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How to fix the Google Play Store "download pending" error

We know you need those apps ASAP!
July 19, 2022
Update all option on Google Play Store app for Android 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

We have all encountered problems with Google Play at some point. 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. We are here to help! Here are some common fixes to the notorious Play Store download pending error and other common problems.

See also: How to fix common Google Play Store error codes

How to fix the Play Store download pending error

Editor’s note: Some of the steps in this guide were put together using a Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12. Keep in mind steps might be different depending on your device and the Android version you’re running.

Check current downloads and updates

More often than not, the Play Store download pending error culprits are apps updating simultaneously. You will also encounter the problem if you download multiple apps simultaneously or a couple of huge ones. If you urgently need to download Uber to get a ride, for example, there is a solution.

Keep track of updates:

  1. Launch the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner.
  3. Select Manage apps & device.
  4. Tap on the Manage tab.
  5. You will see which applications are in the process of being updated or downloaded.
  6. Just press the X next to their name to cancel the download and proceed with getting the app you urgently need.

Check your connection

Ethernet vs Wi Fi stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

This should always be one of the first steps you take, as the issue might not even be with the Play Store. It’s always a good idea to ensure you’re connected to the internet. If you are using Wi-Fi, try opening a website and seeing if it loads. You can also test your internet speed here. If nothing else is working, you likely have an internet problem. Try restarting your router first.

Those using data might want to see if their cellular connection is on:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select SIMs.
  4. Toggle Mobile data on.
  5. If you’re outside your country or network coverage, also toggle Roaming on (this may incur extra charges).

Make sure you’ve enabled data downloads, too:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner.
  3. Hit Settings.
  4. Expand the Network preferences section.
  5. Go into App download preference.
  6. Make sure the Over any network option is turned on.

Check your storage and SD card

MicroSD card slot stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

A common cause for Google Play problems is a 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.

Check how much storage you’re using:

  1. Open the Settings.
  2. Go into Storage.
  3. This page will show you how much data you have at your disposal.

You might also want to free up some space by uninstalling unused apps or deleting old photos and videos you have backed up elsewhere.

If the download is still pending, your SD card might be at fault — it might not be positioned or set up correctly. 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.

How to restart an Android phone:

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. Select Restart.

Download apps through your browser instead

Google Chrome on smartphone next to globe stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You don’t need to use the Google Play Store app to download applications to your phone. That’s the beauty of the cloud! You can start downloads from any browser, even when using a computer.

How to start Android app downloads from any browser:

  1. Open your browser of choice and go to the Google Play Store website.
  2. Log into your Google Account. It needs to be the same one you’re using on your device.
  3. Look for the app you want to download and select it.
  4. Hit Install.
  5. Select which device you want to download the app on.
  6. Hit Install.

Clear Google Play app cache and data

If the steps above do not help, it’s time to try something different. Clearing the Google Play Store app cache often solves many problems, including download pending issues.

Clear cache and storage on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Find the Google Play Store app under See all apps.
  4. Tap on Storage & cache.
  5. Hit Clear Cache.
  6. You can also select Clear storage for a clean start.

Check for system updates

Are your downloads still stubbornly pending? Sometimes an update or security patch might be all that’s needed.

How to update your Android phone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into System.
  3. Select System update.
  4. Tap on Check for update.
  5. Follow instructions to complete any pending updates.

Check if the Google Play Store needs an update:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Expand the About section.
  5. Under Play Store version, tap where it says Update Play Store.
  6. A notification will let you know whether or not the app is up to date.
  7. If a new version is available, it will be downloaded automatically after tapping on the option.

Change your Google account

Google account on smartphone 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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.

How to remove your Google Account on the Play Store:

  1. Launch the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your profile picture in the top-right.
  3. Tap on the Expand arrow next to your account info.
  4. Select Manage accounts on this device.
  5. Tap on the Google account you want to remove.
  6. Hit Remove account.
  7. Restart your device.

How to re-add your Google account:

  1. Once it’s back up, open the Settings.
  2. Select Passwords & accounts.
  3. Tap on Add Account.
  4. Hit Google.
  5. Input your login info.
  6. Open the Google Play Store and retry your download.

Uninstall and reinstall Play Store updates

Google Play Store on smartphone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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 might do the trick.

How to uninstall all Google Play Store app updates:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Find the Google Play Store under See all apps. Select it.
  4. Tap on the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  5. Select Uninstall updates.
  6. Hit OK.

You can now update the Google Play Store again using the steps listed in the “Check for system updates” section above. Try downloading the app again and see if this does the trick.

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

Factory data reset

If all else fails, maybe you need to hit the red emergency button you’ve been trying to avoid all along. A factory data reset will wipe your phone clean and leave it back the way it was when you first turned it on (at least software-wise). This means all your photos, videos, and other files will be deleted, so make sure to back them up before performing a factory data reset.

How to perform a factory data reset on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into System.
  3. Hit Reset options.
  4. Select Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Hit Erase all data.
  6. Enter your PIN.
  7. Hit Erase all data again to confirm your choice.

Are you still having issues? Look into our list of the most common Android problems. Maybe you’ll find a suitable solution there.