4 Ways to Solve Problems With iTunes Purchases

Buying a song, book, or movie from the iTunes Store is usually simple and worry-free, but sometimes there are problems with your iTunes purchases.

Problems happen for lots of reasons, but if you lose your internet connection during the purchase or download, or there's an error on Apple's side, you can end up paying for something but not being able to download or play it.

An illustration of an iTunes error.
Nusha Ashjaee @Lifewire 

Some of the common problems that occur in these situations include: 

  • iTunes says the item is purchased but it can't be downloaded.
  • A partially downloaded file that can't be played or used.
  • Your credit card is charged, but you can't download.
  • A file that appears to have completely downloaded, but doesn't play.
  • A failed purchase.

If you're facing one of these problems, here are 4 steps you can take to get the content you paid for from iTunes.

1. What To Do If iTunes Purchase Didn't Happen

The easiest type of iTunes purchase problem to solve is if the transaction simply wasn't completed. In that case, you just need to buy the item again. You can check to make sure the purchase didn't happen using iTunes by following these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. Click the Account menu.

  3. Click View My Account.

    View My Account submenu in Account Menu in iTunes
  4. If you're asked to log in to your Apple ID account, do so and click Sign In.

    Sign-in dialog in iTunes, showing Apple ID and Password fields
  5. Scroll down to the Purchase History section.

  6. Click See All.

    See All link in iTunes Account Info screen
  7. Here, you'll be able to see when your most recent purchase was and what it was. If the item you just tried to buy isn't listed, your purchase failed and you need to try again.

You can also check your purchases using the iTunes Store or App Store apps on an iOS device:

  1. Tap the app for the kind of purchase you're checking, either iTunes Store or App Store.

  2. In the App Store, tap your profile icon in the upper right, then Purchased.

  3. Next, tap My Purchases. If you have Family Sharing set up, tap on the individual family member whose purchases you want to check.

    Profile icon, Purchased, My Purchases buttons in App Store on iOS

    You can tap Not on This iPhone at the top of the app. This displays purchases not currently installed on your device.

    Not on this iPhone button at the top of App Store Purchased screen
  4. In the iTunes Store app, tap the More tab at the bottom, then Purchased. Tap Music, Movies, or TV Shows to see the item you purchased. If you have Family Sharing, you can tap the individuals in your family group below.

    More icon, Purchased button and Music, Movies, or TV Shows buttons in Purchased window in iTunes Store for iOS

In both cases, if the item you were trying to buy isn't listed, you weren't charged for it and the purchase didn't happen. Just head back to the iTunes or App Store and buy it like you normally would.

If you're checking on an Apple Books purchase, use that app on a Mac or iOS device an tap on your icon > Books > Not on This iPhone.

2. Check for Available Downloads in iTunes

In some cases, you may run into a download that begins and then stalls out before it completes. If that's the issue you're facing, you should be able to restart the download easily by following these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. Click the Account menu.

  3. Click Check for Available Downloads.

    Check for Available Downloads submenu in Account menu for iTunes
  4. If you're asked to enter your Apple ID, do so, then click Check.

  5. If you have a purchase that didn't download at all or was interrupted, it should start to download.

3. Redownload iTunes Purchases Using iCloud

If your purchase succeeded but the item you're looking for doesn't come up when you follow the steps from the last section to check for downloads, there's a simple solution for getting your missing content: iCloud. Apple stores all of your iTunes and App Store purchases in your iCloud account where you can easily redownload them.

Read this article for step-by-step instructions on how to use iCloud to redownload iTunes Store purchases.

4. How to Get iTunes Support From Apple

The first three options in this article should solve most iTunes purchase problems. However, if you're one of the unlucky few who's still got a problem even after trying them, you've got two options:

  1. Get support from Apple's iTunes support team. For step-by-step instructions on how to do that, read this article on requesting support from the iTunes Store.

  2. Use Apple's online help site to determine the best kind of support for you. This site will ask you some questions about your problem and, based on your answers, provide an article to read, a person to chat with, or a number to call. 

How to Get a Refund From iTunes

Sometimes the problem with your iTunes purchase isn't that it didn't work. Sometimes the purchase went through fine but you wish it didn't. If that's your situation, you may be able to get a refund. To learn how, read How to Get a Refund From iTunes.

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