Unable To Download Apps On Android? 14 Best Solutions

The Google Play Store is every Android user’s best friend. If you are an Android smartphone user, you might start falling out with this friend of yours when the phone does not download applications for you. This article will help you when you are Unable To Download Apps On Android devices.

Unable to Download Apps on Android

There are several reasons why this issue occurs on your android device. We have explained all the possible reasons, solutions, and FAQs that will be able to clarify every query that might arise in your mind when you are experiencing this error. 

By the end of this blog page, you should be able to download the applications from the Google Play Store, without any hindrance. Keep implementing the solution procedures as we progress in this article. Let’s get started. 

Why am I experiencing the Unable To Download Apps On Android error?

There are six possible reasons that can potentially be the reason why Android users cannot download applications on their smartphones or tablets. They are listed below – 

Inadequate storage

A sufficient amount of storage is required for downloading an application and installing it on any device. If the platform that you are downloading the application from, detects full storage, it will not let you download the files. Instead, you will receive a warning saying that the device has insufficient storage and that you will have to delete some files to download it. 

Sometimes you will also receive a prompt with an option to clear unwanted, duplicate, and useless applications on the device. This is the only solution for you under this circumstance. You can also try dedicating the SD card on your mobile to download applications there. 

Damaged application and/or app files

Some applications or .apk installation files that you download from a source that is not recognized by the User Interface (UI) may be damaged. There are also chances of the file being downloaded incompletely. 

The system will not be able to download such damaged files. If this is your case, you can try downloading it again, from the official developer’s platform or a verified application hosting platform like the Google Play Store.

Wrong storage directory

This is an important factor that most of us do not take into consideration because the system’s firmware takes care of this. Some applications have to get their files stored in certain locations for them to run smoothly. If the correct location is not set as the installation directory, you will have to change the location to initiate the download. 

Unmounted SD cards

Even though downloading files onto the mobile’s internal storage makes the application function smoothly, some apps can be installed on the SD card. For such applications to run on your mobile, it requires a mounted SD card in the first place. Once you insert it, make sure that it gets detected by the mobile. Only then will you be able to install and run applications from it. 

Corrupt Storage

The application source and the app files are not the only elements that can get corrupt on your device. There is a possibility that the storage on your device is also corrupt, which could be causing this issue. Your storage could be hosting some undetected malware and that could be stopping you from downloading applications on your device. 

Disabled App Permissions

In most cases, the user will be able to download the application source but the system won’t be able to install it considering the lack of permissions allotted to it. Some applications may also not be installed when they come from a suspicious source. You will have to permit the device to download and install apps from such sources when you see these prompts show up.

Note: Downloading apps from Google Play Store is highly recommended. If you cannot get the application from the Play Store, you should be able to get it from the developer’s website. 

Basic Workarounds for the Android apps not downloading error

Before we get into the solutions that can be used to fix the not downloading issue for Android apps, there are some simple workarounds that might easily fix this error without having to involve in advanced solutions. 

  1. Format SD Card
  2. Check Permissions for the downloaded application
  3. Verify the Download location

Format SD Card

If you are sensing a corrupt SD card on your device, you will have to format it and there is no other option to help you. Before you do this, make sure to create a backup of all the files that are stored on the memory card in a cloud or another storage device. You will lose all the files that are stored on the SD card once this process ends. 

Format SD Card

The steps to perform an SD card format can differ from every Android UI but most of the steps involve a process similar to the standardized procedure we’ve provided below.  

  • Open the device’s settings page. You will find a gear icon for this in the main menu. 
  • Now, go into the Storage settings and find the option to format the SD card. 
  • Once you format the storage device, you will have to mount it.   
  • Now, choose the Mount SD card option. 
  • Finally, reboot your device and when it boots up again, you can try to download the application.  

Check Permissions for the downloaded application

One tiny workaround that can be used to fix this specific issue is to reset all the system app preferences on your device. This will help you when the error has been caused by disabled permissions for the application. 

Check Permissions for the downloaded application
  • Launch the Settings page and go into the Apps page in this window. 
  • Navigate to the option that will let you reset the permissions. This option is generally named, Reset App Preferences or Reset App Permissions. 

Once you do this, the system should allow the downloads to progress without any obstacles. 

Verify the Download location

Users can choose where the downloads are stored on their Android device. Though this feature is helpful at times, it is not recommended to change the download location.

By default, the internal storage is where the files, usually, get downloaded. You do not have to switch to a different directory unless this is absolutely necessary. 

Solutions to the Unable to download apps on Android error

  1. Reboot your Android smartphone
  2. Enable Mobile Data
  3. Take a look at the Date and Time settings
  4. Turn off the VPN service
  5. Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Store
  6. Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Services
  7. Uninstall and Reinstall the Play Store version updates
  8. Roll the Play Store back to an older version
  9. Get rid of the hosts.txt file
  10. Enable the Download Manager feature (For older Android versions)
  11. Download Updates for the System Software
  12. Reset the data sync configurations
  13. Reset the active Google Account
  14. Perform a factory reset of the Mobile phone

Fixing the Unable to download apps on Android issue

Reboot your Android smartphone

The first solution is to restart the device, with the intention to get rid of firmware bugs that could be causing it. This issue is one of the simplest methods to troubleshoot most issues caused by unsaved temporary files or system bugs. 

Reboot your Android smartpho

If the bugs are minor, they will be cleared immediately after the reboot. Under the unfortunate circumstance that the bug is quite firmly rooted, you will have to wait for the firmware developers to send out an update fixing this. 

Enable Mobile Data

An internet connection with adequate bandwidth is required for downloading files from the internet. All of us know this very important requirement but there is a chance that the issues come up when only a wireless network is connecting the device to the internet.

There are two ways for Android users to enable the Cellular data to feature on their device – 

  • The notification shade, which is accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen, has toggle buttons to enable and disable the Wi-Fi network and Mobile Data, with a single tap. 
  • The connectivity settings in the mobile settings are also a location where you can enable the network feature.

If you have network-related issues, you can check the network strength with a speed test and then, contact the Internet Service Provider (ISP), asking them for help with your low bandwidth grievance.

Take a look at the Date and Time settings

Wrongly set time and date settings on any device can change the configurations to suit the current time, mainly for sync-related events. It is important that the time is set close to that of your current time zone or the same as it. 

If you see a different time on your device, use the following steps to change this

  • Open the mobile Settings and look for the Date & Time settings. 
  • On this page, you will see an option to set the device time in sync with the time zone. This will mostly be a toggle switch named something like Automatic Date and Time. 
Take a look at the Date and Time settings
  • When this option is enabled, the mobile will get the correct time from the internet and set it for your and mainly the device’s reference.

You can also manually set the time. Just make sure that the time you set is close to the actual time. 

Turn off the VPN service

A Virtual Private Service (VPN) can be very useful when it comes to giving your network a proxy on your device, that can be connected to a network. However, there can be a small setback when users try to access some online platforms or download some files from the internet, with an enabled proxy network. 

The only option that will help you fix this issue on your device is to disable the VPN and then, try downloading the file. If this solution, does not help you, we could be looking at a different reason for this issue. 

Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Store App

The cache memory contains data that is created while using a website or application. The more you use the application, the more cache data is created on your device.

If the problem lies with the Play Store, there is a possibility that deleting all these files should be able to help you download the files without any further issues. 

The procedure to delete the Play Store’s cache is very simple. Check out the steps below – 

  • Launch the Phone settings on your phone and locate the Apps settings. 
  • You should now be able to see a list of all the app info installed on the Android device. Tap the Google Play Store option on this page. 
  • Find the Clear Data and Delete Cache options here. You might have to scroll through this page to find the option. 
Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Store App
  • When you select these options, you will lose all the data related to this service. You do not have to worry about this because when you open the Play Store again. 

Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Services

The Google Play Services is also a feature that has to be downloaded and up-to-date on your device to run applications. This service is closely associated with applications which makes it impossible to download files from the Play Store at times. 

You will have to apply the same steps you used to clear the cache for the Google Play Store, except for the Google Play Services. These two applications should be available on the list of installed apps next to each other when arranged alphabetically. 

The cache memory and app data for Google Play Services will be regenerated when you use any application that is downloaded from the Google Play Store. This also happens when you download applications that use the Google Play Services, mainly for cloud storage backup.

Uninstall and Reinstall the Play Store version updates

The issue could be from the Google Play Store’s side also. But there is not much we can do about it except delete the updates for this platform. This procedure might work for you when the issue comes up right after the Play Store gets an update. 

Some of us may not be familiar with this solution but the steps for this are given below – 

  • Open the App settings on your smartphone and locate the Google Play Store application. 
  • On this page, you should see memory statistics for this application on the device and a few options to delete the cache memory and application data. 
  • Choose the Uninstall Updates option and wait for the process to end. 

Roll the Play Store back to an older version

Since the Play Store updates could be the cause for the apps not downloading issue on Android, there is a chance that this issue will be fixed when the updates are rolled back to a previous version. This is not a conventional method to use but it can help you at times. 

You will have to use third-party apps to do this. Most of the time, this process is safe as there have been no known reports of this action causing an error. 

You can also download the .apk version of the previous Google Play Store version. Just make sure that the apk files are not older than a month.

Once the download is complete, you have to run the apk file to launch the installation process. Reboot the system when you are done.

Get rid of the hosts.txt file

One solution for this issue is to remove the hosts.txt file on your android device. This is the system file that has a list of all the hostnames and their respective IP addresses. Since the internet connection could be a valid reason for this issue, we can try this method to start network connectivity afresh. 

This is a complicated solution, considering the fact that most of us, are not familiar with this file, previously. Most mobiles have this file stored in the System/etc location on the File Manager interface. 

Enable the Download Manager feature (For older Android versions)

This fix is for Android versions older than Android 10 (Quince Tart). These devices have a Download Manager, that can be enabled or disabled to let files download on the smartphone. Use the steps below, if your phone has an Android version lower than V10 – 

  • Open the mobile settings page and go into the App settings. In this case, this could also be an Application manager, as it can differ in each User Interface (UI).
  • Locate the Download Manager on this page and tap on it. 
  • On the next page, you should be able to see if the feature is enabled or disabled. Your next course of action has to be to activate or deactivate it, depending on the feature’s status.

Users can also force stop this feature and check if this helps fix the app not downloading issue. 

Download Updates for the System Software

Some system bugs may be responsible for this issue. This means that there is a possibility of this error when the system firmware is updated. This is exactly why we are going to check if there are any available updates for us to upgrade to – 

  • Launch the phone settings page.
  • In this window, you should be able to see a settings option that says “Phone” or “About Phone”.
Download Updates for the System Software
  • There will be an option dedicated to checking the software version of your smartphone. Touch this option and you will also see an option to check for updates. 

If there are available updates, the system will detect them and automatically download them, when there is a strong internet connection. 

Reset the data sync configurations

There is a data synchronizing feature on most Android devices to make backups of your information. This feature can cause some issues when it is enabled. We will not be disabling it but instead, we will be refreshing this attribute to see if the issue gets fixed – 

  • Open the Settings application and move to the Accounts settings. This may be named Accounts and Sync on your device. 
  • Tap the Sync option if it is enabled and wait for a minute as this feature stays disabled.
Reset the data sync configurations
  •  Re-enable the sync feature and check if the issue is fixed.

Note: In newer interfaces, there could be an option for you to Auto-sync data on your computer. This option also has to be enabled and disabled.

Reset the active Google Account

Resetting the Google account on your device is a possible fix but is highly risky. You could lose all the information you have stored on the drive. You will be left with nothing but the username and password. These credentials will be useful to get you back into the account after you get logged out of all the devices, it was active on. 

You can reset the active Google account through the procedure given below – 

  • Log in to the Google account and open the Security settings. This option should be available in the Account settings. 
  • The user will be prompted for a password to access these settings. You will have to type the password in for this. 
  • You will be able to see an option for deleting the account. This is not what you want to use now. 
  • Find the Remove account option and select it to log the account out of your device. If you have another account on your smartphone, the system controls will be handed over to it. If not, the user has to log into a Gmail account again. 
  • Log back into the account and download the application. The app will get synced to this account and might get downloaded without issues. 

Perform a factory reset of the Mobile phone

The last solution for you is to reset your Android device completely. This will help you set all the configurations back to default and clear the files that could possibly be causing this error. It is very important to make a backup of all the important files that your device is holding so that it doesn’t get lost beyond recovery. 

The procedure for a factory reset is different with every UI so we have given a standardized set of steps for this. 

  • Bring up the mobile settings page. This is the gear icon you will find on your home screen or apps page. 
  • Go into the Phone settings. This could also be named “About Phone”.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the Factory reset option.
  • When you touch this option, you will see a warning that you will lose the contents of your smartphone. You will have to create a backup of your data now. 
  • If you have made a backup, you can start the reset process. This can take anywhere between an hour and three.
  • Users will have to re-initialize the device so that it can be used again. 

Once you have logged in to your Google account, try downloading the application to see if it does in the default factory settings.  

This article was the ultimate guide for fixing the unable to download apps on Android issue. If you cannot get over this error, still, you will have to contact Google customer support to see if they have other solutions for you. You can also check with your ISP and the phone service center. Happy Downloading!


Why Can’t I Download Apps On My Android?

If you cannot download applications on your Android smartphone, through the Google Play Store, it is most likely because of these reasons – 
– Inadequate storage 
– Damaged application and/or app files
– Wrong storage directory
– Unmounted SD cards
– Corrupt Storage
– Disabled App Permissions

What Do You Do When Your Phone won’t Download Apps?

If your Android phone does not allow you to download applications from the Google Play Store, use the following solutions – 
– Format SD Card
– Check Permissions for the downloaded application
– Verify the Download location
– Reboot your Android smartphone
– Enable Mobile Data
– Take a look at the Date and Time settings
– Turn off the VPN service
– Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Store
– Clear Cache Memory and App Data for Google Play Services
– Uninstall and Reinstall the Play Store version updates

Why Are Apps Not Downloading From Play Store?

If the applications you want are not downloading from the Google Play Store, there is a high chance that this issue is caused by these factors – 
– Progressing download
– Inadequate storage 
– Damaged application and/or app files
– Wrong storage directory
– Unmounted SD cards
– Corrupt Storage
– Disabled App Permissions

Why Are My Apps Pending And Not Downloading?

When you see that the app download from the Play Store is pending on your Android smartphone, it means that there is an ongoing application or update download. You can either wait for the download to complete or stop the download. If there is a queue, you will have to stop all the downloads until the app you want to install on your device.