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

We have all encountered problems with Google Play at one time or another. Every app has its issues, so this is no surprise. Still few things are more frustrating than trying to download that new game you’ve been hyped about for ages, only to have your download pending indefinitely. This is why we are here to help! Here are the common fixes to the notorious Play Store download pending error.

Check current downloads and updates

More often than not, the culprit for a Play Store download pending error is simply that there are apps updating at the same time. You will also encounter it 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, 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 them 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 downloading on data. To do this:

  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

Two common culprits for Google Play problems are full storage and SD cards. To make sure they are not responsible for your download pending, there are a couple of things you can do. Usually you will receive a notification if your storage is low.

  1. If you didn’t but you still suspect it might be causing the problem, check it 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. You can then attempt your download once again.

android oreo storage

If it’s still pending, your SD card might be at fault, if it’s not positioned or set up properly. Cancel the download, then eject it, 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, you can select a device of your choice from the dropdown list of devices associated with this Google account. It’s not a 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: Depending on your Android version and UI the steps might differ, but only slightly.)

  • Head to Settings, then Apps.
  • Locate 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 now 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 pop ups, install it and hope for the best.

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 in 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 the 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 want or need to do it manually, you can follow our detailed guide on downloading and installing the Play Store here.

Editor's Pick

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

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