Each Android user has probably experienced the Google Play Store crashing and burning. Whether you get a Google Play Store error message when downloading apps or the Play Store doesn't open and wondering "is the Play Store down?", here we've got the solutions to those times when Google Play doesn't work for you.
1. Clear the Google Play Store cache
In most cases when the Play Store's faltering, you just need to empty the app's cache. This is a storage area that will temporarily hold data which can then quickly be retrieved again without needing to be reloaded; in short, it helps the Play Store load quicker. To empty the cache:
- Go to Settings > Apps. Tap All > Google Play Store then finally tap the Clear Cache button.
2. Clear out your Play Store data
Along similar lines to - but more drastic than - the first tip is deleting the data from the Play Store. This sets the app back to square one and gets rid of your saved information - hopefully including whatever was glitchy data was causing the problem.
- As with the previous tip, go to Settings > Apps > Google Play Store but this time tap Clear Data.
3. Uninstall Play Store updates
Even this can help. Sometimes an update will do more harm than good to your Play Store app, so it makes sense to uninstall an update.
- Go to Settings > Apps > Google Play Store then tap the button that says Uninstall updates.This will revert Google Play back to the original version (as it appeared when it was first installed on your device),
- Next, you'll need to find an older - but still recent - version of the Play Store app to download. The best way to do this is by going to the Google Play Store page on APK Mirror and download it from there.
- If you need more help with installing the Play Store APK, read our guide on how to do it.
4. Clear data and cache on Google Play Services
If Google Play Store is the beating heart of your Android device, then Services is the soul - that enigmatic background process that brings the scattered pieces together and makes them greater than the sum of their parts. In other words, Play Services allows apps to communicate with different parts of your device - letting them sync, send push notifications and so on. Play Store problems could stem from an issue with Google Play Services.
- Go to Settings > Apps > All > Google Play services then tap the ‘Empty Cache’ button. If that fails to solve the problem, come back to this page and tap the Clear data
5. Reset your Google account on your phone
We're coming now to the 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. In other words, remove your account from your device then add it again.
- Go to Settings > Accounts then tap Google under manage accounts.
- Tap the Google account you want to remove, then tap the menu icon (three dots) at the top right and tap 'Remove. Do this for every Google account on your device.
- Next, go to Settings > Accounts > Add Account > Google and follow the on-screen steps to re-add your account.
7. Perform a Factory Data Reset of your smartphone
If you're still facing problems at this stage and have checked our guide for solving common Google Play Store error messages, then you may have little choice but to do a factory reset. Be forewarned that all of your data will be lost, so it is super important to perform a complete backup beforehand.
- First, make sure all your smartphone data is backed up. To do this, go to Settings > Backup & reset then make sure the 'Back up my data' slider is on. Tap 'Backup account' to select which account you want your data backed up to.
- Once you've done this, in the Backup & reset menu tap Factory data reset at the bottom. Confirm that you want to do this, and you phone will be as good as new. Your backed up data will be restored when you log back into your Google account.
8. For rooted users: edit hosts file
If the Play Store won't load for you and your device is rooted, you have an even simpler solution at hand: just modify your Hosts file for a quick fix.
- Go to your preferred file manager, then navigate to system/etc/hosts and select the Edit option (this will vary between devices).
- Add a hashtag (#) to the front of the second set of numbers and save your changes (i.e. change from 127.0.0.1 to #127.0.0.1). Reboot your device, re-add your Google account and your Google Play Store problems should be fixed.
Did these work for you? Do you have any other advice to get the Google Play Store working again? Let us know in the comments.
Updated by Robert Zak on July 14, 2015