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Fix: Android apps won’t download from Play Store

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Google Play Store comes with more than 2.5 million apps and games. There’s something for everyone and, considering smartphones are an almost irreplaceable part of our lives, many of us rely on apps on daily basis. Unfortunately, some users report that apps won’t download from Play Store. Some of them get an error while others just get a permanent loading screen that leads nowhere.

If you are among them, check the steps we listed below.

Unable to download apps from the Play Store

If you can’t download apps from Play Store, make sure to check the network, inspect Date & Time, and clear local data from the Store. Have in mind that this applies solely to users who use recent Android versions (Android 7 Nougat and onwards) and have stock ROMs. If you use a custom ROM and can’t use Play Store, you can try to fix the problem with provided solutions but we are not optimistic.

If that doesn’t help, uninstall updates from Play Store, remove and add Google Account again, or use an APK to roll back to an older version of the Play Store. Don’t forget to report the issue to Google. Additionally, if you suspect a global outage (surprisingly, not as rare an occurrence as back in the day), check the Down Detector.

1. Check the network

A simple restart is a good start. Reboot your device and try downloading apps from Play Store. If that fails, check the network. Make sure that your smartphone is connected to a stable Wi-Fi network or mobile data network. You can check with other network-dependent apps. If the internet-based content is loading, move to the next step.

On the other hand, if there’s an underlying network issue at hand, learn how to fix it. If your network is fine but Android apps still won’t download, check the next step.

2. Inspect Date & Time settings

It might sound silly at first, but the incorrect date and time settings can cause a lot of problems with system services. We encourage you to navigate to Settings and completely avoid the manual approach. Just use Automatic internet-provided Date & Time settings.

Here’s how to inspect Date & Time settings on your Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select System (General management or Advanced options on some Android devices).
  3. Select Date & Time.
  4. Make sure that the “Automatic date and time” option is enabled.

3. Clear local data from Play Store and related services

The next step requires you to navigate to App settings and clear local data from Google Play Store, Google Play Services, and Google Services Framework. For the last entry, you’ll need to enable the Show system processes option in order to locate GSF on the list of available apps.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap on the 3-dots menu and select Show system processes.
  4. Locate Google Play Store and open it.
  5. Tap Storage.
  6. Tap Clear Data and confirm.
  7. Do the same for Google Play Services and Google Services Framework.
  8. Restart your Android and check if the Play Store works or not.

4. Uninstall updates from Play Store

Moving on. You can’t remove Google Play Store so a regular reinstallation procedure is not possible in this case. However, you can restore Play Store to factory values by uninstalling its updates.

Here’s how to uninstall updates from Play Store:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Apps > All apps > Play Store.
  2. Tap on the 3-dots menu and select Uninstall updates.
  3. Restart your device and connect to Wi-Fi.
  4. Wait for the Play Store to auto-update and try downloading apps again.

5. Update firmware on your smartphone

To avoid possible issues with system apps, make sure that your device is up to date. Updates are usually administered automatically but it’s advised to check for updates manually from time to time. If there’s a security or feature update available, make sure to download and install it.

You can check for updates by navigating to Settings > System > Software updates. If apps still won’t download in Play Store, check the next step.

6. Remove and add Google Account again

Since all Google services rely on Google Account to sign in and keep data, you can try removing and adding your Google Account again. Your apps or data won’t get deleted but, just in case, make sure to back up your system settings.

Here’s how to remove and add Google Account again:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Accounts. You need to open Manage accounts on some devices.
  3. Now choose Google.
  4. Remove the Google account.
  5. Reboot your device and sign in again.

7. Rollback to an older version of the Play Store via an APK

If none of the previous solutions worked for you, the only remaining solution we can recommend is to roll back to an older version of the Play Store via an APK.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Uninstall updates for Google Play Store.
  2. Navigate to APK Mirror or use any other APK aggregator that you trust.
  3. Download the APK. We recommend that the APK is not older than 3 months. You can also get a newer Beta or Alpha version. Basically, anything but the version you are currently running (the latest stable).
  4. Run the APK and allow the installation of third-party apps (unknown sources) on your device when prompted.
  5. Restart the device after the update/downgrade.

That should do it. If you want to discuss this article further and tell us if it was a helpful read, make sure to tell us in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2016. 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.
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