13 Ways to fix ‘can’t download apps in iPhone’

Summary: Its annoying when you are not able to download an app from iPhone App Store nor update the existing ones. You may be receiving the error – ‘unable to download app’. This post shares 13 ways to fix the issue of iPhone apps won’t download.

Be it games or utility, iPhone App Store is a one-stop-shop for Facebook, Rope Rescue, Pokémon Masters, Uber, WhatsApp Messenger, TikTok, Instagram, Netflix, ESPN Fantasy Sports, Snapchat, Yolo and many more apps.

But the experience becomes a pain when you are not able to download any app (paid or free) from the App Store and receive a message – ‘unable to download app’.

can’t download apps in iPhone

The situation gets really annoying when you’re neither able to download new apps through the App Store nor able to update the existing ones.

Why this errorcan’t download apps in iPhone”?

There can be many reasons such as — poor Internet connection, low storage space on your iOS device, a bug in the App Store, faulty iPhone settings, or even a restriction setting on your iPhone that prevent the apps to download.

Nonetheless, here we bring 13 ways you can try to fix apps won’t download on iPhone problem.

13 Methods to fix ‘can’t download apps in iPhone’

  1. Check your Wi-Fi connection
  2. Check Storage space in your iPhone
  3. Restart App Store
  4. Restart iPhone
  5. Update iOS
  6. Pause and restart the app download
  7. Sign out and Sign in to the App Store
  8. Check your Apple ID payment methods
  9. Set Date and Time on iPhone
  10. Disable Restrictions for Installing Apps
  11. Allow App Store purchases in Content & Privacy Restrictions
  12. Reset iPhone device settings
  13. Restore iPhone to Factory Settings

1.   Check your Wi-Fi connection

Continuous and good speed Internet connectivity is essential for smooth download of any app from Apple Store.

If you are using cellular data, switch to Wi-Fi connection as Apple allows only up to 150 MB download through cellular data.

If the switch to Wi-Fi connection also doesn’t help, try by connecting to another Wi-Fi network.

2.    Check storage space in your iPhone

Insufficient space on your iPhone can hamper Apple Store app. You won’t be able to even update the existing apps, if there is not enough storage space.

Check and free up some space on your iPhone. You can delete unwanted apps, documents, photos, videos, music, WhatsApp chats, etc. to make storage space for the new app that you want to download.

To check free space on iPhone:

Follow Setting > General > click on iPhone Storage to see how much free is left on your iPhone.

iPhone Storage Settings

3.    Restart App Store

Refreshing the App Store can help clear the cache, and you may be able to download your app properly.

Steps to refresh App Store on iPhone

  • Launch App Store on your iPhone
  • Tap any of the bottom icons (Featured, Games, or Updates) 10 times or more
  • ‘Loading’ circle appears on the screen
  • Close the App Store and reopen and try to download your app again

4.     Restart iPhone

Restart can fix most of the iPhone problems. Restart your iPhone and then try downloading the app from App Store.

5.   Update iOS

Apple iOS updates usually fix bug. Some users complained that apps won’t download on iOS 11. The message ‘iPhone can’t download apps’ may be appearing because of a bug. You may be able to fix it by updating the iOS.

Steps to update iOS on iPhone:

Software update Settings on iPhone
  1. Turn on Wi-Fi on your iPhone
  2. Tap Settings > General > Software Update
  3. Tap Download and Install

To automatically update your iOS12: Tap Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates

6.    Pause and restart the app download

Pause and restart the app download on iPhone

You can try this if you own iPhone 6s or later models. Press the app from the Home screen. You would see three options — Resume Download, Pause Download, or Cancel Download.

  • Tap Resume Download, if the app download was paused
  • If the app download is stuck, tap Pause Download, then press the app again and tap Resume Download.

7.   Sign out and Sign in to the App Store

Try once by signing out and again signing in to App Store.

Steps to sign out from App Store:

sign out & sign in app store
  • Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store
  • Tap the Apple ID
  • In the pop-up window, tap Sign Out
  • Tap the Apple ID again and sign in with your Apple ID

Now try downloading the apps in App Store.

8.    Check your Apple ID payment methods

Do you have a valid payment method on file in your Apple ID?  If not, then too you won’t be able to download any app including the free ones.

Manage your Apple ID payment in Settings on your iOS device; in iTunes on Mac/ PC; and even in the Apple Music app on your Android phone.

On iPhone how to add, remove, update or change the payment through Settings:

  • Settings > [your name] > iTunes & App Store
  • Tap your Apple ID, tap View Apple ID
  • Tap Manage Payments. Next, you can add, update, reorder, or remove your payment methods:
update or change the payment setting on iPhone

To update your payment method: Tap on the payment method, which you want to change and edit the information.

  • To add a payment method: Tap Add Payment Method and follow the prompts.
  • To remove a payment method: Tap Edit > Remove icon or swipe left and tap delete.

Once you get a valid payment method on file, you should be able to download apps.

9.     Set Date and Time

It may seem unlikely, but true. Wrong date and time settings on your iPhone can affect app download on App Store.

So set your date and time correctly to fix apps not downloading issue.

Steps to set date and Time on iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > General > Date & Time
  • Toggle on Set Automatically


10.    Disable restrictions for installing apps

Have you turn on iOS restriction, which restricts apps download? If yes, turn it off to install apps.

Steps to disable apps restrictions on iPhone

disable apps restrictions on iPhone
  • Go to Settings> General> Restrictions
  • Enter your passcode
  • Toggle on Installing Apps


11.    Allow App Store purchases in Content & Privacy Restrictions

You might have disabled app purchases under Content & Privacy Restrictions on your iPhone, due to which apps won’t download on iPhone. Allow the iTunes & App Store downloads and purchases to fix the problem of can’t download apps on iPhone.

Steps to enable App store purchases on iPhone:

enable App store purchases on iPhone
  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time
  2. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  3. Enter your passcode
  4. Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases
  5. Set to Allow

12.     Reset iPhone device settings

One of the reasons for apps not downloading from App Store can be the settings of your iOS device. Reset your iPhone’s settings. This may resolve apps download problem.

Note: Reset All Settings will remove and set to default all the device settings including network settings, location settings, keyboard dictionary, the Home screen layout, privacy settings. You won’t lose any data, documents, photos, videos etc.

Steps to Reset All Settings on iPhone:

Reset All Settings on iPhone
  1. Go to Settings  > General > Reset
  2. Choose Reset All Settings

13.    Restore iPhone to Factory Settings

When nothing works, factory reset is the last resort. But this will erase all the data, photos, videos, contacts, call history, music voice memos, messages etc., from your iPhone. Thus, always take the backup either in iCloud or iTunes before you opt for factory reset.

Steps to factory reset iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings  > General > Reset
  2. Choose Erase All Content and Settings

Can’t Restore iPhone Data after Factory Reset

If you didn’t take backup or unable to restore iPhone data after factory reset, use Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone to get back the lost Photos, Videos, Contacts, Messages, Camera Roll, Photo Stream, Calendar, Call History, Safari bookmarks, and other data. It is easy-to-use DIY software to retrieve lost and deleted iPhone data. 

Steps to recover lost iPhone data after factory reset:

· Download Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone on your PC or Mac

· On the software interface, select location from where you want to restore iPhone data – iTunes, iCloud or iPhone

· Select what you want to recover – Contacts, Camera Roll, Photo Stream, Apps Library, Voice Memos, etc.

· Click Scan 

· Click Save 

iPhone Data Recovery iPhone Data Recovery Mac

Wrapping Up

Hope one of the above methods will help you to fix the apps can’t download from Apple Store problem. Still, if you are unable to download any app after applying the above troubleshooting methods, contact Apple through their online support or visit your nearest Apple Store.