How to Cancel a Frozen App Download on Android

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Fixing a Stuck Download on Android

Samsung Galaxy
Jason Hidalgo

So you’re chilling out with your beloved Android smartphone one day and decide to download your 100th fart app. Then Murphy’s Law decides to break wind on you and your Google Play Store or, for you old timers with an old-school phone, Android Market just hangs up all of a sudden.

If you happen to be as unlucky as a certain dashing portable electronics writer who actually does NOT download fart apps, then you might end up with a download that gets stuck or frozen. Making things worse is that the stuck download now refuses to go away, continuing to linger like the gassy ghost of the beans and sweet potatoes your uncle had for lunch.

”No worries,” you say. “I’ll just turn my phone off, turn it back on again, and voila … um, the stuck download is still there.”

Now what?

Whether you're rocking the latest OS or older stuff like Jellybean or Eclair, the solution is to access your Application manager via your settings app and either clear your cache or data and do a force stop or force close. Heck, do them all if you're not sure. For folks who need more specific directions, I list a step-by-step guide in the next two pages using two different variants of the Android OS.

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Using Download Manager for Stuck Google Play Store App Download

For newer Android phones, apps are downloaded through the Google Play Store. In order to clear caches and do force stops of the Play Store app, go to Settings, which is usually signified by an icon shaped like a gear. On a Samsung Galaxy running Android 4.3, for example, this will bring up a menu, and you'll want to go to the "More" tab.

From here tap Application manager. This will bring up a list of all your apps, which is usually separated between four columns: Downloaded, SD Card, Running and All. The Running section, by the way, is a good way to close out active apps you aren't aware of that continue to run in background. For this tutorial, however, just go to All and scroll down to the Google Play Store app, then tap on it.

You'll see a bunch of options here. Usually tapping on Clear cache and Force stop should do the trick. Otherwise, you can try tapping Clear data as well.

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Use Download Manager to Fix Stuck Android Market App Download

For older phones using, say, Android 2.1 with Android Market, bring up your settings by tapping the Settings app or doing whatever it is you do to access the settings menu on your Android phone.

Tap on Applications then tap on Manage applications. This will bring up a list of all your apps. In case all your apps aren’t showing, tap your menu icon and select Filter to bring up your filter options. Pick All to show all the apps you have installed.

Once all your apps are showing, scroll down to Market and tap on it. This will bring up another bunch of options. Now tap Clear cache and then Force stop.

This should hopefully fix your frozen download issue. Otherwise, you can also try going to Download Manager and tapping Clear data then Force close.