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How to stop downloads on Android

What's with all these automatic updates?!
By
December 3, 2023

Sometimes, downloads start happening at the worst times. You may need the bandwidth, or maybe you want to wait for a download to take place when in Wi-Fi range. We can show you how to stop downloads on Android.

QUICK ANSWER

There are multiple ways to stop downloads on Android. Google Play Store downloads have a Cancel button. You can also tap on the profile icon, go to Manage apps & device > Updates available, and tap the X on the app that's downloading.

If this is a common issue, it may help to turn off mobile data downloads and auto updates from the Google Play Store. You can also turn off permissions on apps to stop applications from downloading content. Keep reading to learn how to do these.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Editor’s note: We used a Google Pixel 7a running Android 14 to formulate these steps. Things may look a bit different on other devices and software versions.

How to stop a Google Play Store download

Let’s start with the most common downloads for Android users. Is that Google Play Store app you wanted to download larger than you thought? Maybe you should cancel it.

How to cancel Google Play Store app downloads:

  1. Launch the Google Play Store, if you don’t have it open yet.
  2. Tap on your profile icon.
  3. Select Manage apps & device.
  4. Tap on the Updates available section.
  5. You will see a list of available updates, but any apps currently installing will also show up at the top.
  6. Tap on the X next to it. You can do the same with updates.
  7. Alternatively, if you know the app you’re downloading, you can search for it and open the app’s page. Then hit Cancel.

How to stop apps from downloading files

Some apps like to start downloading their own content automatically. This is especially the case for games, which often don’t fully rely on the Google Play Store to provide updates. If you can see the download happening, there is usually an option to cancel it. If there isn’t one, then you’ll have to rely on other methods.

Of course, you could force close the app, turn on airplane mode, turn off mobile data, or power off the phone. Those are all very inconvenient solutions, though. Instead, you can ensure specific apps don’t do this in the future by turning off the app’s permission to your storage.

How to disable storage permissions for an Android app:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Tap on See all apps.
  4. Find the app that’s regularly downloading content and select it.
  5. Select Permissions.
  6. There are a couple of permissions to look out for. The most common are Photos and videos, and Music and audio. Tap on each and select Don’t allow.
  7. Storage or Media was removed from the permissions options. If the app is downloading any other type of content, simply toggle off Pause app activity if unused. This should stop app downloads when you’re not using the application.

How to stop the automatic download of the apps

Is the Google Play Store downloading apps and updates whenever it wants? Don’t worry, there is a way to stop this from happening. You can also make it so that downloads never happen over mobile data, and they only take place when connected to Wi-Fi.

How to prevent Google Play Store downloads over mobile data:

  1. Launch the Google Play Store, if you don’t have it open yet.
  2. Tap on your profile icon.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Expand the Network preferences section.
  5. Tap on App download preference and select Over Wi-Fi only.
  6. Tap on Auto-update apps and select Over Wi-Fi only.
  7. If you prefer having more control, you can also select Ask me every time or Don’t auto-update apps.

FAQs

If you choose not to let the Google Play Store auto-update your apps, you will have to manually go into the store and update your apps.

Apps will generally continue to work, even if they are outdated. This may not be the case if the update is significant, though. Additionally, we advise that you always run the latest app versions, as these often come with performance improvements, bug fixes, and security enhancements.