Google Play Store not working? Fixes and solutions

There are quite a few factors that could possibly affect the Play Store. We’ll run through the troubleshooting methods beginning with simple solutions down to the more complicated ones.

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1. How to pinpoint the problem

First of all, you’ll want to make sure the problem is on your end and not a wider problem with Google. Check the Play Store status on a service like downdetector, for example. If a lot of users are reporting a similar problem, then chances are it’s on Google’s side, and you’ll need to wait for them to fix it.

If you suspect the problem is on the user end, you’ll first want to restart your phone. It seems obvious, but this can be a quick solution to many issues. If your problem repeats, then it’s time to get to work.

(Please note: We have separate articles for when you’re getting a specific Google Play Store error code or a “Google Play authentication is required” error)

To start off, we want to check a couple of simple things outside of Google Play that might be affecting its performance.

Check your Internet connection

It may seem too simple or easy, but checking your Internet connection could solve the problems you’re having. Try switching from Wi-Fi to mobile data, or vice versa, and see if the problem persists. You should also try switching your phone to “airplane mode” and back again. Finally, you can reset your router to make absolutely sure you have a good connection.

Check your date and time settings

Google periodically checks your smartphone’s date and time for the Play Store. In case there is a discrepancy between the actual time and what is displayed on your phone, Google’s servers could have a tough time syncing with your device and cause Google Play Store to act up.

To fix this issue, you need to go into the Settings on your Android device. Under System, you should see Date and Time. Tap on this, and you will see whether your phone is on the Automatic date and time provided by your network. If it isn’t already then, you should toggle it on.

If your device is on automatic and your Google Play Store is still not working, then you should manually set the date and time. You first need to turn Automatic date and time off. Then start by entering the date and time with as much accuracy as possible. If this doesn’t work, don’t worry, there are still many more solutions for getting your Google Play Store up and running again.

date and time 1
Toggling the date & time settings can potentially solve Google Play Store issues / © NextPit

2. Check your Google apps

If the Play Store is frozen or glitching, force close it by swiping it away or going to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all apps select the Google Play Store, and hit Force stop.

Then, you’ll want to make sure that Google Play itself is up to date and clean. This involves making sure you have the latest version of Google Play installed, especially when the Google Play Store keeps stopping. If you still have problems, you’ll want to do some housekeeping. This means clearing the Google Play Store cache and, if this doesn’t solve things, going further and clearing out your Play Store data.

If there’s still an issue after the Play Store has been cleaned up, we’ll have to go a little deeper and clear data and cache on Google Play Services, as well as make sure to install the latest version of Google Play Services. If the issue persists, the next step (make sure to record your passwords, etc.) is to reset your Google account on your device.

Install the latest version of Google Play Store

It’s silly, but sometimes a Google Play Store update is available but won’t automatically download until days after being released. If you get the APK, you can have the newest version immediately, though. Read this article to find out how.

play store screenshot
Make sure you have the latest version of Google Play Store. / © NextPit

Clear the Google Play Store cache

In some cases, you can get the Play Store going again by just clearing the cache. The cache is a storage area that temporarily holds data so it can be quickly retrieved without needing to be reloaded. This could solve your problem, and emptying it is easy.

  • First, go in the Settings from your smartphone’s home screen.
  • You should then go into your Apps or Application manager; it depends on your device.
  • On stock Android, you will need to tap on See all apps.
  • You will now see a list of apps installed on the phone. Scroll down until you see Google Play Store and tap on it.
  • You will now see a screen that says App Info. Here, tap on the option that says Storage and cache.
  • Tap on the option that says Clear cache.
  • Go back and check if this resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, repeat the same procedure – but in the end, tap on the option that says Clear storage instead.
Clear Cache Google Play Store
Clear Google Play Store cache and check if that fixes the issue / © NextPit

Clear Storage on the Google Play Store

As mentioned earlier, if the issue isn’t fixed by simply clearing the cache, you can try the other option called Clear storage. The steps are identical as given above, but this step erases quite a bit more. It sets the app back to square one and gets rid of your saved information, hopefully including whatever glitchy data was causing the problem. Remember, when you do this, your files, settings, accounts, databases, and other information will be erased. You should make sure you have the log-in information for the account as it will be taken off the Google Play Store account.

Clear data and cache on Google Play Services

If Google Play Store is the heart of your Android device, then Google Play Services is its soul. Play Services is the mysterious background process that allows apps to communicate with different parts of your device, enabling them to sync, send push notifications, and so on. If clearing the cache and data in your Google Play Store didn’t work, then you may need to go into your Google Play Services and clear the data and cache there. Doing this is easy.

  • Open Settings and go to Apps.
  • Tap on See all apps.
  • You will now see a list of apps installed on the phone. Scroll down until you see Google Play Services and tap on it.
  • You will now see a screen that says App Info. Here, tap on the option that says Storage and cache.
  • Tap on the option that says Clear cache.
  • Go back and check if this resolves the issue.
Clear Cache Google Play Services
This is how you can clear cache on Google Play Services/ © NextPit

Install the latest version of Google Play Services

Another thing that may help is to download and install the latest version of Google Play Services and the Google Play Store. The most current version of the software is likely to be the most stable, so it’s useful to keep it updated.

Firstly, you need to make sure your Google Play Store is up-to-date. Here’s how you can do this.

  • Go into the Google Play Store app and tap on your profile picture on the top right corner.
  • Tap on Settings and then tap General.
  • Tap on the option that says Auto-update apps and make sure the option Do not auto-update apps isn’t selected.

 In case this option doesn’t work, read our tutorial here for a detailed explanation on how to get the latest version.

Auto update apps
Make sure the auto-update apps option is turned on / © NextPit

Reset your Google account on your device

We’re now coming to slightly more drastic solutions. If your Play Store app still isn’t working, then you may need to refresh your Google account on your Android device. This will mean your Google account on your entire phone will be reset and not just in the Google Play Store. Make sure you know the account(s) before you start this. You could lose the entire account if you’re not careful.

To do this, remove your account, then add it again. It’s pretty simple to do.

Go to your Settings and tap Passwords Accounts. Now you need to tap the Google account you want to remove, then tap the menu icon (three dots at the top right) and tap Remove account. Do this for every Google account on your device.

Now you need to re-enter your Google account. Go back into your Settings and tap on Account again. The only thing you should see is Add Account. If you see an account, then you forgot to remove one. Tap Add Account and follow the on-screen steps to re-add your account.

AndroidPIT google play not working 1
Removing your Google account then re-adding it could help. / © NextPit

Check third party apps

The steps above should confirm whether the issue lies with the Google Play system itself, but sometimes the problem can originate from a different, related app that can be interfering with the Play Store. First, check your disabled apps, and make sure that you enable Download Manager. You should also disable your VPN if you have one.

Check your disabled apps

Many apps need other apps in order to function properly. This is especially true when you’re dealing with system apps such as the Google Play Store. If you recently disabled an app, that could be your problem. Luckily, this is easy to fix.

Go into your Settings and Application manager or Apps and scroll to the bottom. This is where disabled apps end up. If you see any disabled services, just go into these and hit Enable, and see if that helps.

AndroidPIT google play not working 6
Enable your disabled apps. / © NextPit

Disable your VPN

Having a VPN is a great way to get all your favorite media outside your geographic location. You can even use a VPN to install an app in the Play Store of another country. But your VPN could be causing you problems with your Google Play Store in the region you’re currently in.

If you have a VPN enabled on your Android device, you should disable it. Go into your Settings and tap Network and internet. Check if you have enabled a VPN.

In case you have installed a third-party app for VPN. You will need to disable that separately.

Android disable VPN
Make sure the VPN option is disabled. / © NextPit

Enable Download Manager (Applicable only for older Android phones)

There is a chance that the Play Store will stop working if your download manager is disabled. If this is the case, the solution is simple. Note that this is no longer an option on devices running Android 10 and above.

Go into your Settings and tap either Apps or Application manager (depending on your device). You should either see all of your apps, or you might have to choose All. From there, find Downloads or Download manager and hit this.

You should be able to see if Download manager is disabled. If it is, then you’ll see a button marked Enable. Simply tap this button to switch Download manager back on. If all you see are buttons for Force Stop and Disable (possibly grayed-out, as seen below), then Download manager is not disabled, and you can rule this possibility out.

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Disabling the Android Download Manager wreaks havoc on your system. / © NextPit

3. Go for the drastic solution

Now, we’re getting to some more technical solutions that need to be done with care, so make sure you’ve tried the above methods first. Now, if you’ve rooted your device, then we recommend deleting the file “hosts.txt” in your system directory. If this doesn’t work or if you don’t want to root your phone, then return to the Play Store and uninstall previous updates.

Finally, as a last resort, you can always perform a factory data reset on your smartphone. This will erase all your data, so make sure to back up first.

Delete the file “hosts.txt” (requires root)

For advanced users who have already rooted their device, open your root-privileged file explorer of choice. Then go to your root/system directory and search for “hosts.txt” and delete the file. Note: do not touch any of the other system files!

Uninstall updates on Google Play

Generally, when you have a problem with an app, you can just uninstall it and then reinstall it. Well, that works for some apps, but the Google Play Store is a system app on your Android device. What you can do instead is uninstall previous updates to the app, and this might help your problem. Here’s how you can do it.

  • Open Settings, tap on Apps.
  • Tap on See all apps and scroll down to Google Play Store.
  • Tap to open it and then tap on the three dots on the top right corner to reveal Uninstall updates.
  • Tap Uninstall updates and check if the issue is resolved.
Uninstall Updates
Try the uninstall updates method in an attempt to get Google Play Store working again/ © NextPit

If your Google Play Store is still not working, then you need to go back and reinstall the updates. From there, head down to our last solution.

Perform a factory data reset on your smartphone

If you’re still facing problems after having tried all of the above, then you may have little choice but to do a factory reset. This is a drastic measure, and there are consequences. All of your data will be lost. So you should perform a complete backup beforehand. Your data will be restored when you log back into your Google account.

Here’s how you can factory reset a phone running stock Android.

  • Open Settings.
  • Scroll down and tap on System.
  • Tap on Reset options and then tap on Erase all data (factory reset).
Factory Reset Android
A factory reset is usually the last option. Make sure you back up all your data before doing this!/ © NextPit

Did these solutions work for you? Do you have any other advice to get the Google Play Store working again? Let us know in the comments.

This article was comprehensively updated in June 2021. Older comments have been retained.

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