How To Fix ‘iPhone Won’t Connect To App Store’ Problems
Can’t connect to the App Store to download apps on your iPhone or iPad? Is your device refusing to sign in? Or are you having problems downloading 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.
Your iPhone says it “cannot connect to App Store” because it’s not connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular data network, a software problem is preventing the App Store from loading, or the App Store servers are down.
To diagnose the real reason your iPhone is having this problem, we have to make sure that:
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- You’re connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular data network.
- Your settings allow you to connect to the App Store and install, update, or purchase apps.
- The App Store servers are up and running.
If one or more of these aren’t working, it could be the reason why your iPhone “cannot connect to App Store”. The steps below will address each of the three points above and help you troubleshoot potential software or hardware problems.
From time to time Apple suffers from a server outage. It could be that the App Store is down and nobody can access it.
The quickest way of finding 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. Note that 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 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, which should happen quickly.
Let’s make sure your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular data network. Without a reliable connection, the App Store won’t load on your iPhone.
Let’s begin by checking to see if your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. Go to Settings -> Wi-Fi and make sure the switch next to Wi-Fi is in the on position. You’ll know that Wi-Fi is on when the switch is green!
Below the switch, make sure there’s a small check mark next to the name of your Wi-Fi network — if there is, you’ll know you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
If Wi-Fi is on but there isn’t a check mark next to any network, tap your network under Choose A Network… and enter your Wi-Fi password if necessary.
If you want to use Cellular Data instead of Wi-Fi, that’s okay too! Go to Settings -> Cellular and make sure the switch next to Cellular Data at the top of the screen is turned on.
Even if the Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi network and see if that fixes the problem.
Perhaps you aren’t on a Wi-Fi network at all. If you are accessing the App Store over your 3G or 4G connection, that may be the root of your issue.
While using your mobile network connection shouldn’t stop you from accessing the App Store entirely, if your iPhone is set to only download apps over Wi-Fi you won’t be able to download apps over a 3G/4G connection.
Try connecting to a reliable Wi-Fi network and see if this allows downloads to go ahead. Or, as long as 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).
One of my favorite tricks to use when my iPhone can’t connect to the App Store is to clear the App Store cache.
Like other apps, the App Store is run by software. There are countless lines of code that tell the App Store how to work and what to do. As you can probably imagine, all that software takes some time to respond. However, we want apps like the App Store to load instantly, so software programs use a “cache” to help them run faster.
A “cache” is a collection of frequently used files that are stored in such a way that when you go to use them, they load faster than other files do. A lot of different computers and programs do this, from your web browser to your home computer.
Unfortunately, cached files can sometimes become corrupted or experience glitches. Clearing the cache gives your App Store a chance to start over with fresh code that hasn’t been cached.
First, open up the App Store — it’s okay if it says “Cannot Connect To App Store”. Next, tap one of the five tabs 10 times in quick succession to clear the App Store cache.
Note: It used to be possible to force-refresh the App Store app by tapping ten times on the navigation bar at the bottom, but that feature was removed in iOS 11. However, if you’re trying to get updates to load you can force a refresh by dragging down on the screen until a spinning icon appears.
You won’t see an on-screen notification saying that the App Store cache has been cleared. So, after tapping one tab 10 times in a row, open the app switcher and close out of the App Store. If your iPhone still can’t connect to the App Store after you’ve reopened it, move onto the next step.
Although unlikely, it is possible that your that iPhone “cannot connect to App Store” because of a deeper software problem. Software files can become corrupted, which may lead to a variety of issues.
First, try resetting all settings, which will restore everything in the Settings app to factory defaults. To perform the reset, open Settings and tap General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings. Then, tap Reset All Settings when the confirmation alert appears.
If resetting all settings doesn’t work, you can also try performing a DFU restore on your iPhone. A DFU restore erases and reloads all the code on your iPhone, so make sure to save a backup of your data first!
You may want to try setting up an appointment at your local Apple Store to see if a repair is actually necessary. If your iPhone needs a repair and it’s covered by AppleCare+, Apple may repair it for free.