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.
If you are stuck with the ‘pending download’ issue on your Android device, you will have to deal with it manually. Since there are many possible causes of this glitch, you should test out a number of methods before you find the solution. This article will guide you through them.
Clear the Google Play Cache
An overloaded cache can cause an app to malfunction, which can sometimes happen with the Play Store. This is especially frequent when you have many apps that the Play Store needs to check for updates for and perform other related actions.
To clear the Play Store’s cache, you should:
- Go to Settings.
- Next, tap the App Management menu.
- Then, select Google Play Store from the list.
- Now, select Storage usage from the menu.
- Finally, tap the Clear cache button.
Clearing the cache usually fixes any minor glitches, such as the ‘download pending’ error. If it doesn’t, try out some of the other methods from the article.
Adjust the Queue
The Play Store automatically downloads all the newest versions of your apps on your device. This means that it is possible that your app is at the end of the queue, and you should push it to the top.
To do so, you should:
- Open the Play Store on your device.
- Tap your Profile icon at the top right.
- Now, choose Manage apps & device. Tap on ‘See details’ and you’ll see all the apps that are currently in the downloading queue. If you don’t see any, this is not what’s causing the ‘download pending’ issue. If the queue exists, continue to step 4.
- Then, tap the X button next to an app to cancel the download.
- Alternatively, you can tap the ‘Cancel all’ button to stop them all at once.
You can then download the app you want before returning to update the rest of your apps.
Remove Your Account and Add it Again
Some users manage to fix the issue by removing their Google account from the Play Store and then adding it back. To do this, you need to:
- Again, go to Settings.
- Now, scroll down to the Users & accounts section. On some Android versions, the path is Accounts and Backup > Accounts.
- Select Google then find your Google account and tap it.
- Tap the ‘More’ icon (2 dots) at the top right then select Remove account.
Now enter the Play Store, enter your account information again, and try to download the app.
Check the Storage
If your device is running low on storage space, it will restrict you from downloading new apps. To check how much space you have left, you should:
- As usual, go to Settings.
- Scroll down and press the Storage button.
- Check if you have enough memory to new apps. Usually, most apps shouldn’t take up more than 20-30MB of space. That said, some heavy apps such as Messenger can use up to 500MB or more.
The presence of ‘bloatware’ apps can affect your phone storage negatively. These are apps that don’t serve any particular purpose on your phone and use up a lot of storage. As such, make sure that you get rid of them to make way for new ones.
Also, a malfunctioning SD card can sometimes cause problems while downloading new apps. To check if that’s the case, take out the card and try to download the app. If it downloads as usual to your internal storage, consider changing the card.
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 trying to download the app again.
Usually, a VPN shouldn’t prevent apps from downloading, but there are instances where it may affect the process. For example, this can happen if a new VPN update has glitches. Try it out, and if the error disappears, try to reinstall the VPN.
Note, some VPNs have an ad/script blocking feature that might be causing the issue. If you trust the site or app, disable the feature, if applicable, and try again.
Time and Date Don’t Match
It may sound weird, but if the time and date on your smartphone don’t match with the official time and date, the Google Play Store may prevent you from downloading apps. Also, sometimes changing the time and date for a short time and then turning them back to the way they were may fix your issue.
Try this out:
- As before, launch the Settings app.
- Then, go to Additional settings, on some Android versions the path is General Management.
- Now, select Date & time.
- If Off, toggle Automatic date and time to On.
- If On, toggle it off and change the time and date to some other.
- Wait for a while and then toggle the Automatic date and time back on, it might be labeled as Set automatically.
Check Wi-Fi and Data Network
One of the most obvious solutions is to check if your wireless or data connection is working normally. If you have enough bandwidth on your data plan, switch the WiFi network off and turn Mobile Data on. If the app starts to download, then the problem was in the network all along.
- The easiest way to switch the connection is to slide your screen from the top down to open the quick access bar, turn Wi-Fi off, and turn Mobile data on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some more answers to your questions about updating apps on Android.
Can I make app updates happen automatically over cellular data?
One of the problems with smartphones these days is that there are still limitations with cellular data regardless of unlimited data plans. When your phone is connected to WiFi and plugged in to charge, your apps should automatically update.
Fortunately, you can change some settings that let the Google Play Store update apps over Cellular. Head into the Settings on your phone and locate the Google Play Store under Apps.’ Then, tap on Mobile Data and enable cellular data. Depending on the manufacturer of your phone, the option may say Allow background data usage.
How do I know if an app has an update available?
If you’re unsure whether an app has an available update, the Google Play Store can tell you. The easiest way to tell 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, there is a newer version of the software available.
If you want to check which apps you have installed are ready for an update, you can open the Google Play Store, tap on your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner, and tap on Manage apps & devices. From here, tap Manage at the top. Then, tap Updates Available. This will show you a complete list of apps on your phone that can be updated.
No More Pending Downloads
Hopefully, some of the steps from above helped you fix this issue. Most of the time, this common error results from some minor app glitch that goes away easily. However, if the problem keeps occurring, you may be experiencing some other system or hardware issue and may thus have to take your device to the local repair service.
Do you know of any other methods to fix the pending download problem? If so, share them in the comments below.