A photo of the Play Store showing free and paid apps - how to fix download pending

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We have all encountered problems with Google Play at one time or another. Every app has its issues. Yet, few things are more frustrating than trying to download that new game you’ve been waiting to play for ages, only to have your download pending indefinitely. But we are here to help! Here are some common fixes to the notorious Play Store download pending error.

Check current downloads and updates

More often than not, the Play Store download pending error culprits are apps that are updating at the same time. You will also encounter the problem if you are downloading multiple apps simultaneously or a couple of particularly large ones.

But if you urgently need to download Uber to get a ride, for example, there is a solution. Here is what you can do:

  1. Go to Google Play > Menu > My apps & games.
  2. You will see which applications are in the process of being updated or downloaded.
  3. Just press the X next to their name to cancel the download and proceed with getting the app you urgently need.

Check your connection

It might sound silly, but this should always be one of the first steps you take. If you are using Wi-Fi, try to open a website on your PC or test your internet speed here. If it seems to be working but it’s slow, either restart your modem or contact your ISP. If it’s working normally but Google Play is still not downloading your app or game, switch to data temporarily.

app network download preference to fix download pending problem

Make sure you’ve enabled data downloads first. Here is how to do that:

  1. Head to the Play Store and then tap on the menu button in the upper left corner (three lines).
  2. Go to Settings > App download preference > Over any network.
  3. If downloading resumes as normal, your home or office network is to blame. Restart your modem and if all else fails, call your Internet service provider.

Check your storage and SD card

A common cause for Google Play problems is lack of storage on your phone or SD card. Usually, you will receive a notification if your storage is low when attempting a download. However, if you still want to make sure storage is not causing the download to pend, there are a couple of things you can do.

  1. Check how much free storage you have manually by going to Settings > Storage.
  2. Free up some space by uninstalling unused apps or deleting old photos and videos that you have backed up elsewhere.
  3. Attempt your download once again.

android oreo storage

If it’s still pending, your SD card might be at fault — it might not be positioned or set up properly. Cancel the download, eject the SD card, then carefully reposition it and reattempt.

Restart your device

If you aren’t downloading anything and your connection is fine, but your download is still pending, you should try restarting your device. It might be another no-brainer step, but it’s a surprisingly effective one. Just press and hold the power button on your device, then tap Restart.

Download apps through your browser instead

You can try circumventing the download pending problem by getting your apps via your mobile or PC browser. All you need to do is visit the official Google Play website and log into your Google account. Once you’ve done that, type the name of your desired app in the search bar. Find it among the results and click it.

Downloading an app through google play website

You can then simply press install. You might be asked to enter your account password once more. When that’s over with, select a device of your choice from the dropdown list of devices associated with your Google account. It’s not guaranteed to work depending on the reason for the download pending error, but it’s worth a try!

Clear Google Play app cache and data

If the steps above did not help, it’s time to try something different. Clearing the app cache of the Google Play Store app often solves a lot of problems, download pending issues included. Here is how you can do this (Note: the steps might differ depending on your Android version and manufacturer UI, but only slightly).

  • Head to Settings, then Apps.
  • Locate the Google Play Store and tap it.
  • Underneath the Disable, Uninstall updates, and Force stop buttons, you will see App notifications and other options. Tap on Storage.
  • Make sure Google Play is closed and then hit the Clear Cache button.
  • If you don’t want to repeat steps, you can clear the data as well.

clearing google play cache and data

Finally, you should restart your device. Once your smartphone or tablet has rebooted, downloads should be no longer be pending.

Clear Play Services and Download Manager app cache and data

If the previous step didn’t do the trick, head back to Apps. In the upper right corner tap the menu button (usually three dots or three lines) and select Show system. This will allow you to see system apps. Locate Google Play Services and repeat the same steps — clearing cache and data. You can then restart your device or go straight to the Download Manager app. Once again, clear app data and cache and then restart your phone. Everything should be back to running smoothly.

Check for system updates

Are your downloads still stubbornly pending? Sometimes an update or security patch might be all that’s needed. To check if one is currently available for your device, head to Settings. Scroll all the way down and tap on About > Software updates > Check now. If an update pops up, install it, and hope for the best.

You can also check if the Google Play Store needs an update itself. Open the app, press the menu button, followed by Settings > About > Play Store version. If there is a newer version available, it will be automatically downloaded once you tap Play Store version.

software update android

Change your Google account

One of the other methods that might help you avoid the download pending error is removing or switching the Google account associated with the Play Store. Here’s how to do that:

  • Go to Settings and scroll down until you find Accounts & sync. Tap it.
  • Find your Google account on the list.
  • Tap it and select Remove account.
  • Restart your device.
  • Once it’s back up, go to Accounts & sync and scroll to the bottom.
  • You should see an Add account option. Tap it and re-add your old account or add a new one.
  • Reattempt your download.

Uninstall and reinstall Play Store updates

If you are at the end of your rope and nothing seems to help, a more drastic step might be in order. Uninstalling all Play Store updates. You can do this through Settings > Apps > Google Play Store> Uninstall updates. You may be prompted to change the Play Store to its factory version. If so, tap OK.

Don't factory reset your phone if you haven't tried uninstalling Google Play updates.

All that’s left is to open Google Play and retry your download. Don’t worry too much about downgrading your Play Store though! The app will automatically update itself to the latest available version. If for some reason you need to update or install it manually, you can follow our detailed guide on downloading and installing the Play Store here.

These are our tips and tricks on how to fix the dreaded “download pending” Google Play error. Did we help you solve the problem? Do you have other solutions that worked for you? Let us know in the comments.

Read next: How to install third-party apps without the Google Play Store

Do you still need help with your Google problem? Connect one-on-one with a Google expert through JustAnswer, an Android Authority partner.


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