What to do if your Android device won't download or install apps

Many mobile operating systems have failed due to app compatibility and limitations of past years. Your ability to use a phone or tablet without apps is incredibly limited.

The same goes for errors and issues that affect your AndroidOS device. Although the operating system supports a wide range of applications, it is still possible to encounter errors that render your smartphone almost useless. So what can you do if your Android device won't download or install apps?

This article will walk you through some troubleshooting steps and fixes so you can get right back to installing apps on your Android device.

Android device does not download or install apps

The Google Play Store is quite reliable, so encountering serious complications is rare. But if you can't download apps at the moment, something is wrong somewhere. Before moving on to more intuitive solutions, let's go over some things you should check first.

If you're having trouble downloading apps, check them off your list first:

  • Is your device charged? – Some devices may not allow you to download new apps until your device is more than 15% or even 30% charged.
  • Do you have a stable internet connection? – You may be using cellular data or connected to WiFi but the signal is weak. Try another WiFi network if possible.
  • Have you restarted your device? – A quick restart of your phone often solves most problems; including issues with the Google Play Store.
  • Is the Google Play Store experiencing a system-wide issue? – Check out the downdetector website. Maybe Google has a huge problem and you just need to wait for the developers to fix it.

Now that we've covered the basics of the quick fix, try downloading an app from the Play Store. If that doesn't solve your problem, here are some solutions you can try if your Android device won't download or install apps.

Check your free space

Whenever you're troubleshooting a device, it helps to start with the basics. Downloads are dependent on the space available for your download. Most apps are only a few megabytes in size, but some are larger. Do you have enough space on your device? Should you do any spring cleaning before adding new stuff?

First, check the storage of your devices by doing the following:

Notes: Since the Android interface varies by manufacturer and version, our tutorial covers the general specifics that should work for everyone.

  1. Open the Settings on your device and use the magnifying glass to search Warehousing.
  2. Press Warehousing in the list that appears.
  3. Check the amount of available storage listed.

If your storage is full, you can quickly remove rarely used apps by tapping applications, choosing the apps you want to remove, then tapping uninstall.

Now go back to the Google Play Store and try to download the desired app again. However, if you have a lot of storage space, keep reading for more solutions.

Check your network

We mentioned it briefly above, but your network connection has a lot to do with being able to download apps. Whether your downloads are very slow or not happening at all, let's take a closer look at your internet connection.

Whichever way you download your apps (using WiFi or cellular data), check that the network you're connected to is strong enough to maintain the connection. If your WiFi is congested, you're almost out of range, or you only have a bar or two of signal, you might want to wait until you're better positioned before downloading your app.

One of the first indicators that you are having network connectivity issues is websites and apps not loading properly. You can run a speed test using your phone's browser or if you already have the app to check for a strong connection.

If you are using WiFi, try switching to cellular data. Or, you can try another WiFi network if available. Assuming cellular data is your only option, check your Android device's settings to make sure background data usage is turned on. You can do this by going to the Settings>Applications>Google Play Store>Mobile data option. Activate the switch next to Allow background data usage.

Restart your device

One of the easiest and most effective methods to fix software problems is to restart the device. Your problems may be caused by a simple glitch. A reboot will force the phone to delete all the code it was processing and start over. New processes will be loaded into memory and you may be able to download the application without any errors.

Check your time and date settings

Authentication is a mobile process that requires the correct time to authenticate your device with Google Play and the download server. Most of our phones automatically sync the date and time with the network, but it's worth checking.

All you have to do is verify that your operating system is in the correct time zone. If correct, continue. If not, fix it or set it to automatic. Here's how:

  1. Open Settings on your Android device and type Date and time in the search bar.
  2. Flip the switch to Automatic date and time for it to light up.
  3. Turn off your phone, then turn it back on and check that the time has been updated.

Clear Google Play Store Cache

If your Android device is not downloading or installing apps even after all these steps, clearing the Store cache can be helpful. Cache is temporary storage where the Google Play Store saves all the data it uses and/or needs to function. It may be corrupted, so it's worth checking if things aren't going as expected.

  1. Select Settings and apps.
  2. Select All Apps and Google Play Store.
  3. Select Storage and Clear cache.
  4. Repeat for Google Play Service and Google Services Framework, if applicable.

Change your Google Play Store permissions

Permissions are usually set automatically, so there's not always a reason to change them. However, if you've come this far and still can't download or install an app, it's worth a try.

  1. Select Settings and apps.
  2. Select Google Play Store.
  3. Select Permissions.
  4. Make sure both texting and phone are turned on. Contacts and location are optional, but enable them to test.
  5. Select Google Play Services in Apps & Permissions.
  6. Make sure permissions are enabled for body sensors, call logs, camera, contacts, location, microphone, SMS, storage, and phone.
  7. Retest the app download.

Some security apps will affect these settings, preventing the Google Play Store from working properly. If you don't want all of these services to be available, you can disable them after testing.

Uninstall Google Play updates

It's no secret that software updates tend to introduce new issues. If the problem you are having with the Play Store started after a software update, you can uninstall the latest version. Sometimes it is enough to revert to a previous version of the software to correct the errors.

Here's how to uninstall an update from the Google Play Store:

  1. Open Settings on your phone and tap applications.
  2. Scroll down and press Google Play Store.
  3. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  4. Press Uninstall updates.

Now restart the Play Store and try to download the app.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having issues with your device is no fun, especially when you can't use key features like the Google Play Store. If you still have questions, keep reading.

What if I accidentally deleted the Google Play Store on my Android device?

The Google Play Store is a preloaded app on most Android OS devices. Maybe you've searched through your app drawer and home screen, and can't find the little Play Store icon anywhere. Unless you're using an AndroidOS device that doesn't come with the native Google Play Store app, the good news is that you haven't actually deleted it.

Here's what to do if you can't find the Google Play Store app on your device:

1. Open Settings and tap Apps.

2. Scroll down until you see Google Play Store. Then press in.

3. At the bottom of this new page, you will see the option Activate or Activate. Press it.

4. Go to your app drawer and find the Google Play Store. It should appear, but you'll need to add it back to the home screen.

When your Google Play Store app disappears, it's probably because it's disabled and not deleted.

If your Android device is not downloading or installing apps, one of the steps above will definitely help you. Do you know of any other ways to make the downloads work? Tell us about it below if you do!

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