How to Fix App Updates on Google Play Stuck on Pending

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 to and perform other related actions.

To clear the Play Store’s cache, you should:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Next, tap the App Management menu.
  3. Then, select Google Play Store from the list.
  4. Now, select Storage usage from the menu.
  5. 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:

  1. Open the Play Store on your device.
  2. Tap your Profile icon at the top right.
  3. 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.
  4. Then, tap the X button next to an app to cancel the download.
  5. Alternatively, you can tap the ‘Cancel all’ button to stop them all at once.

You can then download the app that 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:

  1. Again, go to Settings.
  2. Now, scroll down to the Users & accounts section. On some Android versions, the path is Accounts and Backup > Accounts.
  3. Select Google then find your Google account and tap it.
  4. 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:

  1. As usual, go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down and press the Storage button.
  3. 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:

  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 Date & time.
  4. If Off, toggle Automatic date and time to On.
  5. If On, toggle it off and change the time and date to some other.
  6. 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, try to switch the Wi-Fi network off and turn Mobile Data on. If the app starts to download, then the problem was in the network all along.

  1. 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.

No More Pending Downloads

Hopefully, some of the steps from above helped you fix this issue. Most of the time, this common error is the result of some small 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.

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

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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