Trying to download and install an app on my new Android phone, but it’s stalled out and fails. What can I do to reset things or force a download? My Internet connection is fine…
App downloads can definitely stall out or get stuck in the Google Play Store on your Android device. You are using the Play Store to get the app, right, not just circumventing that and getting something directly from a developer? The latter is generally a bad idea because you’re much more likely to get malware on your new smartphone, either a virus, spyware or even a bitcoin mining app that’ll eat up your battery and processor cycles. Stick with the Play Store, you’ll be a happier Android user!
In terms of downloads getting stuck, my experience is that it’s often related to a first attempt at downloading that fails because of a flakey Internet connection, you being on the move when you tried the download, etc. Fortunately, the cause doesn’t really matter because the solution is generally the same: clear your cache, try again.
I know, I can hear you saying “uh clear my what? how?” so let’s have a closer look…
I recently had a download get stuck on a new Samsung Galaxy smartphone I was reviewing; Dropbox, my standard app for every device (makes it really easy to share screen captures). I tried and tried, even on different wifi networks, and just couldn’t get the download to happen. It was stuck at 76%, then finally just gave up, as you can see in the second notifications:
To be honest, the “if it fails” troubleshooting info in the notification is pretty darn useless. I had to use Google to dig up some useful suggestions, which are now in this article!
You can clear the notifications, they’re not going to really be helpful. Instead, go to Settings > Apps and you’ll see a list similar to the below of every app on your phone:
The entry for Google Play Store? Not useful either. Just keep swiping down until you get to the very bottom where you’ll find these additional options:
Tap on “Storage” to get to the right place. A shortcut!
You’ll end up looking at this storage optimization screen:
Look closely at the description and you’ll see it lets you “Free up storage space by deleting unnecessary data, such as cached, residual and advertisement files.” Finally, there’s that cache and that’s what you want to delete.
Do that by simply tapping on the “Clean Now” button.
Note: This interface is using the Samsung Experience interface since it’s on a Samsung Galaxy phone. If you’ve a different Android phone the interface might be slightly different but with a bit of poking around in Settings you should be able to find the very same feature that’ll fix the problem!
The cleaning process takes just a few seconds…
Once it’s done you can go back to Google Play Store and the download should work fine! For me that looked like yet another progress bar:
Still at 76%. But soon enough it goes beyond that – finally! – and is fully downloaded!
Phew. Problem solved. And that’s how you solve the stuck download problem in Android. Good luck!
Pro Tip: While you’re here, check out our extensive Android help pages. I have hundreds of articles on how to get the most out of your Android phone or tablet.