Fix iOS Apps Stuck on “Waiting…” During Download & Install

Mar 17, 2012 - 108 Comments

Apps Stuck on Waiting

If you’re trying to install a handful of iOS apps and your entire home screen is filled with app icons labeled “Waiting…” without any of the progress bars moving, downloading, or installing, you can fix this fairly easily with the two methods below. Try the first method before going nuclear with a reboot though:

  1. Tap a single app icon so that it says “Paused” and then tap that app icon again to see if it resumes downloading
  2. If pausing and resuming didn’t work: Reboot the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch

You may notice a related issue where apps from the App Store will say they’re “Installing” though they aren’t appearing on the iOS home screen yet, that is also resolved with a reboot.

It’s not totally clear what causes this, though it seems that a lot of people are encountering the problem right now when moving from an old iPad to a new one. It could be that Apple’s servers are just overloaded with downloads from the App Store, or it could be a bug.

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Posted by: William Pearson in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

108 Comments

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  1. linda says:

    That did it, thanks!

  2. Matt says:

    I had this issue very bad after doing a restore from iCloud backup to a new iPad. I tried all the suggestions above several times. It was so bad I wiped the iPad and reinstalled every app manually. Doing the fresh install, I didn’t experience this problem one single time. In my case at least, I feel like the restore to the new iPad left some things mangled. It was interesting to have this happen frequently and then after the wipe nearly 60 apps installed flawlessly. Oh well. A fresh install never hurts… Even in Apple-land!

    • Dave brown says:

      What worked for me after trying everything recommend was so simple. Open iTunes on your device, look at downloads and you will find one of them is stuck. Delete it by swiping right and bingo. It’s fixed!

      • Leon says:

        Dave – that was it … a podcast was stuck downloading … all good now

      • Jason says:

        Dave! Thanks! That was the problem with mine. I had a podcast that was stuck. iPhone works fine now! I sure appreciate your help.

      • Dean Cohen says:

        Hey Dave

        You are a life saver bro. It worked. I had podcasts that were obviously stuck in download mode. what pissed me off was that I went to my local Apple iStore for an appointment with the techies and they said they had no idea and that I should perhaps try a clean install having just done a restore and backup from Itunes. They said they had never encountered this. I stumbled onto this forum came upon your post and Voila!

      • Leos says:

        Thanks Dave. Problem with waiting is solved! My podcast was stuck too. Delete and whoalaaa :)

      • Luciano says:

        Thanks a lot!!! It worked wonderfully for me, and I was just about to go crazy.

      • Ricardo says:

        Thanks Dave!! I also had a podcast stuck.. I wonder what is going on with these podcast.. And Apple please fix this asap because most people will never figure this out.

      • Melissa says:

        Totally worked for me – I was getting really bothered by this issue. Thanks for your great solution!

      • Jacob says:

        So I had about 20 video podcasts downloading somehow. Maybe this is why my Internet has been so slow lately. Thanks! Now I can finally download Tiny Wings and waste even more time!!!

      • Sophia says:

        But under my downloads in itunes its blank???? My apps just keep saying cannot download (name of app) at this time retry or done. It was bought at the Apple store unlocked already. Please help i don’t umderstand all these technological terms!! Thanks in advance

      • Ero says:

        u are a God…thnx a lot mate!!!

      • Sylvie Dale says:

        Dave, I gotta hand it to you. Apple support was useless in solving the obviously common problem and your suggestion worked! Kudos and thanks for sharing.

      • Chris says:

        I have been searching for a fix to this for WEEKS! You nailed it, thank you. Since downloading the new podcasts app, I had several files stuck downloading and it was backing everything up. This fixed it. Thank you!

      • Antoni says:

        Well when i try to log in on itunes i only get therms and conditions or somethimg why is that. Could be spelled diffrent i use an dutch ipad

      • Keith says:

        Sweet! itunes was trying to download 30 gigs of movies, lol. Paused them and my apps downloaded. Thanks Dave!

      • Raychil says:

        Brilliant! thanks Dave! ive had this issue for ages now and its been driving me insane! it was a podcast stuck on download….side swiped…deleted…voila! all working! thanks mate :)

      • Lizz says:

        Unbelievable. You’re so awesome! Dodged a bullet big time! I saw another post somewhere that said to delete all content & settings to resolve issue & I was 5 seconds away from doing that when I came across your suggestion. Worked like a charm! Thank you!

      • Dan says:

        Dave, you’re awesome!

      • Carla says:

        Thanks Dave, that worked for me! I didn’t know how to get those downloads that weren’t working out- how easy to just swipe right! Then everything else started working! Thanks.

      • Huma says:

        Ohhhhhhhh! I just got my ipad3. And when the apps were stuck on Waiting, I felt like killing myself….. And you….. Saved my life. Dave!
        Aha!

        Thank You!

      • Moby says:

        Clearing any stuck iTunes downloads does help. Thanks for the tip!

      • Bjorn says:

        Dave you’re awesome!! I had rebooted my Ipad 20 times as that was the only advice i found untill i saw your sollution, brilliant!

      • Samantha says:

        This just worked. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I haven’t been able to do anything with my apps for almost two months! I was ready to get rid of my iPhone!

      • Jon says:

        Dave – thanks a bunch your suggestion just worked for me today!!

      • Yanieris says:

        thank you Dave, you sir deserve a mighty fine Award! I apparently had 245 itunes U stuff stuck in downloading, i have no idea how thats even possible but it was there i was shocked! Thank you again and again! I was freaking out!

      • julieq says:

        Dave, I love you. I removed the stuck apps then put them back on. Presto-perfecto! You are genius. I think the apps got stuck when I tried to update them through the Appstore. Never again.

      • Doug says:

        Worked for me too. I had a couple of podcasts stuck loading. Deleted them and then the apps started updating. Thanks!

      • ABB says:

        Thank you! So easy and couldn’t find the answer anywhere else.

      • michelle says:

        bless you!!!! have been unsuccessful for a full day and now problem is resolved:)

      • Larry says:

        You da man Dave. I had forgotten about the songs I was downloading and was scratching my head trying to figure out why my apps weren’t updating or why my purchased ones weren’t installing. Thanks.

      • TimD says:

        Dave:

        Many thanks! I had tried rebooting, tapping stuck apps, and finally deleting all stuck apps (about 14 of them!). No luck. Found this post and indeed, a music download was stuck. Deleted it and everything started working again. Awesome!

      • justin says:

        Finally!!! Someone who has the answer. Have spent 30 minutes trying to fix it and this was it. So simple. Thank You Dave brown!!

      • JOn says:

        Thank you so much! I searched all over the net for the answer and you were the only one with that info. You saved us Dave Brown.

      • Natedawg24 says:

        Thanks a ton!! This has been killing me all day and it was that simple!! Genius.

      • mohamed says:

        Thank you very much, there was a problem with iTunes. I deleted the pending downloads in the iTunes and everything ok now.

      • Basem says:

        Thanks a lot. I was searching for that days ago and finally it worked for me.

  3. Buddy says:

    I ran into the same problem and found that turning on wifi sync on my IPad solved the problem. I hope this works for everyone else.

  4. Steve says:

    I had the issue with apps installing, but you could not see that process. After adding about 50 apps from iCloud, they would randomly appear after fully installed.

  5. Tyler says:

    I have a similar problem but my iPad randomly re-downloads apps and is constantly asking for my iTunes password. Any advise?

  6. Max says:

    I got my solution last week ,,,, it’s easy make sure you don’t have any pending download , like video or podcasts ,,, mine was pending that I cancelled and within 5 seconds issue solved See it for u

  7. Guy says:

    Had this moving to the new iPad. Total mess, 143 apps stalled. Solved by turning off wifi synch, connecting to iTunes, deselecting all the apps in the apps panel for the iPad, synching to delete them all, then turning on a few at a time and synching. Don’t know if doing it a few at a time made any difference, but it worked either way. PITA, but still a good opportunity get rid of old unused apps and have a leaner device.

  8. Ook says:

    I’ve had this on both my iPhone and iPad ever since the new iPad came out. Apple needs to step up their game server wise. It’s not like it’s a total surprise that they sold out. This happens every time they have a new launch! Quite annoying! The above fix does absolutely nothing if the problem is on Apple’s end. Best bet, ONLY buy and update apps through iTunes for 2 weeks following a launch of any new Apple product. Oh an NEVER use iCloud to do a restore! Especially near launch.

  9. semi says:

    Worked for me but I accidentally hid a purchase trying to figure this out, how do I find that?

    • Seth Lee Abrams says:

      For purchased apps not on an iDevice, go to the App Store and click (or touch) “Updates”. When there are no updates, there will be the option of clicking (or touching) on “Purchased”. The device will then show a list of “All” apps, or “Not on this iPad (or iPhone)”. Then find the app for which you’re looking and download it again. Should work.

  10. Seth Lee Abrams says:

    I have had similar problems as those described. For “waiting” or stalled apps (during a multiple download of updated apps, for instance), I have tap on all the “waiting” apps to “pause” them. Then I tap a single app to change its state from “paused” to “waiting”. It then always begins to download. I then tap each app individually until all are downloaded individually. I have not had to re-enter my password either.

    For the other problems—apps not installing properly or randomly showing up—I have gone to “Settings” > “General” > “Reset” > “Reset Network Setting”. One will have to re-enter various passwords (WiFi passwords, for instance, and one always has to enter one’s password to access an App Store account) but this has solved similar problems I’ve experienced.

    • N Alcorn says:

      Seth,

      Your recommendation of “Reset Network Setting” worked for me!! Thanks. My phone has been working great for many months. Well today, I did an update to my iheartradio and everything went to hell. Any app update was getting stuck on waiting/pausing. I tried the restore = same error. So I decided to do the Erase and restore, and use my iCloud back up……well during this process my app updates were getting stuck. I searched numerous forums (which I learned alot of different things), but all in all this is what did the trick for me (after wasting 2 hours trying everything. Starting all over was not an option, since I had purchased apps that were only backed up on icloud. After some reading, it looks like I will start backing up via iTunes to my PC. Thanks again ;)

  11. clem says:

    So basically, Retry, then Reboot? One more “R” and that would sound just like a windows product :) (trolling powaaa)

  12. Glenda says:

    I wish these fixes worked for me because I’ve tried everything and still can’t download an app unless I sync to the computer. I know I’m not alone as there are a whack of people out there on forums and other sites with the same issue. I sure hope Apple addresses this right away as it’s getting very frustrating.

    • Florence says:

      Same here Glenda. I have tried it all and it is still stuck. I can’t even fix it with syncing. The only thing I haven’t done is pitch it out the window but that might be coming soon :-)

  13. [...] Developers spent much of the past two weeks prepping their apps for Retina display, in anticipation of last week’s release of the third generation iPad. Unfortunately, many users might have also experienced the so-called “Waiting…” error. This error occurs when you attempt to download and install many apps at one time, according to OS X Daily. [...]

  14. Andrew says:

    I’ve had this problem with my iPhone 4 the last couple of days since I performed the update, I am afraid that in my case none of the solutions that I found online have helped, this includes restarting the iPhone, powering it off and on, trying different wireless networks, resetting the network settings and so on. Nothing worked at all.

    What did work for me though was to first backup my iPhone in iTunes, then to restore the phone back to the factory defaults and then to restore the backup from iTunes. Afterwards, I was able to install and update apps again.

    Not sure if this would have worked over iCloud, most likely it would have but I thought that going the cable route would be faster.

  15. scstsut says:

    Helpful tip: if you search for “…” (three periods) you’ll see all the apps that are “waiting…”, “paused…”, “loading…”, “installing…” on your device.

  16. SOLUTION says:

    Try signing out and in from the Apple Store under Settings>Store on your iPhone.

    • 5c0ttk says:

      Here I am in September and my teenager came to me with this problem over an hour ago. Read elsewhere that it’s a known issue between Sprint and Apple and neither party will take responsibility. Since my 32GB 4S didn’t exhibit this issue, but my kid’s 16GB 4S did, I didn’t believe it was Sprint. Tried many solutions found here and elsewhere to no avail.

      This one worked right away. I’ve linked this to a thread on Apple’s Community forums.

      Thanks!

  17. WV says:

    My apps are forever showing “waiting”. Can’t even “pause” them :(

    • UndisclosedUprising says:

      The same thing is happening with me! I’ve tried rebooting, updating them individually, deleting and reinstalling them individually… It seems like the last thing to do is connect to the computer and manually update them, but that’s pain in the butt. If anybody has an easier way to fix this, please let me know! :)

  18. Henry says:

    I tried the first one and it worked a few times.But I tried something else and most of the time it worked for me.I opened iTunes on my iPad and stop all the downloads in there,and there I go,it started loading the app.

  19. Dean says:

    I have been experiencing the same problems with ‘waiting’ on my apps…however what worked for me was to delete any pending podcasts! As soon as I did that all my apps start downloading one by one! Defo worth checking and giving that a try!!

    • warto says:

      thank you for this! i totally had like 7 podcasts that were stuck on pending. deleted them and solved the “waiting” problem for apps. thanks again!

  20. remd says:

    Had the same prob with my iPhone during a few weeks, it was impossible to update any app (of course the app didn’t pause, reboot or login didn’t solve the issue), it then magically worked again. Now the same is happening on my ipad2. It seems that every time there is a new release it will block the app update or installation. Maybe a load issue?
    Last time it happens shortly after 5.1 was released and now with 5.1.1..
    This is a MAJOR pain in the A.. So Apple should fix this ASAP!

  21. remd says:

    After waiting for a while and posting here…..it magically works again….hopefully it will stay that way.

  22. Nurse says:

    I had several waiting for ages with no progress
    Realised I had a podcast waiting that had been
    Discontinued. Cancelled podcast and apps downloaded.

  23. Includes says:

    Did every tips that I read here on iPhone apps not downloading and stucked on waiting mode but none of it works yet…..

  24. solution says:

    THIS WORKS – deleted any pending podcast downloads in itunes, restarted iphone, signed out of app store – on iphone (in settings – store) then signed in again and everything is back to normal. downloading and installing

  25. JeffBoyardee says:

    I was having this problem too and looked at solutions from various websites nothing I saw worked.

    I tried pausing and resuming, removing the app and downloading (which actually worked but I didn’t want to do that with all of the pending apps) and tapping the “update all” option.

    I even SSH’d and deleted the download files but no good.

    What finally worked for me is to go to the app detail and download from there. A notification said I had already purchased the app and it’d be free. All apps downloaded as intended. I don’t know if deleting the temp download files had anything to do with it, but I don’t recall seeing anyone suggesting to go into the app detail.

    I also didn’t have any podcasts or anything downloading in iTunes, so FWIW, this is what worked for me.

  26. Paul says:

    I had podcasts stuck trying to download. Once I removed them everything else worked. :)

  27. Peter Rung says:

    I too had this problem, and it was not a stuck download. I deleted the application that was “Waiting…”, downloaded it in iTunes, connected the cable and updated.

    All good. Thanks to everyone here.

  28. [...] you can usually fix stuck app downloads by double-tapping the stuck icon, that doesn’t work with things downloaded from iTunes like [...]

  29. Nabil says:

    Dave, Many thanks my brother. You just solved my iPad problem. Which I had a big headache trying to solve it for more than a week. Thanks again.

  30. Brett says:

    **FIGURED IT OUT** I’ve had this issue when restoring a few times myself. It happens when you restore from iCloud. I clicked to install an app just as the iPad came up. It was in the progress of restoring all the other apps. It restored all the apps from the cloud, but still the newly installed apps were still stuck on “Waiting”. I go to check in iCloud -> Storage and Backup and it says it’s still restoring. Just because the apps are restored, doesn’t mean it has finished restoring the rest of the gigabytes of data. Go watch a movie or two and let it do its jobs.

  31. Govinda says:

    thank you so much Dave Brown. I had a headache since long days.

  32. Robin says:

    I tried doing everything you said. I tried pausing and resuming but that didn’t work. I even tried rebooting my ipod touch twice! That didn’t even work.

  33. Tony says:

    I found that I had podcast subscriptions taking priority. Try pausing their downloads and maybe your apps will download instead.

  34. Hajvan Cikotski says:

    Just PRESS AND HOLD the APP that’s giving trouble. It starts SHAKING, then PRESS the X and DELETE the APP. You can reinstall it again later.

    This is a SOLUTION for those who are STUCK in UPDATING their APPs on their iPhone

  35. Mike says:

    An $800 device shouldn’t suffer from a basic problem like this that could have people scratching their heads for hours. I’m amazed at the number of times I have heard people say something to the effect the Apple products just work when forums like this demonstrate clearly that this is not the case. Apple needs to spend less time developing ‘beautiful’ looking tablets with unecessarily high resolution screens and more time fixing basic problems in their existing devices and software. I spent ages the other day trying to figure out why I couldn’t Complete My Season on a TV show after registering a gift card. I eventually ended up buying a single episode of something else and everything was fine thereafter. I wasted hours, though, trying to resolve this problem with a basic function. The iPad has many merits but Apple should really spend less time patting themselves on the back and more testing their products.

  36. Rob says:

    I had the same issue. Tried to update about ten apps and all were waiting and none would finish. I finally solved by paying attention to the message that popped up saying that it couldn’t finish the download of a certain app (and not because of size). I deleted that app and the remainder installed fine. Now I’ll go back and reinstall that app.

  37. Amanda says:

    I am having the same issue, uninstall apps, then try to reinstall and still says cannot be loaded?? Not sure what to do, have deleted, rebooted, and tried to get new apps loaded and wont do so, for how much money paid for the phone and cant have apps might as well go back to my blackberry!!!! so frustrated? anyone know anything that may work?

  38. Sue says:

    can’t tell you how grateful i am

  39. Nicky says:

    Guess what!!?? NOTHiNG works!!!

  40. Adrian says:

    I am trying to install an app and it just starts loading to about 50% full but then it goes back to 0% and it says waiting! It’s been like this for 3 days, I have reset device settings, I’ve rebooted many times, I’ve deleted and tried again but nothing will work! This is upsetting me :(

  41. Ali says:

    Dave, you are genious man. thx a lot.

  42. sasha says:

    How do you delete the podcasts.? My phone has been like this for 3 weeks and I am about to just toss it in a river! I have dove EVERYTHING except delete podcast. I don’t undertsand all the technical terms. PLEASE HELP!!!!

  43. Steve Norman says:

    I’ve had this problem on my iPAD1 since Saturday – tried to install a couple of updates, and it’s trying to install a couple of new apps I’d bought on my iPhone. All waiting. I don’t have anything stuck downloading in the background, I’ve tried all the solutions proposed, and nothing. I wonder if, as one of the posts above suggests for the last time it happened, the impending iOS update has anything to do with it?

  44. Chris says:

    Same with me. I tried to open my iTunes but there was no stuck app downloads there. I tried reset, no chance. I tried everything. Nothing. It’s been 3 days now.

  45. Himanshu says:

    I had content restrictions on (because I have a 6 year old daughter who uses my iPad). I disabled all restrictions and all my stuck iCloud downloads and apps that were neither installed nor not-installed were unfrozen and everything worked!

  46. Emily says:

    none of these things are working! help!!!

  47. Susan says:

    Had the same problems… And found a simple fix after much challenge… 1) Found I had to do a soft reset (standard turn off iPhone or iPad) and then do a hard reset (turn off simultaneously holding lock button and home button until apple icon appears). 2) Go to the App Store and select one of the apps that is “stuck” and select it. By selecting and tapping on the app, this should take you to where the app is located on your iPhone or iPad….. If you see the app, select it again to pause the update, and select ok if it can’t update at the moment. This puts the app available as an update again in the App Store. If you DON’T see the app, then you have apps on all your available 11 pages and will need to combine some into folders. 3) I suggest you hard reset your iPhone or iPad again here to clear out the memory (but not the apps). 4) if you didn’t see the app and made folders to combine apps so there’s more space for hidden apps, then go and repeat step 2 above. This worked for me and just for my own satisfaction, I did a hard reset after all got properly updated.

    Good luck!

  48. Susan says:

    Btw, this seems to be an issue with iOS 6. It seems the update all did fine in the last version, now apps need to be updated one at a time. Alas, guess I’d rather do that than delete and reinstall all of my apps (and maybe have to repurchase).

  49. Bob says:

    I give up on Apple and your stupid iPhone…can’t get anything to work and now everything is messed up. Time to try a different brand.

  50. Tim says:

    I’m having the same problem, I’ve identified it as a song that won’t download (thanks to the comments above) only I cannot delete it. I open iTunes, select downloads, find the song – but I can’t right swipe it, click on it or anything. HELP

  51. Krysha says:

    Dave, you’re the man. It totally fixed the problem. So simple, thanks man for sharing.

    Krysha

  52. Paul says:

    Here are a couple of other solutions that I’ve found through various forums:

    – Log out of iTunes and log back in, then re-synch (this one worked for me)
    – Reset All Settings [Settings/General/Reset/Reset All Settings]

  53. Liz says:

    I have tried all the suggestions for waiting apps on my ad without success. It has now been over 5 days. This all happened after coming back from a holiday in Australia where I used my iPad without a problem. So frustrated with this. My iPhone is fine and I can still download new apps on my iPad.

    Any further suggestions please

  54. Jacob says:

    I have tried it all tried rebooting on iPhone 4 ios6 tries rebooting settings still not working

  55. Douglas says:

    didn’t work for me… if i click on the App Store icon, then Updates, it briefly says “19” and then it counts down to none, and i have a list of 19 apps that don’t update, next to each is “INSTALLING” ghosted out. this sucks!

  56. Mike Kansgen says:

    My thanks to you as well! My issue was a song download in iTunes that had stalled.

  57. J Haley says:

    I tried everything to no avail. Tapped every icon and they just stayed in waiting. I had updated to OS 6, finally, and a large number of apps were stuck. None of the fixes worked. I followed Dave’s advise and the downloads page was blank. I checked in purchases and it prompted me for my apple password. I filled it in. Then went back to downloads, and suddenly there appeared a song download. I deleted it. Went back to look at my apps, and wouldn’t you know, they were loading.

    I think my password had been entered wrong or something, and I think that figuring a way to get it to prompt you, or go into your iCloud settings, was the initial trick. Then Dave’s advice along with tapping the icons.

  58. saddam says:

    just go to cydia .. and install repo . ( repo.appvv.com ) then in search install app sync for ios 6 ,or ios 5 .. hope so it will fix ..best ov luck

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