Unable to install or update YouTube app on Android? Here's what you need to know

We don’t need to emphasize on how popular Google’s video sharing platform YouTube is (or has been) among the masses. Last year, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki shared the service had 1.8 billion monthly logged-in viewers. And it’s reasonable to assume, the number must have further shot up.

When it comes to providing support for older devices, majority services draw a line, and hence go for or contribute to what is popularly known as planned obsolesce. YouTube also took on such step back in 2015, where they retired Data API v2, terminating app support on devices manufactured before 2013.

YouTube app on iPhone

The change mainly impacted older devices like Apple TVs, iOS devices (iPhones and iPads), smart TVs, gaming consoles etc. While the company’s move made it to news headlines, the announcement didn’t convey anything regarding older Android phones.

Looks like the step the company took back then is affecting many users till date and they are confused why they can’t install YouTube app on their phones. And majority inquirers own Android device.

Users say, they’re asked to update the YouTube app, but when they try to do so by heading to Google Play Store, they’re notified the app isn’t compatible or it can’t be installed on their units. Humongous number of users have been reporting this for over months now across YouTube community.

Take a look at how some of them word this:

It asks me to update the app for almost a year but it always says “failed to install” when I tried to update on play store (problem -501 or 901). Now it asks for update again but I no longer can ignore it and I can’t access the app completely.

It says install the new version but when i go to the playstore it says it is not compatible anymore. what should i do?

Here are the notifications they get to see on trying to upload or install the app:


For those of you who are facing the installation/uploading problem discussed here, we’d like to inform you that YouTube doesn’t support older Android operating systems. The official support page for ‘Certain older YouTube apps are not supported’ signifies this.

As per the support page, in case Android phone users get to see the following screen on their units, it conveys the app version you’re using is no longer supported.


So users will basically have to update through Google Play Store to access the YouTube app. Just in case you aren’t able to do that, it means, the Android OS version running on your phone doesn’t support the newer version of the app.

So either update your phone to the latest Android OS, or in case your phone is not receiving the Android updates anymore, better go for a new device. And if you still don’t feel like bidding adieu to your older device, use YouTube via web browser instead of the app. Simple.

Here’s how the company words this:

If you cannot update your app, it’s most likely that your version of Android OS no longer supports the newer version of the YouTube app. To make sure you have access to the latest Android YouTube app, update to the latest Android OS.

If you’d like to continue using the YouTube app without updating your OS, please note that eventually, older versions of the YouTube app won’t be supported.

Here’s hoping Android phone users – who are facing the issue discussed here – find this information helpful. For more YouTube related news and stories, you may head here.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.