Deleting the Google Play Store is impossible, at least with the default version of Android. Google forbids you from doing that for two reasons. First, it’s the main way to install other apps, both theirs, and those by third-party. Secondly, their goal is to have as many installations of their applications, regardless if you had a choice in installing them or not. The only way the app would be truly removed is if you wanted complete control and rooted your phone, or had someone do it for you. To be comprehensive, we’ve covered both cases in our guide on how to restore Google Play Store.
1. Check if Google Play Store is just misplaced
People who aren’t tech-savvy often think that Google Play Store is gone after they can no longer see it on the home screen. First, try swiping left and right on the main home screen. Double-check that the Google Play Store wasn’t just dragged from one home screen to another. If it isn’t there, open the app drawer to find it. Depending on the Android version, you have to either:
- Tap on the Apps icon in your hot bar.
- Tap on the More icon (four dots) in the hot bar.
- Swap from the bottom toward the top of the screen. If a small app drawer appears, swipe once again to expand it into the full-sized one.
Simply long-press on the Google Play Store icon to drag it back to the home screen.
2. Did you accidentally disable Google Play Store?
We get it – you don’t need to use all of the apps Google has pre-installed. And because you cannot uninstall them unless you root your phone, the only way to declutter is to disable them. With that said, it’s possible that you or someone else disabled Google Play Store by accident. To check, do this.
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down until you find Apps, Applications, or Apps & notifications (on Android 10).
- Now, depending on your Android version, you have to do one of the following:
- If you can see a full list of apps, scroll down to find Google Play Store. If you cannot, tap the More (three dots) icon in the upper right corner, then make sure Disabled apps are visible.
- On Android 10, tap on See All *number* Apps. Tap on the drop-down menu at the top, and select Disabled apps.
- Select Google Play Store by tapping on it.
- Tap on Enable to turn it on.
- You might also have to tap on Force Start.
- It will now appear in your app drawer, or possibly on your home screen.
3. Follow these steps if you deleted Google Play Store
So, you went full force, rooted your Android phone, and got rid of the Google Play Store app. If you don’t like its alternatives and want it back, you also cannot use the default way of installing apps as you… well, don’t have the app to do it. The solution is to install a Google Play Store.apk file. Think of it as .exe on Windows or .app on Mac. Unfortunately, you’ll have to use a third-party source hosted on an unofficial website.
Here are our recommendations for the websites you can trust to download Google Play Store.
After you do, follow these steps.
- Connect your Android phone via USB or wirelessly using a third-party application.
- Transfer the .apk file anywhere you want. Both internal and external (SD card) memory locations are fine.
- Open the File Manager app on your phone, find the .apk file, and tap to install it.
- You’ll be prompted to confirm that it came from an unknown source and that you take full responsibility.
- Google Play Store is now installed.
- Login to your Google account inside the app if needed.
- If you can’t remember your Gmail phone number or if your Gmail was deleted, follow the steps in the guide to recover it.
4. Format your Android device
This is the worst-case scenario and a very radical step to take. But if the APK method isn’t working, and you need the Google Play Store urgently, it might be your only option.
- Backup all the files from your internal memory. Those on an SD card won’t be affected.
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll down and select the System.
- Tap on Advanced to expand your options.
- Make sure Backup is on On.
If it’s on Off, enable it, turn on your Internet connection, and give it some time to upload.
- Tap on Reset options below.
- Select the Erase all data (factory reset) option.
- Tap on Reset phone at the bottom of the next window.
- You might have to enter your phone’s PIN.
- Tap on Continue.
- Tap on Erase everything.
- Your phone is now back to the way it came out of the factory. Log in to your Google account, then find out how to recover an Android phone after a factory reset.
5. Clearing Google Play Store Cache and Data
Did you know? By only clearing the cache and deleting data from the Google Play Store app, you can overcome issues such as app download errors, frequent app crashes, and the unresponsive behavior of the Play Store. You have to just follow these simple steps to clear the cache and data of the Google Play Store:
- Go to your Android device’s Settings menu.
- Scroll down and select “Apps,” “Applications,” or “Apps & Notifications” (on Android 10).
- Locate and tap on “Google Play Store” from the list of installed apps.
- In the App Info page for Google Play Store, you will see options such as “Force Stop,” “Uninstall,” and “Storage.” Tap on “Storage.”
- On the Storage page, you will find information about the app’s storage usage, including the cache size. Tap on “Clear Cache” to delete the temporary files stored by the Google Play Store.
- If clearing the cache does not resolve the issue, you can proceed to clear the app’s data. Tap on “Clear Data” or “Manage Space,” depending on your Android version.
- A confirmation prompt will appear, informing you that clearing data will delete all app settings and user data. Confirm by tapping on “OK” or “Delete.”
- Once the cache and data have been cleared, restart your Android device.
- After the device restarts, open the Google Play Store app, and it should start afresh with cleared cache and data.
- You may need to sign in to your Google account again within the app.
Clearing the cache and data on the Google Play Store can often fix various issues and restore the app’s functionality. However, keep in mind that clearing the data will remove any locally stored preferences, so you may need to set up your preferences again after performing this action.