Google Play Apps Not Downloading? Try These Quick Tips to Fix Them

March 24, 2021 • Zachary Amos


The Google Play Store is one of the largest and most popular places to get apps, and it’s generally reliable. However, if you use it often enough, you’re almost bound to run into problems related to Google Play apps not downloading. 

They typically give you download-pending notifications instead of transferring the app content to your device. Here are five troubleshooting strategies to explore. 

1. Check Your Internet Connection

Your internet connection is the first aspect to examine. For example, maybe you accessed the Google Play Store without problems but experienced an internet outage when trying to download the app.

If you can access other online material without issues, the problem could be that you’re on a public and heavily used network, such as one offered by a public transit company. Those providers often restrict specific internet activities — like streaming and downloading — and may prevent people from receiving Google Play Store content over that network.

Alternatively, maybe you’re using mobile data and discover you suddenly can’t get to any sites. Start by putting your phone into airplane mode or turning off the mobile data connection for about 30 seconds before reactivating it. That action is sometimes enough to reset that part of the system and help you connect to the internet again.

2. Cancel Pending Downloads

Another common reason for Google Play apps not downloading as they should relates to other applications downloading at the same time. For example, you can go into your Google Play Store settings and enable apps to update automatically. 

However, if you happen to try and download something new when there are other updates in progress — particularly large ones — the new apps may not download. 

Go to the My Apps and Games section on the Google Play sidebar. From there, you can see any applications updating now or scheduled to give you the newest version soon. Tap the X associated with an app in that list to cancel a pending download. 

You can also go to the Settings menu of Google Play, then find the Auto-Update Apps section. From there, you can choose to automatically update apps over any network or Wi-Fi only. More importantly for the scope of this topic, there’s an option to never auto-update your apps. 

If your troubleshooting efforts indicate that you primarily have difficulty downloading new applications when updates are occurring, turning off the automatic update feature should help. It’s also wise to disable it if you’re on a limited data plan to avoid running out of internet access or incurring overage charges. 

3. Clear the Cache and Data

You may already be familiar with how to clear an application’s cache and data. Many people do that regularly if their devices don’t have very much free space on them. 

Those actions also relate to another straightforward solution for Google Play apps not downloading.  First, go to your device’s Settings > Apps section. Choose the option that lets you see all applications.

From there, find Google Play Services and Google Play Store. Click Force Stop for both of those. Then, navigate to the Storage section and choose the Clear Cache and Clear Data options for each one. 

Bear in mind that Clear Cache only gets rid of temporary data. Clear Data empties the cache and restores the app to its original form. You won’t lose any applications but may need to reset some of your Google Play-related settings. Try the Clear Cache option by itself first. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, go a step further by using Clear Data. 

4. Turn off Your VPN

People use virtual private network — VPN — tools for extra security or to access content only available in specific countries. However, the VPN may also be the culprit behind Google Play apps not downloading. 

If Google Play recognizes that you’re apparently accessing the store from a country other than the one reflected on your account, the apps you want to download may not transfer to your device. One of the reasons for that possible outcome is that people in some nations do not have certain apps available to them. 

Try temporarily deactivating your VPN. Then, attempt to download your app again, and see if you get a different result. 

5. Verify That You Have Enough Space

A lack of space on your device could also cause the problem of Google Play apps not downloading for you. See if that’s the issue by going to Settings on your phone and navigating to the Storage section. 

After tapping on it, you’ll see the amount of used versus free space. There’s also a button that lets you free up space by deleting large files you no longer need, as well as apps you may have forgotten about and don’t use anymore. 

It’s a good idea to do that regularly, even if you’re not trying to download new apps. Getting rid of unnecessary content on your phone gives you more room for the stuff that matters. It could also improve how your device performs. 

Simple Solutions for a Frustrating and Common Issue

Applications in the Google Play Store help you do everything from boost your productivity to stay abreast of the latest news. However, it’s understandably upsetting when an app you want doesn’t transfer to your phone as expected. 

The problem of Google Play apps not downloading is more prevalent than you may think. However, these tricks will empower you to work through the obstacle and overcome it.