Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world right now. Consequently, Google Play Store is the most used App store as well. It hosts over 2.5 Million Apps and boasts over 15 Billion downloads per month. A common issue that a lot of users have encountered is when Google Play Store gets stuck at downloading an app. In order to identify this issue, you’ll notice that whenever an app is in download queue, it will remain stuck as pending. Even though it is not that big of an issue but still quite a lot of people face it. Continue reading this guide to learn how to fix Google Play Store stuck at downloading issue.
Google Play Store download stuck in “Pending”
When there is a new cool app out and everyone is already downloading it on their phones, but some poor soul is just stuck with an annoying bug. This is one of the most common issues when using Play Store. When starting to download an application or a game, Google Play Store gets stuck at pending. The download does not even start. It does not matter how long someone waits for it.
The first thing that comes to mind is that maybe some other apps are downloading which is why it is later in the queue. However, it is not the case. It is a bug and it can happen in all latest versions of Android: Nougat, Oreo and even Android Pie. We are yet to see is the Google Play Store download bug is still in Android Q.
The main explanation for this could be that, this bug is not exactly related to core Android OS. We will explore the causes and solutions for it later on.
Google Play Store Can’t Download App Error
Somehow if someone manages to get through the first error, there might be another one waiting next! This is the “Cant’t download App” error. This error message pops up in the notification bar.
For example if someone is downloading an app, lets say Instagram, they will get the notification saying “Can’t download App” and “Instagram can’t be downloaded” error in notification bar. This happens after the download starts or just comes out of pending phase.
Both of these issues are related and we are going to discuss what causes these and how to fix them.
What causes it?
Since it is impossible to pinpoint a single reason for it because of a huge variety of possible issues, we are going to list all possible ones.
- Android OS Update (OTA Update). This is one of the main reasons for just not this but many other bugs. Updating Android is good and everyone wants it but the OTA method is not always best. Since it tries to keep all previous settings even after updating, it can cause some bugs and crashes. If someone has just updated from lets say Nougat to Oreo on their devices, then it may be the culprit.
- App Preferences. It is a bit more complex issue. The app preferences is about their permissions and stuff like that. Some advanced users like to tinker with these settings. While we always encourage exploring these kind of things, it can sometimes mess stuff up. Therefore, the apps like Google Play Store and Google Play Services start misbehaving. It gives birth to bugs like “Google Play Store stuck at downloading/pending” in return.
- Phone and App’s Cache. This reason is pretty similar to the first one. The cache is a phone’s storage that keeps tiny bits of information. It is all about user’s preferences and app’s behavior. It helps the phone and apps run faster and load faster. However, outdated or corrupted cache can also cause this bug.
- Roaming. If you asked us, we could not tell you the exact reason. However, it is known for a long time that Android OS has a bug where if Roaming is turned on, it breaks down downloads and cases Google Play Store download issues.
This is a brief summary of the issue that could case Google Play Store download pending or “Can’t download App” error. Below are all the possible solutions. Go through this list, written in order of simple to advanced.
Solutions to Google Play Store stuck at download / Pending issue
1: Restart phone / WiFi / Mobile Data
This is the most basic solution. This is how it works. The downloads on Play Store are done using either WiFi or Mobile Data. However, whenever both of these services are closed, the download is paused and goes away from notification. Doing this can reset the download process and fix the bug.
The screenshots below show the settings that you can follow to disable both WiFi and mobile data.
Another way of doing so is by “turning on Flight Mode”. Wait for 45 seconds and then turn it off again. Phone will automatically connect to WiFi or Mobile data. Whatever was turned on before flight mode. This can have the same effect as doing it manually.
Lastly, try restarting the phone to reset Play Store downloads. This is another manual method.
This is the most basic troubleshooting method to solve Google Play Store stuck at download or pending issue.
2: Cancel download and start again
If the connection reset method does not change anything and app is still stuck at pending download then try doing it manually.
To do so, open Play Store app on phone. Now tap on menu button in top left (3 horizontal bars). Tap on “My Apps and Games”. The new screen shows apps that are either downloading or are in pending. Tap on cross button on right of the app that you want to restart. Once canceled, open the app from Play Store search again and then tap on install.
If that app starts downloading normally this time, issue is fixed.
3: Logout and login again with Google account
The Google account cache may get corrupted over time. This is also one of the reasons that phone may get stuck while downloading apps from Play Store. Therefore, the best solution for this is to reset the whole thing.
In order to do so, go Settings > Accounts > Google. Tap on your Email. In next screen, tap on menu button in top right (3 dots). Select “Remove account” option from here.
Once the account is removed from your phone, restart it once. After restarting, go to Settings > Account > Add new Account. Tap on Google in next screen and once again login with your main account.
Once the Google account is set up and running, try downloading any app from Play Store. If it works, the Google Play Store download bug is fixed!
4: Turn off Roaming
It is actually weird one. Apparently there is no connection between Play Store downloads and roaming settings, but it is still a thing. Many users have reported that when they have roaming turned on and mainly using Mobile data, then apps from Play Store get stuck at either pending or download.
In order to fix this issue, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks. Tap on Data Roaming here. Toggle the setting to turn it off.
Note that this fix works only for those who are using 4G/3G to download apps from Play Store.
5: Allow background data usage if using mobile data
This particular fix is also for the people using Mobile data to download apps from Play Store. If someone is downloading an app on either 4G or 3G and then app gets stuck at download, it may have something to do with background data settings.
A particular setting in in any app’s menu can help users control whether it can use data in background or not. This setting is there to prevent extra data charges when user doesn’t even know about it. Most apps keep running in background and Play Store does that a lot. It keeps checking for updates and even security checks on applications. If the background data usage is turned off, then it may cause downloads to get stuck.
In order to fix this, go to Settings > Apps and search for Play Store. Tap on it and then open “Data Usage” option. Here toggle the specified setting to turn background data usage on.
Also open Play Store, go to Settings and tap on Download Preferences. Select the “Any Network” option to enable downloads over data.
These tips should fix the issue when Google Play Store stuck at downloading while using mobile data (4G/3G).
6: Clear Play Store cache and data
Cache is essentially junk data. Even though it helps speed up the device and other stuff like that, it holds no real value. It stores app preferences and other stuff like that. If this data is overloaded and gets corrupted, then apps may start misbehaving. Similarly, Play Store’s cache may also cause it to get stuck at downloading apps.
In order to fix this, go to Settings > Apps and search for Google Play Store in list. Open it. Then follow these three steps to fix it:
- Tap on Storage and clear Cache.
- Similarly, clear Data.
- Next up, go back on step and tap on “Force Stop”.
Once it is done, open Play Store and download the app again. If it starts downloading normally, then you’ve successfully found solution to Google Play Store stuck on Apps downloads.
7: Clear cache of Google Play Services
Google Play Services is the core of all Google’s core Android apps. This includes the likes of Maps, Google App, Music and yes you guessed it, Play Store as well. Therefore, a corruption in its data may lead to corruption in Play Store.
In order to fix this, go to Settings > Apps. Search for Google Play Services in this list. Tap on it. On next screen, tap on Storage and then Clear Cache from here. Restart your device after doing so.
Open Play Store again after restarting phone and then try downloading any app again. If it’s fixed, voila! Otherwise, move on to next possible solution.
8: Reset App Preferences
Custom app preferences include stuff like notifications settings, background usage and more. All of these are unique to every user’s phone. However, over time, when they are changed, one of these changes or a couple of changes combined may produce a bug. One of these bugs is when Google Play Store gets stuck at Pending while downloading any app or game.
In order to fix this, go to Settings > Apps. Now tap on menu button in top right. Select the “Reset Preferences” option from this pop up menu. It will show a warning sign. Select the OK or Yes option depending on your phone model.
Once done, restart phone to try Play Store out once again.
9: Complete Cache Wipe
We’ve already tried wiping cache of Play Store and Play Services in previous steps. If you are reading this, it means that issue still persists. Therefore, in this step, we are going to wipe the cache of entire phone. Do not worry! It does not contain any kind of personal files. All of these are junk files and will build up once again.
Just to to Settings > Storage > Internal Storage Settings and tap on “Cached Data”. This will show a pop up stating what it does. Select OK or Yes.
After all cache is cleared, restart your phone to test out Play Store once again.
10: Factory reset or flash ROM
If somebody is reading this, things must really be getting out of hands! If nothing is working it means that there is problem with core OS.
This happens mainly after an OTA update. The OTA (Over the air) updates are when you get a notification on phone saying download this update to new Version. This is not same as “clean install”. The OTA update keeps all previous settings. Therefore, more often than not, there is clash in settings and things don’t work normally. Therefore, we have to manually get rid of useless data and settings and give phone a fresh start.
The first thing to try is “Factory Reset”. In order to do so, go to Settings > General Management > Reset. Now select the Factory Reset option. If you’re having trouble finding this option, simple use search function in Settings main menu.
If you’re a power user, then we recommend flashing stock ROM. For example, if someone is using a Samsung device, then use Odin. Similarly, use FlashTool for Xperia devices. The flashing methods and tools vary from model to model.
Listed above are all possible methods to fix Google Play Store stuck at download or pending issue. The issues are listed from easiest and basic and up to advanced methods. Always try to simpler solutions first rather than going for advanced options.
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