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Why can’t I install Android updates? Check these steps

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While Google and OEMs work on reducing Android OS fragmentation, we all look forward to faster major system updates. Or more of them on non-Pixel devices, for that matter. However, if we ignore the fact that developers like the push-fast-fix-later approach, what if an update is available but you can’t install it? For all of you that can’t install Android updates even when you are notified about one — check the instructions below.

If you can’t install updates on Android or can’t download them, follow the steps we provided below to fix the issue in no time.

Why won’t my Android update?

If your Android device won’t update with OTA (over-the-air) updates, you have a problem. Sometimes the problem is in the network connection, other times it’s just the storage, battery, or the actual lack of support for your device. The first thing to check is storage and right after that ensure that the battery is at 50% or more.

After that, try the manual approach or wipe the cache partition. If neither of the steps helps you, wait out for some time or reset your device to factory settings.

1. Check storage and make sure your device is charged

Being low on storage and low battery percentage are the main reasons why your Android device won’t install updates automatically. So, ensure that you have enough storage to get the OTA (Over The Air) update. It will be temporarily stored on your device and removed after the installation.

Most major updates are not larger than 3 GB (usually less) and monthly security updates take much less. To learn how to save some space on your Android device, check this article where we tackle that subject.

Additionally, make sure that your device has 50-60+ percent of the battery before installing updates. It would be detrimental if the device shuts down during the update procedure. To avoid that, auto-updates install only when your device is accordingly charged.

2. Reboot your device and update it manually

The next thing to try is to, firstly, reboot your device. Then, navigate to System settings and install the update. If it isn’t downloaded, make sure to download it first.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Restart your device.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Select System.
  4. Tap System updates.
  5. Download and install an update, if available.can't install Android updates

3. Wipe the cache partition

Corruption of the system cache can lead to certain update issues. That’s why we suggest (if your OEM allows it) wiping the cache partition. This will remove cached data and, hopefully, you’ll be able to install updates again.

Here’s how to wipe the cache partition on Android:

  1. Power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the power button and the volume up key simultaneously to enter the Recovery menu.
  3. By using the volume keys for navigation, select Wipe cache partition.
  4. Press the Power button to confirm the selection.
  5. Restart your device.

4. Wait for some time

The thing with OTA updates is that users can get notified about them even when they are not out. More commonly, OEM pushes updates and then, due to certain serious issues, doubles down on it until it’s stable enough for the general public.

So, if the update won’t install after all the previous steps, consider waiting for some time and inform yourself of the state of the latest update. If announced, it will come out eventually.

5. Reset your device to factory settings

On the other hand, if you still can’t install Android updates on your device, reset your device to factory settings. We wrote about this procedure in detail in this article. In short, resetting your device to factory settings will wipe all your data and restore the device software to its original state.

Here’s how to reset your device to factory settings:

  1. Back up your media files and settings to a cloud, PC, or external drive.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Choose System.
  4. Select Reset options.
  5. Tap Erase all (factory reset).
  6. Tap Erase all.reset device to factory settings android 11 1

That’s a wrap. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us. You can do that in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.