Can't connect to the App Store on your iPhone or iPad? Or are you trying and failing to download an app or an update to an app?
These are quite common problems, sadly. But more happily, there are plenty of simple solutions you can try. We recommend you work through the following steps to try and fix the problem.
1. Check if the App Store is down
It could be that the App Store is down and nobody can access it. Read more here: Is the App Store down?
The quickest say of finding out is to check Apple's System Status page, which lists problems with all of the company's online services; the App Store is first on the list. Then again, if the problem occurred very recently it may not have been noticed yet: the site's update frequency is in the order of minutes, not seconds.
If that comes up blank, a search for relevant terms on Twitter can often be a good way of finding out if people are sharing your pain.
If the store is down, this is both bad news and good news. There's not much you can do to solve the problem, but on the other hand you can just sit back and wait for Apple to solve it.
2. Check your web connection
It's an obvious one, but you need to be online to access the App Store.
3. Try another WiFi network
Even if the WiFi network is working there may be a restriction on it that is stopping you from accessing the App Store. Work networks, for instance, may be set up to block certain sites and services to preserve bandwidth.
Try using an alternative WiFi network and see if that fixes the problem.
4. Check your DNS ports
The Domain Name System (DNS) enables your Mac to convert domain names (like apple.com) into IP addresses (like 22.214.171.124). If the DNS server your Mac uses is offline, slow or faulty, you may be unable to connect to any site or service by name.
It might be that your DNS server is set up incorrectly or that the server is set to block the App Store which connects using ports 80 and 443. This article explains how to check your DNS settings.
But beware: this process is quite fiddly. If you don't know what you're doing it's probably not a good idea to try, and we'd advise you to move on to the next step! There are some simpler solutions to work through first.
5. Are you set to download over 3G or 4G?
This shouldn't stop you from accessing the App Store entirely, but if your iPhone is set to only download apps over WiFi you won't be able to download apps over a 3G/4G connection.
Try connecting to a reliable WiFi network and see if this allows downloads to go ahead. Or, if you think you can spare the data, open the Settings app and tap Mobile Data. In the section headed 'Use mobile data for', make sure the slider beside App Store is set to on (green).
While we're on this topic, there is a separate option that dictates whether your device can use mobile data to automatically download app updates. Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store, and tap the slider next to Use Mobile Data at the bottom.
This will apply to the automatic downloads you've selected above, of course.
6. Have you run out of data?
Even if your settings allow you to download apps over a cellular connection, your data allowance for the month may be maxed out.
Unfortunately it's not straightforward to monitor your data usage on iOS. It's worth checking the terms of your contract to see how much data you're allowed, and if it might be an idea to pay for more; and getting in touch with your provider to find out the date on which your data allowance is reset. (If it was always the first of the month it would be easier to know when to try again!)
This article offers some more tips: How to manage mobile data on an iPhone.
7. Is the app no longer supported?
It's possible that you're trying to update an app that is out of date and no longer supported by iOS. Try downloading a different app to see if this is what's causing the update to fail.
8. Is the app too large to download over 3G?
A final note for those unable to download apps: remember that iOS stops you downloading really large apps (anything above 100MB, although there is some doubt over whether this has been relaxed in iOS 10) over a cellular connection, so check the size of the file.
It's possible to hack your way past this restriction by jailbreaking and then installing a tweak such as 3GUnrestrictor (although be warned that we've not tried this and cannot vouch for it), but it's probably easier to just wait until you're on WiFi to run the download.
9. Try logging out and logging in again
Okay, let's try some simple resets to see if this jogs the App Store into working. First, try logging out and then log back into the App Store on your iPhone – that should fix it:
- Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store
- Tap on Apple ID and Sign Out
- Log in again using your Apple ID and password
10. Clear your memory
Perhaps it's a memory issue (older iPhones, especially those with less RAM and less storage are prone to this). Double-tap the Home button and swipe up on the App Store to close the app. Reopen it and see if that fixes the problem.
If it doesn't, close all open apps and turn your phone on and off again to clear the memory. You can find some other tricks to free up your iPhone RAM here: How to clear the cache on your iPhone or iPad.
11. Force-refresh the App Store
You could also try force-refreshing the App Store app by tapping ten times on the App Store navigation bar (that's the one at the bottom of the screen that is populated with Featured, Categories, Top Charts, Search and Updates). You should see the app flicker, or go blank and display a 'loading' notification.
12. Check your Data & Time settings
Your Date & Time settings are unexpectedly relevant to this issue, because the App Store uses them to check on your location (probably).
Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and choose Set Automatically. (This setting means that if you travel from, say, London to San Francisco, as soon as your iPhone recognises it is in a new territory it will automatically change the time accordingly.)
13. Reset your network settings
Try resetting your network settings. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and see if that fixes the problem.
14. Update your software
There might be a known issue with the way the App Store is accessed by your iPhone that has been fixed in an update to iOS, so it's worth checking you're on the latest version.
Go to Settings > General > Software Updates and see if there are any available updates. For more information on this process, see How to update iOS.
15. Contact Apple
If all else fails you could contact Apple (here's the company's UK contact page) and seek further advice.