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 in years past. Your ability to use a phone or tablet without apps is incredibly limited.

The same holds true for errors and glitches that affect your AndroidOS device. While the operating system supports a wide array of applications, it is still possible for errors to occur that can, if unresolved, make your smartphone nearly useless. So, what can you do if your Android device won’t download or install apps?

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

Android Device Won’t Download or Install Apps

The Google Play Store is pretty reliable, so it’s rare to run into any serious complications. But, if you can’t download apps right now, something, somewhere, is amiss. Before moving into more intuitive solutions, let’s review some things you should check first.

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

  • Is your device charged? – Some devices may not let you download new apps until your device is over 15% or even 30% charged.
  • Do you have a stable internet connection? – Perhaps you’re using cellular data, or you’re connected to WiFi but the signal is weak. Try another WiFi network if possible.
  • Have you power cycled your device? – A quick restart of your phone often fixes most problems, including issues with the Google Play Store.
  • Is the Google Play Store having a system-wide issue? – Check the downdetector website. Perhaps Google is having a massive issue and you just need to wait on the developers to correct it.

Now that we’ve covered the quick fix basics, try to download an application from the Play Store. If your Android device still can’t 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 having available space for your download. Most apps are only a few megabytes, but some are larger. Do you have enough space on your device? Do you have to perform some spring cleaning before adding new stuff?

First, check your devices’ storage by following these steps:

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

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

If your storage is full, you can quickly delete rarely used applications by tapping on Apps, choosing the apps you wish to delete, then tapping on Uninstall.

Now, go back to the Google Play Store and attempt to download the desired app again. However, if you have plenty of storage, keep reading for more solutions.

Check Your Network

We’ve mentioned this briefly above, but your network connection has a lot to do with the ability to download apps. Whether your downloads are going really slow, or they aren’t happening at all, let’s take a deeper look into your internet connection.

However you download your apps (using WiFi or cellular data), check that the network you’re connected to has enough strength 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 may want to wait until you’re better positioned before downloading your app.

One of the first indicators that you have network connectivity issues is that websites and apps won’t load properly. You can run a speed test using your phone’s browser or if you have the app already to verify a solid connection.

If you are on Wi-Fi, try switching over to cellular data. Or, you can try another Wi-Fi network if one is available. If cellular data is your only option, check the Settings on your Android device to ensure that background data usage is turned on.

  1. You can do this by going to the Settings > Apps > Google Play Store > Mobile data & Wi-Fi option and toggle on the switch next to Background data. Google Play Store Settings - Mobile Data and Wi-Fi

Reboot Your Device

One of the most simple and effective methods to fix software issues is a device restart. Perhaps your problems are caused by a simple glitch. A reboot will cause the phone to drop all the code it was processing and begin again. New processes will be loaded into memory, and you may be able to download the app without any errors.

Check Your Time & Date Settings

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

All you need to do is check that your OS is in the right time zone. If it’s correct, move on. If it isn’t, correct it or set it to automatic. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings on your Android device and type Date and Time in the search bar.
  2. Toggle the switch for Automatic date and time so that it turns on.
  3. Turn your phone off, then on again and verify that the time updated.

Clear the Google Play Store Cache

If your Android device doesn’t download or install apps even after all these steps, it might be worth clearing the Store cache. The cache is temporary storage where the Google Play Store saves all the data it uses and/or needs to function. It can become corrupted, so it is worth checking.

  1. Select Settings and Apps & notifications.
  1. Select Google Play Store.
  1. Select Storage and Clear cache.
  1. Repeat for Google Play services and Google Services Framework if present.

Change Your Google Play Store Permissions

Permissions are typically set automatically, so there isn’t always a reason to tweak them. However, if you got this far and you still cannot download or install an app, it’s worth trying.

  1. Select Settings and Apps & notifications.
  1. Select Google Play Store.
  1. Select Permissions.
  1. Ensure SMS and Phone are enabled. Contacts and Location are optional but turn them on to test.
  1. Select Google Play Services and then Permissions. Google Play Services - Permissions
  2. Make sure permissions are set to Allow for Body sensors, Call logs, Camera, Contacts, Files and Media, Location, Microphone, SMS and Phone.
  1. Retest the app download.

Some security apps will affect these settings, hindering the Google Play Store from operating properly. If you don’t want all of these services accessible, you can turn them off after testing.

Uninstall Google Play Updates

It’s no secret that software updates have a tendency to introduce new problems. If the issue you’re having with the Play Store began after a software update, you can uninstall the latest version. Sometimes, reverting to a previous version of the software is all you need to do to fix the problem.

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

  1. Open the Settings on your phone and tap on Apps & notifications.
  1. Scroll down and tap on Google Play Store.
  1. Tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  1. Tap 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 the Google Play Store. If you still have questions, keep reading.

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

The Google Play Store is a pre-loaded application on most Android OS devices. Perhaps you’ve searched through 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 didn’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 no longer find the Google Play Store app on your device:

1. Open Settings and tap on Apps & notifications. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 00001E-1.jpg

2. Scroll down the list until you see Google Play Store. Then, tap on it. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 00002B-1-676x1024.jpg

3. At the bottom of this new page, you will see the option to Turn on or Enable. Tap it.

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

When your Google Play Store app goes missing, it’s likely because it is disabled, not deleted.

What do I do if I can’t update apps?

Among other Play Store issues, you may encounter an error that prevents you from updating applications. The Android operating system relies on the Google Play Store to upload most of your applications. Most of the steps we’ve listed above are applicable 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 added step.

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

1. Open the Settings on your device and tap on Apps & notifications. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 00001E-1.jpg

2. Tap on the app you’re having trouble with and then tap on Force Stop on the right-hand side. Google Play Store - App info - Force Stop

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

If your Android device won’t download or install apps, one of the above steps is sure to help. Do you know of any other ways to get downloads working? Tell us about it below if you do!

30 thoughts on “What to Do if Your Android Device Won’t Download or Install Apps”

Jeanne says:
What worked for me was uninstalling that last update after trying probably 20 different things.
Jonna says:
I tried and followed all the solution you’ve given but still, i cant download .can you help me please i couldn’t find the appa in the store and when i search it in google it say’s that it isn’t available in your countrybut in fact i am actually in the country . Hoping for the response .thank you very much.
Steve Larner says:
Do you have a running VPN? If so, try turning it off.
Josh says:
I did pretty much every step and it basically resets the installation process where I have to click install again, after it said installing…. This happened both before and after ai reset my phone. I know for a fact Google Play Store isn’t supposed to be acting this way. Restarting my phone when I was having these issues last time worked, but it’s not working anymore. The app I’m trying to get in question is around 200 megabytes so storage isn’t a problem. The installation is where the issue lies. Any help would be appreciated. I exhausted every option possible and still got no resolved solution.
Steve Larner says:
Your device probably has malware that is causing your Plat Store downloads to fail. Other than that possibility, the SD card may be defective as it tries to write to a block that fails, or it could be a bad system update. Most likely, based on the description of your scenario, it is undetected/endetectable malware.
Willy says:
What do those of us who have Xiaomi Chinese software smartphones do? Is there any other place to get apps other than the Play Store? I started with a Xiaomi Global edition phone but an OTA update changed it to Chinese version and it with no longer access Google services. Help!
Steve Larner says:
Check this link for details: download google play store xiaomi miui 7
Renz says:
Thanks bro. It helped a lot.
Oscar mabdowa says:
Mine is installing apps from play store only
David foster says:
I can not download any new apps
Ntobeko Sibiya says:
Please do it for me it doesn’t want to download apps
j says:
Restarting my phone worked (lol!) so simple, silly me.

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