iPhone & iPad apps stuck waiting, not downloading


When downloading, updating or syncing apps to an iDevice, apps may occasionally get stuck waiting and never install on the device.

First, give the app enough time to download and make sure it’s actually stuck before proceeding. Most apps download within a few minutes over Wi-Fi but if you are downloading or updating several apps this could take much longer depending on the size of apps and the speed of your internet connection.

Also, if you are downloading or updating apps over Wi-Fi or 3G make sure the problem is not with your data connection before proceeding.

Restarting iOS Devices

The easiest way to clear up apps that are stuck waiting is a Restart.

To Restart or Reboot your iPad, iPhone or iPad touch;

  1. Press an hold the Sleep/Wake button (top right corner) until the red slider appears.
  2. Slide your finger to turn off the device.
  3. Give it a minute to shut down, then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

This will sometimes clear up apps that have difficulty installing but if that did not resolve your problem then keep reading.

Download and Sync Apps With iTunes

    1. The next method will require you to plug you device into your computer and open iTunes.

If you were installing a new app that is not on your computer, you should be able to download the app without being charged. Make sure you are signed in with the same account that made the purchase. When you locate the app in the iTunes Store, you should see “install” or “Downloaded” instead of a price. Download the app or apps to iTunes on your computer.

    1. Select your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch under Devices on the left.
    2. Click the Apps tab and check “Sync Apps”.
    3. Select the apps you want to sync in the left-hand column. You can select all apps by clicking on an app checkbox while holding down the Control key on Windows or the Command key on Mac OS X.

  1. Sync to transfer the apps you selected to your device.

Remove and Reinstall Apps

Hopefully your problem has already been resolved by this point but here’s one more method that should certainly clear up the issue. I have saved this for last since it is the most time consuming. The length of time will depend on the number of apps you sync to the device.

  1. Uncheck “Sync Apps” from the same screen we were using above and sync the device. This will remove all the apps on the device.
  2. After the device has finished syncing check “Sync Apps” again.
  3. Select the apps you want to install and sync the device.
  • Cheri ONeil

    I tried to download an app on my father’s iPad. The app won’t load on his iPad. It says he needs to sync with his computer to download using iTunes. Is there any other way to get the app? He no longer has a computer.

  • http://ipadhelp.com Phil

    Other than rebooting, I don’t know of a way to clear the app that won’t load without a computer.

    iOS 5 will be release in a month or 2 and the update takes a big step in getting the iPad away from needing a computer but will need a computer to install the update.
    After you have iOS 5 you will be able to install updates over the air and restore from the iPad but even with iOS 5 there are times when it’s simpler to use a computer and sync the device.

  • Caleb

    I tried downloading an app over wifi and once it was on the install and nearly finished it said an error occurred and to use your computer to install it. I downloaded it on my computer and after a lengthy sync it showed on my computer the app that was finished and an app waiting side by side. When i looked at my ipod touch it showed only the app waiting. It is a large app so i checked my computer and the space for the app is taken up but it is not shown. I would prefer not to clear my ipod because i have a lot of game saves that i don’t want to redo. What should i do?

  • Bhavesh

    Didnt work.. Tried all the options!

  • Mark Haury

    My IPhone 4 has stopped downloading or updating apps today. When I try to download the icon for the app will show up on the screen and it will say Waiting under it for a few seconds. Then it just disappears! On updates the status bar will show up for the same few seconds then it disappears also. I reset my phone to factory settings then used a backup to put it back like it was, but it still won’t do anything. The only way I can update or get new apps is do it with iTunes then sync them to the phone. Any suggestions?

  • http://ipadhelp.com Phil

    You said you reset it factory setting but have you restored it in iTunes. A restore in iTunes downloads and reinstalls the lastest iOS software. If you restore, it’s a good idea to sync your iPhone first .

    Restoring normally clears up any bugs.


  • Andrew R

    Same issue as Mark H. It says waiting and the icon shows up. About 3 seconds later, the icon disappears and nothing is downloaded. I tried to shut down and reset, factory restore, and several computer syncs… Nothing. I can download and install apps through iTunes but this is a pain. Anything else??

  • Mark Haury

    Well Andrew, at least I don’t feel all alone now! What is weird is that it has worked a couple of times since my first post, then goes back to not downloading or updating again. And yes Phil, I did all of that. Thanks for asking.
    I’ll keep checking back and see if anyone else has the same problem and/or hopefully, a solution.

  • Peter Z

    Okay, I think I figured this out. I tried updating my credit card info in account settings (via the Aplle website and iTunes) as mentioned in several other posts I found, but with no luck. But then I realized I hadn’t looked at my App store settings on my iphone. I went to Settings, selected Store and then View Apple ID. It prompted me for my password which I entered. I went back to the App Store and the app i wanted downloaded without issue. Downlaoed a second one just to be sure and it worked as well. I assume it had to do with changing my password recently due to the changes Apple made, but never updating the password on the iPhone. Hope this helps others.

  • 가화

    None of the methods mentioned in the main article worked for me.

    When I tried deleting apps, they just kept reappearing even after untick in itunes and deleting from iphone (which reappeared after iphone reboot and which I have reboot more than 10 times!). Then a try on Peter Z’s method worked for me to update all my apps through itunes. Not sure if can update using iphone since now all apps are updated. I do have several apple ID but the apple ID I was logged into was the correct one for updates and yet the reconfirming of apple ID password worked to at least update the apps which prior to this, I kept getting All apps are updated (even tho on itunes it highlighted the number of apps have updates available =.=

  • Zach

    I tried all of the above methods of deleting the app, but it still wont go away. (Its stuck on the “waiting”).

    When I unclicked “Sync Apps” it was still there. Ive tried everything.

    Please help!

  • Matt

    I just got my parents the ipad 2 yesterday, downloaded 3 apps and not it wont download any more. stuck on waiting! and i gotta say for spending $500 on this thing im pretty pissed it wont work right!

  • vidit

    i just had a word with the customer care they say it is bcoz the server is getting updated
    .the issue will resolve in a day or two..

  • Fanny

    Let’s hope vidit is right. I have tried resetting stuff several times and it didn’t work. Seems like not a few of us got this same problem. My iPad is only a week old too.

  • Lammyman

    I too cannot download apps to my I pad, they are on I tunes but will not download when I sync. I have trid new apps but the same, start to download but just show ” WAITING. Help!!!!!!!!!

  • CS

    I removed all my paused and stuck downloads from iTunes, et viola, my stuck apps could finally be installed.

  • Anigee

    Facing the same problem. Bought a new ipad2, installed some apps and the next day went to install some more apps and podcasts over wifi. 10 hrs later….it is still waiting. Spent the next 1 hour doing all of the above, except restoring. Nothing helps. Is this an apple server issue? i dont know for e.g. how to delete the stuck podcast downloads. I also dont know when the apps will finally get installed. funny thing is that the apps downloaded and worked and today the new apps are just not downloading. When I “unsynced” them and then synced all aps back…..all of them show “waiting”. Please help, I gotta have this up and running.

  • Dennis

    New ipad2 wifi… 6 apps in “waiting”. Status since Christmas morning… Tried all the tricks and nothing is working… I’m starting to think the beauty of the iPad does not compare to the stability and reliability of the kindle fire. Feeling sad

  • http://ipadhelp.com Phil

    Hi Dennis,

    You may just be able to reboot it and clear the problem.

    Just hold the Sleep/Wake button on the top right then Slide to Power Off. Give it a minute to shut down and turn it back on.

  • Raph

    Same issue! New ipad 2 and cannot download app since chrismass. Tried reboot but Nothing! Frustrating

  • Amanda

    I have had my ipad2 for about a month and it hasn’t let any app downloads go through in two weeks. It just says waiting. I wish I had just gotten a regular laptop. I tried to reboot, sync, and delete and start again. It just won’t cooperate….Help please!

  • Carla

    Thanks for the tips- your advice got my apps loaded! :)

  • Ingi

    I baught a book on ibooks and it has appeared in thr bookshelf but won’t upload. The same with new apps. I uploaded 3 and quite a few free tv shows and after that nothing will upload. What can i do to fix this?

  • Ludvig

    My Device, an iPhone 4S is experiencing a similar problem to what all of you the former posters on this thread are experiencing.
    I’ve now had it since 2-3 weeks before christmas and it has been working great and everything, but….
    Since the week of christmas the device started to prompt me for my Apple ID password at a frequent basis, and since it is synced via air (iCloud) to my Mac Book Pro, it has been some what of a nuisance.
    I have changed the password several time and I am 100% of the password now and it works wherever I enter it, however the devices still prompts me for it.
    At the same time I am not able to download or sync anything onto my iPhone, not even with the MBPro.
    The apps I attempt to download on my iPhone freeze in grey on “Waiting…” and when an attempt of removing them from the iPhone the “x” does not appear above the square.
    I have 3G connection since I live in Sweden, and 2GB high speed connection per month, but still the device refuse to download and install.
    (I downloaded and installed several apps flawlessly before, this happened)

    In attempt to “fix” this Issue I have tried:
    1. Rebooting the iPhone
    2. Turning of the Phone, letting it rest for a day (read somewhere that it might do the trick) before turning it on. This removed the “waiting…” apps, but the issue returned as soon as I downloaded another app (not necessarily the same)
    3. Last attempt was to sync the iPhone with the Laptop, but this does not affect anything. No new apps are being installed or downloaded onto my iPhone, although they download fine onto my laptop.

    I’ll be forever grateful to the person that manage to help me solving this annoying issue!
    Best Regards, Ludvig.

  • http://Www.storyweaver.com Joe

    I am also having this problem on one of two iPads2 I own. I’ve tried reboot, update by iTunes with PC, etc and nothing works. Scratching head…

  • James

    I had the same problem but got it sorted. My apps just stayed at ‘waiting’ and could only be updated after plugging into my pc, even then though the app store kept saying there were updates for those apps and when I updated them they returned to the ‘waiting’ again.
    Solved it by going into the iTunes account from the iPad, scrolling down and selecting my iTunes ID and signing out, then restarted the iPad and logged back in again. Apps working and downloading a treat now.

  • kel

    Me 2, i m in hk.
    App updating and new App install are waiting.
    Is the server problem?

  • david

    same thing here..nothing working.

  • Steve W

    I’ve struggled with this for nearly a month, many of my popular aps were stuck but this conversation finally got it fixed. I’m not exactly sure which step it was but I’m thrilled. I updated my credit card info which was part of the problem but that didn’t resolve it. I also went into my iPhone settings like Peter Z said. Then I logged out like James mentioned. One or a combination of them got me working again. Thanks all!

  • tony saladino

    Okay, I think I figured this out. I tried updating my credit card info in account settings (via the Apple website and iTunes) as mentioned in several other posts I found, but with no luck. But then I realized I hadn’t looked at my App store settings on my iphone. I went to Settings, selected Store and then View Apple ID. It prompted me for my password which I entered. I went back to the App Store and the app i wanted downloaded without issue. Downloaded a second one just to be sure and it worked as well. I assume it had to do with changing my password recently due to the changes Apple made, but never updating the password on the iPhone. Hope this helps others.’ thanks this worked for me. I noticed that my apps were not updating or that i could not download apps either. Tried the above and sorted Thanks again, Tony

  • Campbejouc

    First attempt on downloading apps &stuck waiting.
    Android market always works on my other tablet. I thought apple was suppose to be easier?

  • Phil

    I have the same problem. Can apple please sort this out? My iPad is less than a month old and I already have a problem that renders it close to useless.

  • campbejouc

    Tried aforementioned suggestions all no go. Took it to Apple store. There they after an hour of attempting got such working but only after updating the firmware.

    New out of box still the viable release Ipad2 why would one need or be forced to do so? They didn’t know.

    First experience in an Apple “Genius” store. Staff very pleasant/helpful but my preference is to fix/figure out myself.

  • Nate

    My apps started downloading after I disabled the genius setting for apps. Coincidence?

  • Liane

    Tried everything suggested – nothing works. Still stuck. Can’t seem to delete. Apps stuck downloading both in iPhone 3GS and in iTunes. Always says I have a ton of updates to do.

  • Leslile Phillips

    My iphone was had a full signal, did a complete sync with computer (imac) but could not get anything to download-just the spinning wheel, “Waiting to connect.” Phone servicce was fine. Follow as above is how I got it fixed: Restarting iOS Devices

    The easiest way to clear up apps that are stuck waiting is a Restart.
    To Restart or Reboot your iPad, iPhone or iPad touch;
    Press an hold the Sleep/Wake button (top right corner) until the red slider appears.
    Slide your finger to turn off the device.
    Give it a minute to shut down, then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.
    Worked like a charm. Easy fix I never would have figured out my own.

  • ayaz

    well i bought iphone 4s with ios 5.0.1. few days ago. I connect my iphone with computer and using i tunes i install apps etc. now when i disconnect from pc and use wifi it start downloading installed apps again which is v v v v erreating and stupid.
    can some one help me.

  • Scott

    This is totally rediculous. How about apple replies to this thread about this. What a bunch of crap

  • Jamie

    Solution to my ‘waiting’ apps problem! I had several podcasts, which had also failed to download, waiting in the Downloads page on iTunes. When I paused all the podcasts the apps started downloading again. Guess the iTunes failed downloads had clogged up the App Store download queue.

  • Iris

    I have the same problem. One app is “paused” and another one won’t open. From what I read above this is going on for several months now. Isn’t there ONE soul at apple that knows how to fix this?
    This is soooooo aggravating!!

  • Brian

    Same solution for me as Jamie. I had a podcast that was hung up from the day before and not downloading for some reason. When I paused that download, apps started downloading like normal.

  • stuckinarut

    I just reset all network settings; and the apps were no longer waiting

  • Mmon

    Thanks Jamie and Brian. I did not think it was that easy. God, restarted, reset, resynced ‘n’ number of times.

    The solution is please check the iTunes , some podcast or some download is stuck there and that’s holding up the whole queue. I was always under the impression that iPad downloads in multi thread-guess I was wrong.

  • Gary

    I sorted this problem by checking I tunes and found that an album had not downloaded and was stuck in a que once I downloaded the album everything wa OK

  • Ted

    Ipad2 App downloads Waiting cure in my case was to close iTunes download that stalled.
    App download worked fine after that.
    hope that helps others.

  • joozeppy

    Gary, you were right. if ALL else fails, check iTunes and see if something is trying to download. if it is, either disable it or pause it until you can sort it out later and once you go back to the home screen, all the apps that were waiting should start installing. SUCCESS!!!

  • Pingback: Solução: Aplicativos que ficam trancados quando você vai baixá-los na App Store! « iPad Dicas – Absolutamente tudo sobre o iPad

  • LandonNorton

    Good news! The restore function solved this very frustrating issue and even saved all my email settings and other general changes I had made during the one week I owned the phone prior to these apps being stuck in waiting world. The ONLY things I lost were the ‘cookies’ in the apps for logins and passwords and such which is obviously no big deal. So if you’re reading this, feel confident that a factory restore is a totally fine solution.

  • http://armyreggae.com Army3820

    Fist of all thanks to Ted’s post I was able to solve my issue. Apps on my IPad were being stuck on waiting I tried Iexplore rebooting nothing worked then I went to iTunes there was a download held up there I paused it went back to my app download and what do you know it downloaded sweet. Just did about 10 more before post looks like all is well. Hope someonelse finds this usefull.

  • Matmomoftwo

    Going to iTunes on my iPhone and pausing an audio book that didnt download allowed all my apps to update! Thank you Ted!!

  • http://apple-ipad-iphone-ipod.blogspot.com Nafi

    Thanks for the tips.
    I would like to know if there is any task manager like apps on iphone and ipad?
    iphone/ipad task manager restart

  • Brittany

    Go into ‘settings.’ Click ‘store,’ enter appleid/password. Go into ‘payment method.’ Select any of the credit card methods. Change your selection back to ‘none.’
    Downloading apps should now work.

  • Gary

    Downloaded tv series however 2 episodes remain in waiting mode even after rebooting

  • Andrew

    I tried a number of possible solutions but the “Download and Sync…” solution is the only one that worked for me.

    Thanks much…

  • Cody

    None of these worked but got the wheels tuning in my brain. I checked the iTunes app because I remembered there was a download that failed. It was still trying to push through so I cancelled it by pressing the pause button and my apps started downloading immediately.

  • Maya


  • gen

    on my case the “waiting” process is almost a week. and i can’t turn off my iphone because it has been openline here in the philippines and it’s forbidden to turn it off. can anyone help me? please…tnxs..

  • K. Hall

    Thank you for your help. Just bought an ipone and the very fist app I downloaded stuck. You guys who post solutions are a godsend to ancient relics like me, feeling our way through the tech world.

  • nelly

    this was very useful…..very

  • Lorraine

    Thank you for the help, all sorted now :)

  • Theresa

    THANK YOU!!!!! I didn\’t realize I had to update payment information and resolved the 20+ \”stuck\” apps. AWESOME!


  • Robert

    I just delete the app from my iPhone/iPad and reinstall them from the apple store. This worls well as long as you don\’t have data with the app that you need to keep.

  • Debra

    Cannot open Game Center app! Blank

  • Kathy

    [quote align="e.g. center, left, right" color="#999999"] Content [/quote]Resetting/rebooting/turning the phone on and off were not working. It was still in the “waiting” to load phase. Going into iTunes Store and finding the app and clicking on it got it out of the “waiting” stall it was it. The app needed to be updated for me. Thank you so much.

  • Angie

    I went on settings and there\’s nothing that says store on it. I have no idea what to do!!!!!

  • http://www.allpetcs.com HSR

    My iPhone 4 was interrupted during the download of a song from iTunes, and for hours it just was stuck on processing, not letting me access any part of music or itunes. I shut it off using the red bar slider, and waited 5 minutes. This reset it and the song was downloaded and all is normal again. THANK YOU!

  • Anthony Louis Lavoipierre

    This is what worked for me on my iPad mini, after 5 apps which I had downloaded some time ago froze with ‘waiting’ message:

    Went to App store on iPad, clicked on ‘Purchased’ on bar at the bottom of the screen & scrolled through purchased apps. Alongside almost all the purchased apps was the word ‘open’ in a rectangle. Alongside 5 apps, the ones which were frozen on the iPad screen, was the circle with the small square in it that one sees when first downloading. I clicked on each circle icon and each one changed to read ‘Open’ as I clicked on it.

    I went back to my iPad mini home screen, and sure enough, the ‘waiting’ message had disappeared and all the apps were functional.

    Hope this works for you.

  • Dave West