you still have to download it directly from Epic. (According to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, this is primarily to avoid paying Google’s 30% cut on in-app purchases.) Epic is distributing the game on all compatible Android devices through its website and a Fortnite Installer program.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get prepared and understand the best way to start playing Fortnite on Android. But, before we get into the nitty-gritty, a word of caution:
AVOID THE PLAY STORE
To begin with, do not download anything from the Google Play Store or a third-party web source. Epic has stated that it will only distribute Fortnite on Android via its website and Samsung’s Galaxy Store. When you search for the game on the Play Store, you’ll get a simple “No results” message. (Because of concerns about malware-laden fake versions, Google used to return a special warning that read, “Fortnite Battle Royale by Epic Games, Inc is not available on Google Play.”
GET THE INSTALLER FIRST, THEN THE GAME.
You’ll need to download two separate applications due to the unique distribution model used here. The first is the Fortnite Installer, which is an official APK file that installs the game.
Depending on the version of Android you have and your existing security settings, you may need to disable special permissions in your Android settings that allow you to download third-party applications. Following that, you’ll have to go through a series of download sequences that are a little more involved than your typical app installation.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you’ll do:
- If you have a Samsung phone, you can download the Epic Games installer from the Galaxy Store. You can then proceed to step 6.
- Otherwise, go straight to Epic’s website. You’ll be directed to a page that suggests you either visit fortnite.com/android on your phone or scan a QR code.
- Regardless of the method, you select, you will be directed to a page with instructions on what to expect. You’ll also see a pop-up window for the installer; click “Open.”
- You will most likely receive a security warning stating that your phone is not permitted to install unknown apps from that source. Select “Settings.” You can enable “Allow from this source” on a page labeled “Install unknown apps.”
- You will then be prompted to install the app. Select “Install.” When the “App install” pop-up appears, tap “Done.”
- The Epic Games installer will appear on your homepage and in your phone’s app list. You may also receive an APK download notification. Tap on the icon or the APK notification to open it.
- You’ll be taken to a page with the Fortnite logo. Tap on that, followed by “Install.”
- You’ll almost certainly get that message about installing unknown apps again. Again, go to Settings and turn on “Allow from this source.”
- After that, the app will install, load any updates, and open.
When it’s finished, you should be able to launch Fortnite, log into your account, and begin playing. Epic has previously advised users to keep the Fortnite Installer program because it will be in charge of updating the game with new patches.