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How-tos

Can’t download apps on your iPhone? Try these 10 tricks

We rely on our phones for almost everything: email, texts, messages, calls, banking, you name it. When they aren’t working correctly, it can cause tons of unexpected issues.

Many of us are connected to our devices for work too, making bugs even more annoying. These issues always seem to pop up when we’re in a time crunch or on a deadline. Issues can also emerge after an update, which is what happened with a recent iOS update.

iPhones tend to be less problematic than say, Windows computers, but that doesn’t mean they always work correctly. If you’re having problems with app downloads on your iPhone, try these troubleshooting tricks.

1. Try resetting your iPhone’s settings.

Believe it or not, bugs in your low-level settings can cause downloads to stall or stop working altogether. These settings aren’t easy to access, but you can easily fix them by resetting all of your iPhone’s settings. Erasing your settings won’t mess with your data, either — so you don’t have to worry that this quick fix will delete years of photos or messages.

It’s easy to reset your iPhone’s settings. To do this:

  1. From the Home screen, navigate to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap Reset All Settings.
  3. You may be asked to enter your passcode.
  4. Tap Reset All Settings to confirm.
  5. Allow several minutes for the reset and reboot processes to complete.

2. Are you using the right Apple ID?

If you’re having issues with downloading app updates, the issue could stem from your Apple ID. If you change the Apple ID on your phone or are signing in with an old ID, the apps you’re using won’t update or download.

You can quickly check the Apple ID you’re logged in with by going to the App Store. If you find that you’re logged in with the wrong Apple ID, follow these steps to change it:

  1. Launch the App Store app.
  2. Tap on your profile photo from top right side of the screen.
  3. Scroll all the way down on the Account page.
  4. Hit the Sign Out button in order to log out from your Apple ID.
  5. Sign back in with the correct ID.

3. Check the date and time on your iPhone.

If your iPhone is displaying the wrong date or time, you could have incorrect settings set up. This may not seem like a big deal, but it could block you from downloading apps.

The easiest way to resolve the issue is to make sure your iPhone automatically updates the date and time. To do this:

  1. Select Settings > General > Date & Time.
  2. Toggle the Set Automatically to On (green).

More iPhone smarts: Tap or click here to see everything iOS 14 can do

4. Restart your iPhone.

Restarting your phone can resolve a ton of issues — including problems with downloads. If the app won’t download, don’t delete it from your screen. Pro tip: If you delete an app while it’s updating, you might lose the content and settings you have saved.

Try restarting your iPhone instead. Once your phone is back up and running, go to the App Store and start the app download. This may take care of the issue completely.

5. Pause and restart your download.

A simple glitch in communication or connection can cause an app download to stall. You may be able to fix the issue if you pause and restart the process.

Just tap and hold the app on from the home screen. If the app download is paused, tap Resume Download to get it going again. If it’s stuck, you can try to tap Pause Download. Once that’s done, you’ll press and hold the app again to tap Resume Download.x

6. Completely restart the App Store.

An App Store bug may be to blame. To fix this issue, completely restart the App Store.

  • Start by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This pulls up the multitasking view.
  • Scroll through the open windows on the screen to find the App Store and then swipe it off the top of the screen.
  • Once you’ve closed the app, you can just reopen it and get your download started again.

7. Try signing out of the App Store and back in.

If apps won’t download, try signing out of the App Store and sign back in. There may be issues with the Apple ID that are fixed by just signing back into your account.

To sign out and back in to the App Store:

  1. Launch the App Store app.
  2. Tap on your profile photo from top right side of the screen.
  3. Scroll all the way down on the Account page.
  4. Hit the Sign Out button in order to log out from your Apple ID.
  5. Sign back in using your Apple ID name and password.

8. Double-check your payment method.

Your download troubles could be caused by an expired or outdated payment method. You need to have a current, usable payment method connected to your Apple ID — and that’s true whether the app is free or paid for. .

To check your payment method:

  1. Tap ​Settings from the home screen.
  2. Tap your name.
  3. Tap Payment & Shipping.
  4. Enter the password for your Apple ID if prompted.
  5. Tap Add Payment Method to add a new card to your account.

9. Try downloading over Wi-Fi instead.

Cellular data can be spotty if you’re in a remote area or if you’re low on data. Try downloading over Wi-Fi instead. To turn on your Wi-Fi:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Home screen.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi, and then toggle it to On/green.
  3. Your iPhone will generate a list of available wireless networks under Choose a Network.
  4. Tap the name of the network you’d like to join.
  5. Enter the password if necessary.

10. Check for updates to your operating system.

If you’re using an outdated version of iOS, a bug could be to blame. Patches are rolled out with new iOS updates, so updating your operating system may solve the problem altogether.

To check for updates to iOS:

  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen.
  2. Scroll down and tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update, then Download and Install. You may need to enter your passcode.
  4. Tap Install Now.
  5. When the iOS update finishes, your iPhone will restart and display a completion notice.

Related: Update your iPhone! New patch fixes annoying bugs

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