How to Restore Apps and Games to Your iPhone or iPad

You can remove apps you aren't using and download them again later

games on the ipad

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One of the great benefits of having a digital app collection is the ability to restore your purchases without paying for them again. Cycling apps in and out is great if you had an issue and restored your iPhone or iPad to factory default or upgraded to a newer device.

You can also delete apps to save space on your iPad or iPhone, knowing you can always download them again in the future. And it's pretty simple to download an app you've already purchased. You don't even need to remember its exact name.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 5 and later.

  1. First, launch the App Store. If you have a lot of apps downloaded to your iPad and don't want to hunt for the App Store icon, you can use the Spotlight Search feature

  2. Tap your profile picture at the top-right corner of the screen.

    The profile button doesn't show up on the search screen, so you may need to tap Today on the tab at the bottom for it to appear.

    Profile button on iPad App Store
  3. Tap Purchased from the profile settings.

    If you have Family Sharing turned on, you may need to tap My Purchases from a second screen.

    Purchased button on App Store Account on iPad
  4. At the top of the purchased list, tap Not on This iPhone or Not on This iPad. These options narrow the apps down to those you no longer have installed on the device.

  5. Scroll down the list until you locate the app and tap the cloud button to restore it to the iPad.

    iCloud button to re-download a previously purchased app on iPad
  6. If you have an older device or haven't upgraded to the latest version of the iOS operating system, you may get an alert that the app is incompatible with your device. You can download the last version of the app that supported your operating system or update iOS to the latest version before downloading.

You can also search for an app to reinstall in the App Store. Apps you've purchased will have the cloud button rather than having a price. You can even search for apps in Spotlight Search without opening the App Store.