Updating Gradle version for Cordova mobile apps

Ocassionally, a new Cordova or plugin version will force you to upgrade your Gradle version. This process must be performed with caution, and this article shows how to properly upgrade or revert your Gradle version for Windows and MacOS.

Gradle logo

Steps to update Gradle for Apache Cordova

Carefully follow the following steps to successfully update your Gradle version and rebuild your Cordova app with the newly installed version.

1: Stop gradle daemon

Run this command to stop any active gradle services, if any:

gradle --stop

2. Delete gradle cache

Locate and delete the gradle cache folder:

Unix: %USER_HOME%\.gradle\caches\
Windows: C:\Users\Andres\.gradle\caches\

To free up space, you may delete the other folders in the same level of the cache folder if you don’t plan to use the other versions anymore.

3. Download a new gradle version

Rather than directly jumping to the latest Gradle version, choose a version compatible with the desired gradle plugin for Android.

Gradle and Gradle Plugin Version Support Update

Android Gradle version

Android Gradle version compatibility

Download the desired gradle version from the Gradle Distributions site. In this case I’m downloading gradle-5.1.1-bin.zip.

4. Unzip the downloaded file

Place the contents of the downloaded ZIP in any location such as C:\gradle\gradle-5.1.1

5. Add the bin path to environment variables

To edit environment variables in Windows I use Rapid Environment Editor but you can use the clumsy editor provided by Microsoft.

Upgrade Gradle Version in Windows for Cordova

Upgrade Gradle Version in Windows for Cordova

Set the CORDOVA_ANDROID_GRADLE_DISTRIBUTION_URL system variable to the URL of the downloaded gradle ZIP file:


Add to the location you used in step 4 to the Path system variable:


Save the variables from the File > Save menu if using the Rapid Environment Editor tool.

6. Close opened command prompts and IDEs

Close any opened command prompts windows, otherwise your new environment variables won’t be updated. Also restart NetBeans, Visual Studio or whaever IDE you’re using.

7. Check the new version

To check if the new version was installed correctly, run this command:

gradle -v
Gradle version for Cordova

Gradle version for Cordova

After changing the Gradle version, you should follow these recommended procedures:

8. Re-add the android platform from your app

cordova platform rm android
cordova platform add android

9. Clean your project (optional)

cordova prepare
cordova clean

10. Check your project’s dependencies

To check if there are any dependency conflicts with your app, open the command prompt at your platforms/android folder and run this command:

gradle app:dependencies

Troubleshooting Cordova build errors

Check out this article if you get build errors after changing your gradle version: Common Apache Cordova build errors with Android

Also, switching gradle versions is another valid method to fix plugin-related errors.


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