What to do if your Android device won’t download or install apps


Many mobile operating systems have failed due to app compatibility and limitations over the past years. Your ability to use a phone or tablet without apps is incredibly limited.

The same goes for errors and issues that affect your AndroidOS device. Although the operating system supports a wide range of applications, it is still possible for errors to occur which can, if left unresolved, render your smartphone nearly useless. So what can you do if your Android device is not downloading or installing apps?

This article will walk you through some troubleshooting steps and fixes so you can get back to installing apps on your Android device right away.

Android device does not download or install apps

The Google Play Store is quite reliable, so encountering serious complications is rare. But, if you can’t download apps right now, something, somewhere, is wrong. Before moving on to more intuitive solutions, let’s go over some things you should check first.

If you can’t download any apps, check these off your list first:

  • Is your device charged? – Some devices may not allow you to download new apps until your device is more than 15% or even 30% charged.
  • Do you have a stable internet connection? – You may be using cellular data or connected to Wi-Fi but the signal is weak. Try another Wi-Fi network if possible.
  • Have you restarted your device? – A quick restart of your phone often solves most problems; including issues with the Google Play Store.
  • Is the Google Play Store experiencing a system-wide issue? – Check out the downdetector website. Maybe Google has a huge problem and you just need to wait for the developers to fix it.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the quick fix, try downloading an app from the Play Store. If your Android device still fails to download or install apps, here are some solutions you can try.

Check your free space

Whenever you’re troubleshooting a device, it pays to start with the basics. Downloads are dependent on the space available for your download. Most apps are only a few megabytes in size, but some are larger. Do you have enough space on your device? Should I do a spring cleaning before adding new?

First, check the storage space of your devices by following these steps:

To note: Since the Android interface varies by manufacturer and version, our tutorial covers the general specifics that should work for everyone.

  1. Open the Settings on your device and use the magnifying glass to search Storage room.
  2. Press on Storage room in the list that appears.
  3. Check the amount of available storage listed.

If your storage space is full, you can quickly remove rarely used apps by tapping appschoosing the apps you want to remove, then tapping Uninstall.

Now go back to the Google Play Store and try downloading the desired app again. However, if you have a lot of storage, keep reading for more solutions.

Check your network

We mentioned it briefly above, but your network connection has a lot to do with being able to download apps. Whether your downloads are very slow or not happening at all, let’s take a closer look at your internet connection.

Regardless of how you download your apps (using Wi-Fi or cellular data), check that the network you’re connected to is strong enough to maintain the connection. If your WiFi is congested, you’re almost out of range, or you only have a bar or two of signal, you might want to wait until you’re better positioned before downloading your app.

One of the first indicators that you are having network connectivity issues is websites and apps not loading properly. You can run a speed test using your phone’s browser or if you already have the app to check for a strong connection.

If you’re on Wi-Fi, try switching to cellular data. Or, you can try another Wi-Fi network if there is one. If cellular data is your only option, check your Android device settings to make sure background data usage is turned on. You can do this by going to Settings>Applications>Google Play Store>Mobile data & Wireless option. Enable the switch next to Background data.

Restart your device

One of the easiest and most effective methods to fix software problems is to restart the device. Maybe your problems are caused by a simple glitch. A reboot will cause the phone to drop all the code it was processing and start over. The new processes will be loaded into memory and you may be able to download the application without any errors.

Check your time and date settings

Authentication is a mobile process that requires the right time to authenticate your device with Google Play and the download server. Most of our phones automatically sync the date and time with the network, but it’s worth checking.

All you have to do is verify that your operating system is in the correct time zone. If it’s correct, move on. If not, fix it or set it to automatic. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings on your Android device and type date and time in the search bar.
  2. Flip the switch to Automatic date and time for it to light up.
  3. Turn off your phone, then turn it back on and check that the time is updated.

Clear Google Play Store cache

If your Android device is not downloading or installing apps even after all these steps, clearing the Store cache can be helpful. Cache is temporary storage where the Google Play Store saves all the data it uses and/or needs to function. It may be corrupted, so it is worth checking it out.

  1. To select Settings and Apps and Notifications.
  1. To select Google Play Store.
  1. To select Storage room and Empty the cache.
  1. Repeat for Google Play Services and Google Services Framework, if applicable.

Change your Google Play Store permissions

Permissions are usually set automatically, so there’s not always a reason to change them. However, if you’ve come this far and still can’t download or install an app, it’s worth a try.

  1. To select Settings and apps & notices.
  1. To select Google Play Store.
  1. To select Permissions.
  1. Make sure both texting and phone are turned on. Contacts and location are optional, but enable them to test.
  1. To select Google Play Services from apps and permissions.
  2. Make sure permissions are set to “Allow” for Body Sensors, Call Logs, Camera, Contacts, Files & Media, Location, Microphone, SMS, and Phone.
  1. Retest the app download.

Some security apps will affect these settings, preventing the Google Play Store from working properly. If you don’t want all of these services to be available, you can disable them after the test.

Uninstall Google Play updates

It’s no secret that software updates tend to introduce new issues. If the problem you are having with the Play Store started after a software update, you can uninstall the latest version. Sometimes just rolling back to a previous version of the software will fix the problem.

Here’s how to uninstall a Google Play Store update:

  1. Open your phone settings and tap apps & notices.
  1. Scroll down and tap Google Play Store.
  1. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  1. Press on Uninstall updates.

Now restart the Play Store and try to download the app.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having issues with your device is no fun, especially when you can’t use key features like Google Play Store. If you still have questions, keep reading.

What should I do if I accidentally delete the Google Play Store on my Android device?

The Google Play Store is a preloaded app on most Android OS devices. You might have looked in your app drawer and home screen, and you can’t find the little Play Store icon anywhere. Unless you’re using an AndroidOS device that doesn’t come with the native Google Play Store app, the good news is that you haven’t actually deleted it.

Here’s what to do if you can’t find the Google Play Store app on your device anymore:

1. Open Settings and press Apps and Notifications.

2. Scroll down the list until you see Google Play Store. Then tap on it.

3. At the bottom of this new page, you will see the option Activate or Activate. Press it.

4. Go to your app drawer and search for the Google Play Store. It should appear, but you’ll need to add it back to the home screen.

When your Google Play Store app disappears, it’s probably because it’s disabled and not deleted.

What should I do if I can’t update apps?

Among other Play Store issues, you may encounter an error that prevents you from updating apps. The Android operating system relies on the Google Play Store to download most of your apps. Most of the steps we listed above apply to this problem, as well as the inability to install apps. But, you should also try to force stop the app in question as an extra step.

Here’s how to force stop an app on Android:

1. Open the Settings on your device and tap apps & notices.

2. Tap the app you’re having trouble with.

3. Press Force stop on the right side.

Now try to update the app again. If none of the steps we listed work, you can uninstall and reinstall the troublesome app. But, there are times when the apps are no longer supported by the developers. Head over to the Google Play Store and check for developer updates.

If your Android device is not downloading or installing apps, one of the steps above will definitely help you. Do you know of any other ways to make the downloads work? Tell us below if you do!


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