Can’t Download Apps Using Data (on Android)

Screenshot of Samsung Android Settings Icon

We had a problem with our Samsung mobile ‘phone refusing to download apps using mobile data but through trial and error we found a solution. It solves the problem of downloading Play Store apps using data on our Android Samsung but can’t say for sure if it will fix other Android phones such as Google Pixel, OnePlus, Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO, Xiaomi or VIVO. If it does work for any of those Android phones then please let us know and we will share that useful information.

As with all of our of our technical advice this comes with no suggestion of accuracy, correctness, competence or knowledge. It worked for us but it might break your ‘phone. Follow these instructions at your own risk and always back up your data before fiddling with any gadgets containing data that might crash, malfunction or just delete that data without even asking your permission. Machines will do that. They hate us. Always be one step ahead of their evil plotting and the Robot Uprising.

So, here’s a picture guide as to how we solved the problem of our Samsung (Android) ‘phone not downloading apps from Google Play Store using mobile data. Check out the WARNING in the last instruction regarding increased data usage after allowing background data usage.

First Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

First you need to access your phone settings page via the ‘Settings‘ icon which will be lurking somewhere amongst all your other icons. It’s usually a cog and it’s quite often found on your homescreen if you haven’t been moving things around.

Second Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

On the settings page select ‘Apps‘.

Third Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

Things might vary here but on our phone the next step is to tap the three dots in the top righthand corner to open a drop-down menu.

Fourth Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

From the dropdown menu choose ‘Show system apps

Fifth Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

When the system apps are displayed you must scroll down and find the app which is named ‘Download Manager‘ and select it.

Sixth Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

Nearly there! … next choose the ‘Mobile data‘ settings.

Seventh Screenshot of Samsung Android Data Problem

Finally …. and this is the step that fixed our problem with downloading apps using mobile data – you must set the ‘Allow background data usage’ button to ‘on’ … in our image this is indicated by the the blue colour.

WARNING: turning ‘Allow background data usage’ to ‘on’ may solve the problem that you can’t download Play Store apps on mobile data HOWEVER it will probably increase data usage for all other apps.

Understand the consequences of what you are doing before changing this setting. Change it back to ‘off’ after your app downloads if you do not want your phone to be eating data in the background without any restrictions.

This is quite important isn’t it? In a world where we expect instant access to everything – and most of that ‘everything’ is accessed through a phone app – the inability to download an app using mobile data could leave you high and dry. For example, ‘what3words’ is currently very popular for people who are lost or in difficulty but what if I can’t download the ‘what3words’ mobile app using data while I’m stuck on a mountainside or lost in a forest. OK, so maybe it doesn’t quite work like that but you get the idea. The most bizarre thing is that our phone has not always had this problem; it just became an issue one day so we must have inadvertently changed a settting. Technology! … it really doesn’t like us … when the Robot Uprising begins don’t bother trying to download any phone apps from the Robot Resistance Regiment using mobile data … the ‘bots have got that covered already.