Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers globally and has a poor prognosis. MiR-936 has been reported to regulate cell activity and tumor progression in non-small cell lung cancer, glioma, and epithelial ovarian cancer. However, the specific role and mechanism of miR-936 in gastric cancer have not been explored. In present study, gastric cancer cells were transfected with miR-936 mimic, and cell proliferation, cell cycle distribution, cell apoptosis, migration and invasion were assessed via cell-counting kit-8, flow cytometry, wound healing, and transwell assay, respectively. Dual luciferase reporter assay was used to check miR-936 binding to its downstream target. It was shown that miR-936 was downregulated in gastric cancer tissues and cells. Erb-B2 Receptor Tyrosine Kinase 4 (ERBB4) was confirmed as a direct target of miR-936 and negatively regulated its expression by miR-936. Overexpression of miR-936 suppressed cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, cell migration and invasion, and enhanced cell apoptosis in gastric cancer cells, which could be reversed by further ERBB4 overexpression. Western blot results showed that miR-936/ERBB4 axis regulated Akt-related pathways to control gastric cancer cell activities. Therefore, our data suggest that miR-936 overexpression inhibits cell proliferation and invasion and promotes cell apoptosis through Akt-related pathways by targeting ERBB4, which provides novel insight to target miR-936 or miR-936/ERBB4 axis for the treatment of gastric cancer.© 2020 The Authors. The Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Australia on behalf of Kaohsiung Medical University.