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, manual intervention is required. Since the culprit behind this glitch varies, you may need to test various methods before finding the solution. This article will guide you through the options.
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, you should:
- 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 on “Settings” directly.
- Next, tap the “Apps & notifications.” For older Android versions, your option may appear as “App management.”
- Find and select “Google Play Store” from the list. You may need to tap on “See all ### apps” first for newer Android versions.
- Tap on “Storage & cache.” On older Android versions, select “Storage usage” from the menu.
- Tap on “Clear cache.”
Clearing the cache usually fixes minor glitches, such as the ‘download pending’ error. If it doesn’t, try out some of the other methods from the article.
2. Adjust the Queue
The Play Store automatically downloads all the newest versions of your apps on your device by default, unless you changed it at some point. Regardless of how you update apps, it is possible that your app is 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.
- Open the “Play Store” on your device.
- Tap your “Profile” icon at the top right.
- Choose “Manage apps & device.”
- Find the “Updating apps” section and tap on “See details.”
- 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 manage to fix the Google Play stuck downloads issue by removing their Google account from the Play Store and then adding it back. To do this, you need to:
- Go to “Settings.”
- Scroll down and select “Accounts.” For older Android versions, choose “Users & accounts” or “Accounts and Backup -> Accounts.”
- 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.”
- Tap on “Remove account.” For older Android versions, choose the “More” icon (2 vertical dots) at the top right, then select “Remove account.”
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 is running low on storage space, it will restrict 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 apps remain as pending downloads while they wait for enough space. To check how much space you have left, do the following:
- Go to “Settings.”
- Scroll down and press the “Storage” button.
- 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 cache may use it, and not all deleted data is erased yet either.
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 that you get rid of them whenever possible 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. or attempt to reformat 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 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, or your VPN reports another region outside of your area. Regardless, some apps may not install if using a VPN. Try disabling the VPN.
Note: Some VPNs have an ad/script blocking feature that can cause the pending download issue. If you trust the site or app, disable the feature (if applicable), then try again. Your VPN app may also allow for URL exceptions.
6. Confirm that Time and Date Match on Your Device and the Google Server
If the time and date on your smartphone don’t match with 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 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 the “Date & time” setting.
- If the date and time syncing are off, toggle “Set automatically” or “Automatic date and time” to the “On” position, depending on your phone.
- If On, toggle “Set automatically” or “Automatic date and time” to off and change the time and date to some other variation.
- Wait for 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.
- 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.
Hopefully, some of the steps above helped you fix your pending update issue on the Play Store. Most of the time, this common 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
Can I make app updates happen automatically over cellular data?
One of the most common problems with smartphones is that there are still limitations with cellular bandwidth regardless of unlimited data plans. Sometimes, unlimited data is not truly unlimited. Your speed drops to 2G/3G speeds after reaching a certain amount of data. By default, your apps should automatically update when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged in to charge.
Fortunately, you can change some settings that let the Google Play Store update apps over mobile broadband. Head into the Settings on your phone and locate the Google Play Store under Apps. Next, tap on “Mobile Data” to enable it. Depending on your phone’s manufacturer, 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 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 version of the software 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.