How to Download Apps You've Already Purchased

Downloading apps to a smartphone
Not being able to update apps is frustrating — but you can fix it.

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One of the best features of the App Store is that you can redownload apps you've already purchased an unlimited number of times without having to pay for them a second time. This is especially important if you accidentally delete an app or if you lose apps due to your iPhone breaking or being stolen.

If you couldn't redownload past purchases, all the money invested your apps would have to be spent again. Luckily, Apple makes it easy for you to redownload apps purchased from the App Store. Here are a few different ways to get your apps back.

How to Redownload Past iPhone App Purchases on iPhone

Probably the easiest and fastest way to redownload apps is right on your iPhone. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the App Store app to launch it.

  2. Tap the Updates icon at the bottom right corner.

  3. Tap your photo at the top right corner of the screen (on older versions of the iOS, you can skip this step).

  4. Tap Purchased.

  5. If you have Family Sharing enabled, tap My Purchases (or the name of the person who originally purchased the app, if it wasn't you). If you don't have Family Sharing enabled, skip this step.

  6. Tap Not on This iPhone. This shows you a list of apps you've gotten in the past that aren't currently installed on your phone.

  7. Scroll through the list of apps or swipe down to reveal the search box and type in the name of the app you're looking for.

  8. When you find the app, tap the download icon (the iCloud cloud with an arrow in it) to reinstall the app.

How to Redownload Previous App Store Purchases in iTunes

The App Store was removed from iTunes in version 12.7, released in 2017. These instructions only apply to versions of iTunes earlier than that. If your version of iTunes is newer, your only option for redownloading apps is to do it directly on the iPhone.

You can also download previous purchases using iTunes by following these steps:

  1. Launch iTunes.

  2. Click the Apps icon in the top right corner, just underneath the playback controls (it looks like an A).

  3. Click App Store just beneath the playback window at the top center of the screen to go to the App Store.

  4. Click Purchased in the Quick Links section at the right.

  5. This screen lists every app you've ever downloaded or purchased for any iOS device using this Apple ID. Browse the screen or search for the app using the search bar on the left.

  6. When you find the app you want, click the download icon (the cloud with the down arrow in it again).

  7. You may be asked to sign in with your Apple ID. If you are, do so. At that point, the app downloads to your computer and is ready to be synced to your iPhone or another iOS device.

How to Redownload Pre-Installed iOS Apps (iOS 10 and up)

If you're running iOS 10, you can delete a number of apps that come pre-installed with the iOS. This wasn't possible in earlier versions, and can't be done with all apps, but some basic apps like Apple Watch and iCloud Drive can be deleted. 

You delete these apps like any other app. You download them the same way, too. Just search for the app at the App Store (it probably won't show up in your Purchased list, so don't look there) and you'll be able to download it again. 

What About Apps Removed From the App Store?

Developers can remove their apps from the App Store. This happens when the developer no longer wants to sell or support an app, or when they release a new version that's such a major change that they treat it as a separate app. In that case, are you still able to redownload the app?

In most cases, yes. It likely depends on the reason an app was removed from the App Store, but generally speaking, if you've paid for an app, you'll find it the Purchases section of your account and will be able to redownload it. The apps you probably won't be able to redownload include those that break the law, infringe copyright, are banned by Apple, or that are actually malicious apps disguised as something else. But why would you want those anyway, right?

To learn more about what's involved in this, check out How to Install Apps That Are Missing from the App Store.