How To: Fix Google Play Store If It Stopped Working

When it works, the Google Play app is a convenience the Android fan boys and girls enjoy recklessly, but what happens if it took a kiss of death and breathes no more? First, we get frustrated, more in sorrow than in anger. Next, we start exploring our options. Because no Android device can get the new games and apps without Google Play, unless you check out the alternatives (list 1, list 2), of course. Yet, restoring the Alpha and Omega of Google’s grip on your life would require a few extra steps than just installing a play store alternative. The following is a compilation of the tricks that might do the job of bringing your Google Play store app back to life.

On/Off Everything

There is still one functional method that works with all kinds of smart gadgets of today that was known to our Grandmothers as “fixing electronics by smacking them,” you know, as with the old black and white TVs. No, don’t smack your device just yet because we’re speaking figuratively. You will try to turn Off and then back On the following apps and switches:

  • Google Play store app – Settings → Manage Apps → All → Google Play Store → Force Stop. I would suggest cleaning the app’s cache and even delete all associated accounts, but see if simply force closing will resolve it first.
  • Wi-Fi – toggle it on, wait for a few minutes and toggle it back on.
  • Airplane Mode – no idea why this even works for some people, but apparently the clog that appeared somewhere in the neurons of your device can be pushed through by toggling the Airplane On and then Off.
  • Your device in its entirety – this is a magic bullet that solves many problems in general, so let’s hope at this point you will already have fixed that Play Store. Oh, don’t forget to remember your PIN before you do that.

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Not so obvious nooks to sniff – Date/Time, Disabled Apps

It would never occur to me to look for the source of this abomination in the Date/Time settings if it weren’t for a random forum I was passing by in the hopes of resolving my own issue with the Google Play last year. Sometimes, switching the device off and on may reset your device’s date and time back to its factory creation date, or whatever. Any way, check and see if your time is in sync with the operator’s time. Put the settings for the Date and Time to automatic to see if the problem was in the Google Play servers failing to sync with your device’s time settings. Not there, yet? Try to set it manually as accurately as you can.

If the time trick did not work, head over to the Disabled Apps. In some devices, they will be listed separately as the last tab of the apps installed on the device. In some devices, you will find the disabled apps by scrolling down to the list of all apps – this is where the disabled normally reside. The thing is you might have disabled some app you thought was unnecessary or power-consuming, but it could as well be a part of the Google Play Store orchestra of system apps. See if you can find any disabled services that will fix that problem when enabled.

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Still not there? It’s time for some heavy artillery to come into action.

Wipe Cache/App Data for Google Play store and Google Play Services

First things first, go to your Settings → Apps → Google Play → Clear Cache. This will delete the unnecessary clog that might be causing the glitch. I can’t stress enough the importance of this little tip because it fixes a great deal of Google Play’s error messages, like failed downloads. I would recommend to do it from time to time as you perform your routine device clean-up.

If that does not help, delete the Google Play store data altogether – you will see that button right there opposite the clear cache button and it says “Clear Data.” This will effectively erase your Google Play Store information from the app. It means you will need to enter your credentials and password again if the app gets fixed.

The same trick can do the job if you repeat it with the Google Play Services app, which is basically the framework, the backbone of your Android that powers lots of features including the store app. So, it might be worth fiddling with, performing the same two steps – clearing the cache and app data for Google Play Services. You find the app in the same Settings → Apps or Settings → Manage Apps → All location.

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Deleting Your Google Account

If nothing above helps, head to Settings → Accounts → Google account → three dots drop down menu → Remove. This will erase your Google account from your device. Restart your device and tap the Google Play Store app. If it works, it will ask for your credentials. Log in again and enjoy.

Uninstalling Google Play Store App Altogether.. and Installing It Back

Sometimes, a bad update or an update gone wrong is to blame. You can’t just uninstall Google Play Store app, but you can uninstall its updates because it’s a system app. Uninstalling the updates will revert the app to the old version of itself. Again, Settings → Apps → Google Play Store → Uninstall Updates. If it worked, the next time you tap the app’s icon it will start downloading the updates again. You will be up and running when the updates are completed.

Have you been mingling with your Proxy/VPN settings lately?

If yes, that might be the culprit. If you’ve been using these features, try to deactivate them and see if that fixed the Google Play error. To find VPN settings, go to Wireless and Networks → More → VPN. To find the Proxy settings, go to Wi-Fi → Advanced.

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Factory Data Reset

The heavy artillery, factory data reset erases all data on phone including your contacts, installed apps, videos, photos, and everything but the apps that came with the device when you first bought it. None of them will have your accounts after the reset. So, do the backup or copy your most significant files to an SD card, cloud, or your computer before you resort to this last, but fail-safe fix. If nothing else works, factory reset will. You will find the option under Settings→ Privacy/or Backup and Reset → Factory Data Reset. Make sure your device’s battery is full before you proceed as it might take some time. Here is a step by step guide for resetting, and just in case, an insight on what factory reset does and how to erase your files from your Android device completely.

Final Thoughts

We hope one of these fixes worked for you because doing the factory reset is tedious – not due to the procedure itself (your device does it for you), but for the backup of your files and contacts to and from that keeps many users lingering with the solution. If the factory reset did not do the trick, it’s time to visit the nearest techie for a thorough diagnostic.

The last verse, same as first. If you are not that much of a Google fan, you can as well try one of the store’s alternatives like Amazon, or many other fine ones you will find in our lists linked at the beginning of this guide.

Have you faced the Google Play store not working problem? How did you fix it, what worked for you? Any special trick you want to share with our readers? Leave your comments below!