Play Store apps won't open Chromebook.

How to Fix Play Store Problems on Chromebooks (Ultimate Guide)

So, the Play Store apps aren’t opening on your Chromebook.

Or they’re crashing, closing, freezing on their own.

Maybe they’ve even disappeared entirely.

What’s going on?

These are common problems reported with Play Store apps downloaded onto your Chromebook.

And most of them can be fixed with some easy troubleshooting solutions or clearing the app cache.

Other times, logging in as a Guest or adjusting various Chrome OS settings may fix the issue.

And if all else fails, then a Powerwash may do the trick.

In this troubleshooting tutorial, we’ll discuss:

  • Why your Chromebook apps aren’t opening or keep closing
  • How to fix apps that keep crashing
  • How to restore apps that disappeared
  • Ways to clear the app cache
  • Fixing server errors
  • Other ways to fix common app bugs
  • And more

By the end of this guide, you should have a good foundation of knowledge to identify the problem and how to resolve it to get your Play Store apps up and running.

(And you don’t need to be technical- I lay out all the steps for you. Drop a comment if you get stuck on a step.)

Feel free to bookmark this page for easy reference if you ever have app problems again in the future.

Sound good? Let’s get your apps restored on your Chromebook.

How to fix a Chromebook app that won’t open

Patrick Star from Spongebob with a nail in his head meme - Play Store apps can have technical problems on Chromebooks.
Technical problems with Play Store apps is common on Chromebooks.

If you have a specific Play Store that won’t open, there may be an issue with the app that can be resolved by clearing the cache or deleting it and then installing it again.

You can remove the app from your Chromebook first:

  • Find the app in the Launcher.
  • Right-click on the app’s icon.
  • Remove the app.

Then go to the Play Store and download it again:

  • Launch the Play Store
  • Search for the app
  • Verify that it’s compatible with your Chromebook
  • Download it and install it

After the app finishes downloading, restart your Chromebook to clear the RAM cache. Then try to launch it again.

If the same error appears, you can try to clear the app cache, which is what we’ll cover next.

And if that doesn’t work, a recent update by the developer may have broken something. Reach out to the dev and let them know about this bug.

Or you can post a comment here and I’ll try to help you out.

How to clear the app cache on Chromebook

Clear cache Chromebook meme.
Aliens do it. Why not you?

You can clear the app cache on Chrome OS and wipe it entirely if you’re having caching issues.

Some common symptoms of an app cache problem include data not updating, login issues, unresponsive buttons, or endless looping actions.

Clearing the app cache may help resolve problems you’re having with Android apps.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Sign in to your Google Account (the owner account)
  • Launch Chrome
  • Type in “chrome://settings” in the URL bar and hit Enter (without quotes)
  • Find “App Settings” and then find “Apps”
  • Find the app that you want to clear in the list and click on it
  • Look for the section titled “Storage”
  • Click on the “Clear Cache” button

This will completely wipe the app’s cache.

The next time you load it, it may load slightly slower and have to recache everything. But it should wipe any lingering data that could be throwing errors when you try to open the app.

You can also clear the data if needed, such as erasing saved games, accounts, or other data that you no longer want on your Chromebook.

Common Google Play errors

Fry user error meme.
Google Play errors on your Chromebook?

Some apps will give you an error when you try to open any Android apps.

Here are some of the most common errors and steps to troubleshoot them.

“Couldn’t connect with the server” error

If you get this error, double-check that your WiFi connection is up and running.

See if you can run any other apps or use your web browser. If they all don’t work, then yeah, it’s probably your WiFi connection. Disconnect and reconnect to fix it.

However, if they DO work and it’s just Google Play that has this error, you’ll want to see if there’s downtime on their end.

Try the following:

  • Use your Android device and see if you can launch the Play Store
  • Check for any Play Store service updates on Twitter
  • Try to connect to it on a different computer
  • Disconnect and reconnect from your WiFi
  • Restart your Chromebook
  • Try again later

If none of these resolve the issue, post your problem on the Google Product Forums.

“Something went wrong” error

This error gives no explanation and will keep looping no matter how many times you try.

There’s no way to fix this one as it’s usually due to using a borrowed Chromebook from your school. If the Chromebook is enrolled in a school environment, the admin team may have disabled Android apps from the Play Store.

Here’s how you can quickly check if your Chromebook is a managed device:

  • Launch Chrome.
  • Type in “chrome://policies” in the address bar and hit Enter.
  • The policies screen will tell you if your Chromebook is managed by a network admin.

Note that even if your Chromebook is NOT managed, the school admin (or work admin) can STILL set restrictions on your device. If they block Play Store apps from running, you’ll get errors when you try to open them.

Makes sense, right?

So whenever you try to open them, you’ll get this error 100% of the time. There’s no way to bypass this unless you can completely reset it (which also may not be possible), or you buy your own personal Chromebook.

There are plenty of budget-friendly Chromebooks that are perfect for students.

This is the common reason why none of your apps will open.

Why do apps keep closing and crashing on my Chromebook?

If your Play Store apps constantly freeze, crash, or stutter on your Chromebook, the reason is usually due to the “emulation” between Chrome OS and Android.

Don’t forget: These apps were made for smartphones. When you port them over to a laptop, problems will happen.

As time goes on and the two systems learn to “talk” to each other, I’d expect fewer app crashes and optimized performance.

If it’s a specific app that always crashes, yet other ones work fine, contact the developer of the app and let them know. This is also very likely because of the reason mentioned previously.

However, if ALL or MOST of your apps crash, this may actually be on your end.

You’ll want to see what’s going on with your Chromebook by trying out a few troubleshooting methods:

  • Uninstall and reinstall the app
  • Restart your Chromebook
  • Powerwash it
  • Use a different Google Account
  • See if other users are reporting the same problem
  • Update your Chromebook to the latest version
  • Ensure that the app is ABLE to run on your specific Chromebook model (you can identify which Chromebook you have and ask the developer).

How to restore apps on Chromebook

Restore apps Chromebook meme.
Restore apps? Only if that actually existed.

Chrome OS has no specific process to restore lost Chromebook apps.

Once you Powerwash, change accounts or delete any Play Store apps, there’s no way to automatically restore them.

Google has announced that they’re working on a solution to automatically restore Play Store apps but hasn’t released any specific dates of when this will roll out.

So for now, there is no way you can get your Play Store apps back without downloading them all over again. Chromebooks don’t have a “trash can” feature that lets you easily restore deleted apps.

Once you delete them, they’re gone. For good!

Get into the habit of making regular backups or using Google Drive, which is included on your device and makes it easy to save stuff to the cloud. This way, even if you switch Chromebooks, you still have access to all your data.

Additionally, you can make a recovery drive for your Chromebook. This will let you restore Chrome OS if it ever gets corrupted, broken, damaged, or infected with a virus.

This will save a copy of Chrome OS when it was working and will let you revert back to it. It’s like a “restore point” on Windows PC or “time machine” on macOS.

My Play Store apps disappeared!

If you can’t find a specific app that seems to have disappeared from your Chromebook, you may be able to restore the app using these troubleshooting tips.

If ALL your Play Store Android apps are gone, there are two common reasons why this happens.

Ensure you’re using the right Google Account

Check to make sure you’re logged into YOUR Google Account.

Did you know the apps on your Chromebook are specific to each user’s account

This means that if you sign into someone else’s account, you’ll see a different set of apps that they’ve downloaded.

Each user profile has its own set of apps that were installed on the Chromebook by that user. If you’re signed into the wrong account, you won’t see YOUR apps, but rather another user. So make sure you’re logged in to the right account.

You can log out of your device and then relog to fix this.

Also, if you’re logged into multiple accounts, this can also limit the apps you can see. Log out of ALL accounts, then sign in with just the one that has the apps attached to it. You should now see your apps again.

Make sure your school or work didn’t disable Play Store apps

Once your Chromebook gets enrolled and managed by an external network, Play Store apps can be restricted and this can result in error messages or your Play Store apps disappearing.

You’ll want to confirm with your admin team about this as there’s no way around this block.

Finding a missing app

If you can’t find a SPECIFIC app, you can verify that it’s still installed on your Chromebook.

Similar to the above, you’ll want to make sure you’re logged in to the right Google Account.

Remember that apps are specific to each user’s profile.

If you’re signed in to multiple accounts, this can also limit the apps you can see.

Try the following:

  • Sign out of all accounts on your Chromebook.
  • Log in to just your account (or the one with the apps).
  • Check to see if the app is visible again.

If you still can’t find it, try the following to locate it on Chrome OS:

  • Press the Launcher key.
  • Start typing the name of the app. If it’s installed, it’ll show up on the list.

If you don’t see it, it may have been uninstalled or disabled/removed from the Play Store.

There are plenty of fraudulent and scam apps that get removed all the time for violating the terms of service.

So if you’ve downloaded a new, no-name app with barely any reviews, it may have been removed. Or the developer may have removed it also.

See a list of all installed apps

You can also check to see that it’s installed by viewing the list of the installed apps on your Chromebook.

Here’s how:

  • Launch Chrome.
  • Type in “chrome://settings” and hit Enter in the address bar.
  • Go to Google Play Store > More > Manage Android app preferences > Apps.
  • Find your app on the list.

If you don’t see it, it was indeed removed.

Help! Google Play is not working!

Don't have enough space Play Store meme.
My phone background. (Via imgur.)

If the Google Play Store app doesn’t open on your Chromebook, here are some things you can try to fix the issue.

Check your WiFi connection

This is the most common problem that triggers the Play Store to show a blank screen or not load correctly.

Or simply not open at all.

Make sure that you’re on a stable, strong WiFi signal. If you’re in public or using a crappy connection with intermittent uptime, this may cause your Play Store app to sometimes work and other times not.

Try these tips:

  • Change the WiFi network to a different one and see if the problem still persists
  • Use your phone’s hotspot (mobile tethering)
  • Resolve DHCP and DNS errors
  • Sit closer to the WiFi router if you’re in your home
  • See if the issue occurs on another device
  • Disconnect from the WiFi network and reconnect
  • Troubleshoot common WiFi errors

Update Chrome

Make sure you’re on the latest version of Chrome OS.

As you know, the Play Store is new to Chromebooks, and updates are always pushed out to enhance the service.

Bug fixes, security patches, and service optimizations are always rolled out each update. This is why you should be on the latest version of Chrome OS so you have the newest bug fixes.

You can check what version of Chrome OS you’re on by doing the following:

  • Launch Chrome
  • Click on the Menu
  • Go to Help > About Google Chrome
  • Check the version number and see if there are any updates available
  • Update your Chromebook if necessary

By default, your Chromebook updates itself by installing the latest version of Chrome OS in the background. It requires a complete restart (not simply closing the lid and putting it into hibernate).

So let it restart from time to time so it can grab the newest patches. This may help fix some freezing, crashing, or launching problems with the Play Store.

Make sure your Chromebook has enough space

Those apps really add up.

Verify that you have enough free storage space available before downloading another one. Most units only have 16GB, so you won’t have much room to begin with. Delete unused apps to free up space.

You’d be surprised at the number of people who think the Play Store is broken when in reality they don’t read error messages to clean up junk on their device.

Restart your Chromebook

The last option is to simply fully power down and then power up your Chromebook. There may be an issue with the RAM cache or system cache and restarting your device clears both.

What apps are available for Chromebook?

You can find apps for your Chromebook with two app stores that offer thousands of free and paid apps.

This allows you to customize your device to your lifestyle and use it how you want. That’s probably one of the best things about Chromebooks.

If you’re a student, you can grab all the productivity apps you need to ace that class.

If you’re a creative artist, there are many different drawing apps, photo touch up apps, and even video editors.

If you’re a music artist, get yourself some music production apps (DAW).

Or if you just want to sit back and play some games, there’s everything from Minecraft to Dota2, Path of Exile, WoW, Warframe, and more.

You can even play games directly in the browser- MMOs, FPS, strategy, puzzlers, and even offline games.

Feeling money hungry? Learn how to make money on the side with nothing but your Chromebook.

Or just mess around and explore what you can do with your Chromebook when you’re bored.

You can download apps from two places:

  • Chrome Web Store
  • Play Store

Older models may not have access to the Play Store apps.

All Chromebooks should have access to the Chrome Web Store apps. Depending on your specific model, some apps may not work on your device.

You can see which apps are available for your Chromebook by searching for the app and viewing the app description.

  • If you see an error that says “not compatible with your device” then you know this app won’t work with your Chromebook.
  • If you see “install” then you know it does work.

Why can’t I get apps on my Chromebook?

If you can’t download apps on your Chromebook, there’s a good explanation why.

This could due to a few various reasons:

  • Your Chromebook is an older model and doesn’t have the Play Store app
  • Your Chromebook is managed by your work or school and they disabled Play Store apps
  • Your Chromebook isn’t compatible with a particular app
  • Your Chromebook has no more available space (learn how to free up space and speed it up)

The first issue can be resolved by forcing the Android app store to download onto your system.

As long as your device is planned for a future update, you can get it early by enrolling in the Beta Channel.

If your Chromebook belongs to your school or work environment, there’s no way around this. There aren’t any bypass tricks or restriction removals that you can do.

The second issue needs to be addressed by your school or work- whoever manages the Chromebook enrollment.

There’s no way around this block and you’ll need them to enable the Play Store for you. If they block the apps, you’ll be barred from downloading, installing, or even launching the Play Store- so if you suddenly see the Play Store launcher disappear, this may be why.

You’ll have to get in touch with your admin team and allow access or buy your own personal Chromebook. Some can be had for cheap.

If your Chromebook is older, it could be either scheduled for a future update OR will never receive the update. Find out what Chromebook model you have and check to see if it’s supported for an update.

Or if you have the Play Store but SOME apps don’t work, they could just be incompatible with your Chromebook model.

Try updating it or contacting the developer for more details. It’s possible that the developer behind the app may update it to work with your device.

The last problem is easily fixed by you.

You can’t download apps if your Chromebook has no more free space.

You can delete unused apps to make more space, upgrade your hard disk, use a USB, SD card, or external hard drive, or just buy a Chromebook with a huge hard disk.

How do you fix an app that keeps crashing?

Chromebooks can run Play Store without issue for the most part.

But there are some apps that act pretty wonky on Chrome OS because the integration is still new.

Report the bug to the developer

This means you shouldn’t expect every app to run smoothly without any hiccups. If an app keeps crashing, freezing, or just doesn’t start up, you should report it as a bug to the developer to let them know.

You can post a review on the app page and let them know these details so they can fix it:

  • Your Chromebook model (if you don’t know it, see this Chromebook identifier)
  • The error or message you see on the screen after it crashes (if any)
  • Any common trends you notice that makes the app crash
  • What happens after the app crashes

Resolve it on your own

Other than letting the developer know so they can look into it and resolve it, you can also do some things on your end to troubleshoot the crashing:

  • Clear the app cache
  • Restart your Chromebook
  • Update Chrome OS
  • Delete and install the app again
  • See if it occurs on other devices

Some apps won’t work and keep crashing for particular Chromebook models due to hardware limitations or compatibility problems.

Remember that these apps were made for Android PHONES, not Chromebooks. So when you try to force run it on a laptop, problems are to be expected.

Hard reset your Chromebook

When you have no other choice, you can always do a Powerwash (hard reset) to completely wipe your device.

This will erase everything and make your Chromebook like new again, so whatever bug you had going on may be magically fixed.

Of course, if the problem is due to a corrupted or poorly coded Play Store app, even a Powerwash won’t do anything to resolve it.

If you have nothing to lose, then why not give it a try? It’ll still reformat Chrome OS and get rid of a bunch of unused apps that are just hogging up space and slowing down your Chromebook.

Here’s a complete tutorial on how to hard reset your Chromebook.

Did you get your Play Store apps working on your Chromebook?

A Spongebob Squarepants meme suspecting Squidward playing games on Chromebook in another tab.
This could be you. (Via imgflip.)

By now, you should have a decent understanding of why some apps won’t open, crash, or disappear from your Chromebook.

The solutions outlined in this article SHOULD help you get your apps back that have vanished, fix apps that won’t open, or stop apps from crashing.

Because the integration between Chrome OS and Play Store (Android) apps is new, bugs are to be expected.

Over time, you can expect this setup to improve and bugs to be fixed.

Just the fact that you’re able to snag Android apps and run them directly on your Chromebook is awesome.

But we can’t take everything for granted. You shouldn’t expect everything to work without issue.

However, I hope the steps here help resolve some of your issues with apps on your Chromebook.

If you have any questions or you’re still stuck, drop a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Or if you found this guide useful, please let me know. Consider telling a friend who may find it helpful!

Thanks for reading.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).
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