Updating apps is quite important to keep them safe and to receive new features. Typically, the apps would update itself if the auto-update setting is enabled, or you can update them manually from Play Store too. Sometimes, when you open the app, you get a notification that the app needs to be updated. And when you try doing so, the app doesn’t update. The same thing happens to YouTube for many Android users.
When they try to update YouTube, it starts downloading but doesn’t install. They either get Error 501 or Error 901 while trying to update the YouTube app. Some even see errors such as ‘Can’t install YouTube. Try again.’
It’s a known issue, and many users have reported it in Google forums. If you are also facing the error, here’s how to fix cannot install or update the YouTube app.
1. Restart Phone
As usual, your first step should be to restart your phone. If other apps are also failing to download, then reboot your router too, if your phone is connected to the Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, turn on the airplane mode for a while and then turn it off.
2. Check and Update Operating System
With time, Google ends support for earlier versions of the Android operating system. And when that happens, you will not be able to update some apps on your phone. That’s because your version of Android isn’t compatible with the updated version of YouTube.
In 2018, Google ended support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. So, if your phone runs on Android 4.0 or lower, you will face issues while updating the apps along with the YouTube app. To check your Android version, open Settings > About. The Android version will be visible there.
You should check if an update is available for your phone. For that, go to Settings > System > Software update. If no update is available and your phone runs on the lower Android version, it’s time to buy a new phone. However, before doing that, you can check the alternatives mentioned at the end of the post for using YouTube on your current phone.
In case your Android version is above the minimum requirement, check the following methods to solve the YouTube app not installing or updating problem.
3. Remove SD Card
If your phone supports and has an SD card installed, try removing it for a while and then update YouTube. You should also try changing the default storage setting to Phone memory instead of the SD card. You will find it inside Settings > Storage.
4. Clear Cache
The next step to fix the issue is to clear cache for three apps – YouTube, Google Play Store, and Google Play Services. You should start by clearing the cache. If the issue persists, only then clear data.
Clearing data on YouTube will remove the downloaded videos and reset settings in the app to their original values. However, clearing data for Play Store and Play Services will not delete any data. Only the settings in the Play Store will reset to their original values.
To clear cache and data, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open Settings on your Android phone and go to App & notifications or Apps.
Step 2: Under All apps, tap on YouTube. Tap on Storage for YouTube.
Step 3: Tap on Clear cache. Try updating the app. If the issue continues, tap on Clear data or storage.
Step 4: Restart the phone. Check if the issue is fixed.
Step 5: If you are still unable to download or update YouTube, clear cache, and data for Play Store and Play Services by repeating the above steps.
5. Uninstall YouTube
Try uninstalling YouTube from your phone. If the app comes preinstalled on your phone, you will only be able to remove its updates and not fully uninstall it. But don’t worry. That will also work.
You can uninstall YouTube in two ways. Firstly, open the Play Store and look for YouTube. Tap on Uninstall. Once uninstalled, restart the phone. Then, update or install YouTube again from Play Store.
In the second method, open Settings on your phone and go to Apps. Tap on YouTube. If you see an Uninstall button, tap on it. Otherwise, tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select Uninstall updates. Then, install it again.
6. Uninstall Updates for Play Store
Similar to uninstalling YouTube, you should uninstall Play Store updates. Doing that will restore the Play Store to the factory version, thus removing any issue if present. Your apps or any personal data will not be removed from your phone by doing this. However, you would lose any customizations to the settings you had made in the Play Store app.
To uninstall updates for Google Play Store, launch Settings on your phone. Open Apps and tap on Google Play Store. Tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select Uninstall updates. Restart your phone. Wait for 2-3 minutes to let Play Store update in the background. Then, try installing YouTube.
7. Reset App Preferences
Sometimes, a certain setting changes on your phone that restrict the updating of some apps. To fix that, you should clear app preferences. Before taking the step, find out what happens by resetting app preferences on Android.
To reset app preferences, open Settings, and go to Apps. Open the All apps section. Tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select Reset app preferences.
Alternative Methods of Using YouTube
If the YouTube app fails to install or update on your phone, there are various alternatives to access YouTube on your phone.
Install YouTube Using APK
For that, you will need to download the APK for the YouTube app from a reliable source such as APKMirror.com. You can first try downloading the latest version of YouTube. If that doesn’t work, try installing an older version that is supported by your phone’s Android operating system.
Tip: You can even share APKs using file-sharing apps like SHAREit, Xender, etc.
Use Mobile Version of YouTube
If the YouTube app doesn’t update, you can still watch YouTube videos using its mobile version. For that, visit m.youtube.com from your mobile browser.
Try YouTube Go
Google has a lite version of the YouTube app that goes by the name YouTube Go. It is designed to run on devices having low RAM and for areas having bad internet connectivity. You should try installing it. Find out how it differs from the regular YouTube app.
YouTube Without YouTube
We hope the above solutions would have helped you in installing the YouTube app on your phone. If YouTube still doesn’t work, you can take the help of other sites to watch YouTube or check out YouTube alternatives. Of course, you won’t get all the features of YouTube but something is better than nothing.
Next up: Is YouTube consuming a lot of data? Check out 4 cool tips to reduce data usage from YouTube on Android, iPhone, and PC.
Last updated on 04 February, 2022
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