How to Download iPhone Apps You've Already Purchased

Re-download an app you already bought

One of the best features of the App Store is that you can re-download apps you've already purchased. You can do this an unlimited number of times without having to pay for them more than once.

Downloading apps you've already paid for is especially important if you accidentally delete an app or if you lose apps due to your iPhone breaking or being stolen. There are a couple of ways to do this, including finding the app from the App Store and downloading it normally.

These directions apply to iOS 5 and newer versions of iOS. However, the steps are slightly different between some versions (and the visuals often very different), so be mindful of the callouts below.

How to Use Your Phone to Download Apps You Already Bought

Using your phone to re-download the app is probably the easiest method:

  1. Tap App Store from your home screen.

  2. Open the Updates tab at the bottom.

    For iOS 6 and iOS 5 devices, tap Purchased at the bottom of the screen, and then skip down to Step 5.

  3. On an iPhone running iOS 11 or newer, tap your photo at the top right corner of the screen.

    If you're using iOS 10 or an older version of iOS, you won't see this image; just skip this step.

  4. Tap Purchased, or if you have Family Sharing enabled, choose My Purchases (or the name of the person who originally purchased the app, if it wasn't you).

    Updates, Profile picture, Purchased button in iOS App Store
  5. Select Not on This iPhone to see a list of apps you've gotten in the past that aren't currently installed on your phone.

  6. Search or scroll through the list to find the app you want to reinstall, and then tap the cloud icon next to it.

    My Purchases, download icon, Not on this iPhone
  7. The app will download to your device for free.

Another way to get old apps again is to visit their normal download page. Even if you bought the app and have since deleted it, the button to download it will not be a purchase button but instead the cloud icon as you see it above.

Running into problems downloading or updating apps? We've got the solutions in iPhone Won't Download Apps? 11 Ways to Fix It.

How to Use iTunes to Re-download Previous Apps

You can also download previous purchases using 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. Unless you're running an old version of iTunes, your only option for re-downloading apps is to do it directly on the iPhone.

  1. Open iTunes and select the Apps icon in the top right corner, just underneath the playback controls (it looks like an A).

  2. Choose App Store just beneath the playback window at the top center of the screen.

  3. Select Purchased in the Quick Links section at the right.

  4. 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.

  5. When you find the app you want, select the download icon (the cloud with the down arrow). If asked, sign in with your Apple ID.

  6. When the app finishes downloading to your computer, synced your iPhone with iTunes to put the app on your phone.

How to Redownload Pre-installed iOS Apps

If you're running iOS 10 or newer, you can delete a number of apps that come pre-installed with 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. 

These apps are treated like regular apps, so when you delete them, they're no longer accessible from your device. Just re-download them from App Store to make them show up again.

What About Apps Removed From the App Store?

Developers can remove their apps from the App Store. This happens when they no longer want 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 these cases, you might want to download an old app that you can't get from App Store.

Fortunately, you can, in most cases. 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 through the App Store like described above.

The apps you probably won't be able to re-download include those that break the law, infringe copyright, are banned by Apple, or that are actually malicious apps disguised as something else (you probably don't want those anyway).