How to Fix App Updates on Google Play Stuck on Pending

Downloading apps from the Google Play Store should be a straightforward process. However, users may sometimes encounter a problem where the note on the screen says that the download is pending, but the download never progresses from the pending stage.

How to Fix App Updates on Google Play Stuck on Pending

Manual intervention is required if you are stuck with the ‘pending download’ issue on your Android device. Since the culprit behind this glitch varies, you may need to test various methods before finding the correct solution. This article shows you how to fix the pending updates issue for the Google Play Store.

1. Clear the Google Play Cache

When the cache is overloaded, it can cause an app to malfunction, which sometimes occurs with the Play Store. This problem is prevalent when you have many apps that the Play Store needs to check for updates or perform other related actions.

To clear the Play Store’s cache, do the following:

  1. Slide down your screen from the top. You may need to do it twice. Tap on the “gear icon” (Settings). You can also open the app drawer and tap “Settings” directly.
  2. Next, tap “Apps & notifications.” For older Android versions, your option may appear as “App management.”
  3. Find and select “Google Play Store” from the list. You may need to tap on “See all ### apps” first for newer Android versions.
  4. Tap on “Storage & cache.” On older Android versions, select “Storage usage” from the menu.
  5. Select “Clear cache.”

Your Google Play cache is now cleared. This action usually fixes minor glitches, such as the ‘download pending’ error. If it doesn’t, try out some of the other methods below.

2. Adjust the Queue

The Play Store automatically downloads all the newest versions of your apps on your device by default unless you change it at some point. Regardless of how you update apps, your app may be at the end of the queue, waiting for its turn. Therefore, you can push it to the top of the update/download list. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the “Play Store” on your device.
  2. Tap your “Profile” icon at the top right.
  3. Choose “Manage apps & device.”
  4. Find the “Updating apps” section and tap “See details.”
  5. Tap the “X” button next to any apps you need to cancel. Alternatively, you can tap the “Cancel all” button to stop them all at once.

Now, you can download the app you want before returning to update the rest of your apps.

3. Remove Your Account and Add it Again

Some users fix Google Play getting stuck on downloads by removing their Google account from the device and then adding it back. This action is NOT the same as deleting an account, which erases it from Google. Therefore, your Android device will only include the “Remove” option.

Note: If you remove your primary Google account, the “next-in-line” account becomes the primary. Therefore, it is probably best to log out temporarily, remove all Google accounts, and then log back into your primary account.

To do this, you need to:

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Scroll down and select “Accounts.” For older Android versions, choose “Users & accounts” or Accounts and Backup -> Accounts.”
  3. In the list of various accounts, you’ll see your Google entries listed by Gmail addresses. For older Android versions, you first click on “Google.” Find and select your “primary Google account.”
  4. Tap on “Remove account.” For older Android versions, choose the “More” icon (2 vertical dots) at the top right, then select “Remove account.”

To make the same Google account the primary one again on your device, remove all Google accounts. Now, you can enter the Play Store again, type in your account information, and try to download the app once more.

4. Check Storage Capacity

If your device runs low on storage space, it restricts you from downloading or updating apps. This scenario usually displays an error along with “insufficient space” notifications rather than getting stuck as a pending download. However, it is still pending, technically speaking. Therefore, it is essential to include the topic within this article. The app downloads remain pending while they wait for enough space. To check how much space you have left, do the following:

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Scroll down and press the “Storage” button.
  3. Check existing storage space. Remember that some apps, especially games, may download more data to your phone upon launching them. Also, you should allow extra space because the cache may use it, and not all deleted data is erased.

The presence of ‘bloatware’ apps can affect your phone storage negatively. These apps primarily get included with manufacturer additions to the Android phone, and many are unnecessary. Ensure you eliminate them whenever possible to make way for new ones. Check out how to uninstall

Also, a malfunctioning SD card can sometimes cause problems with app downloads. To check if that’s the case, take out the card and try to download the app. If it downloads to your internal storage, consider changing the card or reforming it.

5. Disable Your Device’s VPN

Some users install a virtual private network (VPN) to secure their online privacy, but they don’t know that it can affect their downloads too. If you have a VPN, you should disable it before downloading the app again.

Usually, a VPN shouldn’t prevent apps from downloading, but there are rare instances where it may affect the process. For example, this can happen if a new VPN update experience a glitch or your VPN reports another region outside your area.

Note: Some VPNs have an ad/script blocking feature that can cause the pending download issue. If you trust the site or app, disable your VPN (if applicable), then try again. Your VPN app may also allow for URL exceptions.

6. Confirm That the Time and Date Match Google Servers

If the time and date on your smartphone don’t match the official time and date reported on Google servers, it may prevent you from downloading apps. Also, sometimes changing the time and date for a short time and then turning them back to how they were may fix your issue.

Try this out:

  1. As before, launch the “Settings” app.
  2. Then, go to “Additional settings.” On some Android versions, the path is “General Management.”
  3. Now, select the “Date & time” setting.
  4. If the date and time syncing are off, toggle “Set automatically” or “Automatic date and time” to the “On” position, depending on your phone.
  5. If On, toggle “Set automatically” or “Automatic date and time” to off and change the time and date to another variation.
  6. Wait a while, then toggle the “Set automatically” or “Automatic date and time” back on.

7. Check Your Wi-Fi or Data Networks

One of the most obvious solutions is to check if your wireless or data connection is working. If you have enough bandwidth on your data plan, switch the Wi-Fi network off and turn on your Mobile Data. If the app started to download, the problem was in the Wi-Fi network.

  1. The easiest way to switch the connection is to slide your screen from the top to open the quick access bar, turn “Wi-Fi” off, and turn “Mobile data” on.

Hopefully, some of the steps above helped you fix your pending update issue on the Play Store. Most of the time, the error results from minor app glitches that go away. However, if the problem keeps happening, you may be experiencing some other system or hardware issue and may thus have to take your device to the local repair service.

Google Play Stuck/Pending App Update FAQs

How do I know if an app has an update available to confirm it can?

If you’re unsure whether an app has an available update, the Google Play Store can tell you. From there, you’ll know if it updates or gets stuck. The easiest way to find out is to open the Google Play Store and type the app’s name in the search bar. If it says “Open,” then the app is up-to-date. However, if the app says “Update,” a newer software version exists.

If you want to check which installed apps are ready for an update, you can open the Google Play Store, tap on your “profile icon” in the upper right-hand corner, and select “Manage apps & devices.” Select “Manage” at the top, then choose “Updates Available.” This step shows you a complete list of all apps that need an update.

What do I do if only one app won’t update?

When only one app doesn’t update, your solution depends on whether it was the last app to require an update or one of several. If it was the last one on the list, it could be your storage limits (internal and external storage). All other apps succeeded, but your phone ran low on storage while trying to update the last one on the list.

If the app is one of several requiring an update, it could be data corruption. Try clearing the cache for the app first. If that solution doesn’t work, uninstall the app and reinstall it.

If the above options don’t fix the issue, you may need to contact the developer for help. On that app’s Play Store page, tap on “Developer contact,” then choose your email app to send the message. It’s always best to use the same email you use for the Play Store. That way, the developer can associate the two.

26 thoughts on “How to Fix App Updates on Google Play Stuck on Pending”

Graham Steel says:
I think my Motorola G6 is effectively bricked. I have tried everything, including a factory reset. Now all my apps which were not bundled with Android are uninstalled and pending download.
Yuval Rabinovich says:
My solution to the “Update Pending” that never starts:

Disable Google Play Services (from Settings/Apps)
Run Google Play Store
Answer “Yes” to turn on Google Play Services

Things should work now.

Dee Dungeni says:
I’ve done all the recommended troubleshooting hacks and nothing works.
Douglas Resnick says:
Thank you so much. Your steps led me to discover a WiFi problem.
catcaliforniagirl says:
I cleared the cache, deleted files to increase a bit of storage capacity, turned off the auto update app feature, as mentioned in the comment left above, and the most helpful move was to choose ‘any avail network’ to complete 32 pending updates and install an app that was stuck in a ‘pending’.
Getoar says:
I found out that my phone was auto-updating apps, so I could not download apps from the play store. So I paused app auto-updates, then I could download from the google play store.

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