I’ve had more than a few different situations where I can’t access the Google Play Store, and each time has been for a different reason. Whether it’s an update that I don’t have yet, the store itself crashing, or a setting deep within my phone that was turned off by something else; it’s still a problem.
Since the Google Play Store is Android’s main source of new apps and updates, it’s essential to have it working at all times. I’ll identify how many ways what seems like a simple process of opening the store can go wrong, and then how you can fix it. Sadly, you won’t be able to fix all of these problems, but knowing why they’re happening will at least be less frustrating.
Problem #1: Background Data Disabled
Since the Play Store app is constantly transmitting data back and forth, background data for it needs to be enabled for everything to run smoothly. This thankfully doesn’t mean you have to enable background data for every app you have, but if you intend to use the Play Store this needs to be turned on.
If you’re worried about the Play Store eating up too much of your data plan, it’s easy to turn back off once you’re done using the app. Just follow the instructions to turn it on but in reverse after you’re finished with everything you need.
Open Your Settings
It’s doesn’t matter how, but open your Settings and we’ll start from there.
Data Usage Settings
Find your Data Usage option in your Settings. From this point on, depending on your Android version, you’ll see something different. If you’re below 7.0 you’ll see something like this:
Otherwise, on 7.0+, you’re fine from here if you have your Data Saver turned off. If the Data Saver is turned on, and you don’t want to turn it off, tap Unrestricted data access.
Data Server Differences
On 7.0+ at this point you just need to hit a toggle switch next to the Google Play Store App, on versions below this you need to go through one more step.
On version below 7.0 you still need to scroll down to find the Google Play Store App, but instead of flipping a switch beside it, tap it.
Scroll down from this new menu for a toggle switch for restricting background data. Make sure this is turned off and you’re good to go.
Problem #2: Hidden Updates
While these updates aren’t hidden per say, they’re not immediately obvious, and you need them to actually access most of the Google Play Store. If Google Play hasn’t prompted you about them itself, you can force the update through.
Open the Google Play Store
You should still be able to access the main page of the Play Store at this point, so open it to the main page, or any page you end up on when you open the app.
Navigate to Play Store Settings
Either click the menu button on the main page, or swipe from the left on any other page to bring up the options shade. Go all the way to the bottom of that shade and tap Settings.
Check Your Version Number
In your Settings menu, scroll down to the bottom until you see the version number of your app. Give the number a long press until you get a new notification. If you’re up to date, you’ll be notified there isn’t anything to download.
If you do need an update, you’ll be prompted to download it now. Confirm the download and let it run its course. Now you should be able to use the Play Store normally again.
Problem #3: Play Store Downtime
Sometimes not being able to access the Play Store, or not being able to download something has nothing to do with your Android. The Play Store goes down rarely, but just often enough for it to be a problem. Unfortunately, when this happens the only thing you can really do is wait for it to come back online.
If you’ve done everything you can to access the Play Store previously, then you can at least take comfort in the fact that the problem isn’t on your end.
Problem #4: Lack of Storage
If you’re lacking storage space then you can’t download updates or new apps, but the Google Play Store doesn’t always warn you about this. If you’ve ever seen a download stopp constantly in the middle, or not start at all, even if you’re sure your network is setup properly, check your data storage.
Even if you think you have enough, it never hurts to clear out more than enough space for what you want to add. If a download won’t start, or stalls, clear out at least an extra 100MB before you try again.
Problem #5: Stalled Updates and Downloads
Storage space isn’t the only problem that can make an update stall. Your network, Google Play itself, and the app you’re trying to update can all get in the way. At times like these, there are a few different steps to take to ensure the problem gets resolved.
A Soft Reset
If a download won’t start, or stalls somewhere in the middle, try shutting down your phone and then giving it another shot. Your download most likely won’t pick up where it left off, but it will hopefully complete this time after a quick reset.
Update the Play Store
Is your Google Play Store app up to date? If you’re using the store somehow without an update, you’re bound to run into some problems. Swipe from the left side of the screen and open up your settings.
In your settings, scroll down to your version number and give it a press. If you have an update available, the app will tell you, and you’ll be able to download it, otherwise you’ll be told that you’re all up to date.
It’s possible the network you’re on the source of your problems. If you have the ability to switch, I recommend you do as quickly as possible and try again. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you still have something else you can try.
Clear the Cache Partition
Much like a reset, clearing the cache partition does the same thing to give your phone a fresh start. A clogged cache can cause a lot of problems, so clearing it won’t only help your downloads, but additional Android processes.
Uninstall the App
This doesn’t work if you haven’t downloaded the app before, but if you’re trying to update it, you can still uninstall and reinstall the app.
At this point, any update issues should be resolved.
Problem #6: Wi-Fi Only Downloads
When download an update or an app above a certain size, Google Play recommends that you only download it over Wi-Fi. However, sometimes it doesn’t just recommend it, it demands it, and doesn’t let you make any downloads over mobile data.
When that happens, you can actually disable the feature the same way you enabled or disabled background data. Follow the instructions in Problem #1, and make sure your data restrictions are turned off, or Data Server mode isn’t enabled.
Problem #7: Play Store Won’t Launch
This is an extremely frustrating problem with an unfortunately small amount of solutions. For this issue, apply a few basic troubleshooting steps, and then uninstall Google Play Store updates if troubleshooting isn’t successful. If you don’t know how to install previous updates, I’ll explain below.
Open Your Settings
Open the Settings app either from your drawer, one of your shades, or from anywhere.
In your Settings, find the section for Apps and open it. From there, scroll down to your Google Play Store app and select it.
Without rooting, the Google Play Store cannot be uninstalled, so the only thing you can do is uninstall previous updates. Doing this brings the app back to its factory fresh version, and will hopefully erase any problems you have with the app.
Just hit the Uninstall updates button to get started, and let the process finish. Afterwards, see if you can launch the Google Play Store again. If you can, it’s recommended that you update as soon as you can. This time your app should update correctly, and you’ll be able to access the store as normal.
With how important of an app the Play Store is, it’s important to get it up and running again as soon as possible. Not every problem with the Play Store can be solved on your end, but for most cases, it’s easy enough to get it working again.
If you’re having any problems with the Play Store app that I didn’t mention here, please ask about it down below.