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Apps Not Downloading on iPhone

Apps Not Downloading on iPhone

Alisha C and 1 contributor
Last updated on

Much of the joy of owning a smartphone is the ability to customize it with applications to suit your needs. The stock apps tick most of those boxes, but choice is the spice of life, or some similar cliche. So, why settle, when you can find something which works better? Until the download stalls, taunting you with a progress bar that never completes. Thankfully, this typically has a simple solution. Keep reading to get yourself sorted out.

Before undertaking any of the more time consuming solutions below, here are a few quick fixes to get you started.

  • Restart your phone. this can clear any software hiccups.
  • Verify Date and Time Settings are correct. These can be modified in Settings > General > Date and Time. Incorrect time settings can cause download requests to fail.
  • If you are waiting on several Apps to download, prioritizing one may help. Press and hold the icon on the App you want to take priority. A Prioritize Download option should appear.
  • If things seem totally stalled, check Apple System Status. Things don't go down often, but its worth a quick look.

Network conditions, or settings can affect your ability to download apps effectively. Many are there to preserve your mobile data usage if your cellular provider limits this, but can prevent the download from occurring when you expect it to.

  • Verify your network is working in other functions, at expected speeds. Poor signal makes downloads take longer.
  • If a WiFi network is available, ensure it is enabled, connected and has good signal strength. It is likely speedier and more reliable than your cellular network.
  • Check your App download settings. By default your phone may require apps over 200 MB to download over WiFi. A pop-up is meant to appear to indicate this, but if it does not appear, or you want to rule it out, it is located in Settings > Apps > Cellular Data.

Even if an Application is free, its download is tied to the Apple ID that was originally used to install it. Faulty credentials can lead to inability to download.

  • If your settings App has a red notification, open the app to see what the iPhone is alerting you to.
    • You may need to accept new terms and conditions for the App Store. Click the banner at the top of the settings menu to do so.
    • Your password may need to be entered again. Sessions will time out periodically requiring a fresh log in.
    • Payment information may be expired. Even for free apps, invalid payment information can prevent your ability to initiate the download.
    • If notifications will not clear, sign out of your Apple ID and then sign in again.
  • A different Apple ID was used to download the app. This occurs often when you're moving data to a new phones. If a pop up asking for the password of an old account, or someone else’s account occurs, this is often why.
    • If you are unsure of the password for this account, reset it.
    • If you cannot access the necessary account or, or no longer want to use it, uninstall, or remove the download request for the app and redownload it with the correct Apple ID.

No electronic device has an infinite amount of storage capacity. If your phone is full to bursting with all your data, fitting one more app may just be too much.

  • Typically the phone will alert you to this issue, but to verify navigate to Settings > General > iPhone Storage for a breakdown of how much space is currently utilized and by what.
  • You can use the data in the settings to target specific items to delete or go for the broad approach and just delete anything you think you can live without.
  • Enable iCloud settings designed to offload data from your local storage. Optimize Storage under iCloud Photos is a prime example. This requires you to have enough iCloud Storage to backup all your photos.

A faulty OS can lead to many functions which seem simple to fail. Repairing the operating system on an iPhone is not always plausible, but that doesn’t mean you're stuck.

  • Check for and install any updates. Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update. 
  • If updating does not resolve the issue, a reset may be in order. Verify all your data is backed up before resetting since it will be deleted during the process. In the case of OS corruption, a reinstall using a computer is advisable to be sure a fresh copy of the OS is installed.

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