Get Around the 50MB Download Limit for Apps on an iPhone

Mar 4, 2013 - 15 Comments

download limit on iPhone

If you’ve ever tried to download a large app or iOS update over 3G or LTE, you’ve undoubtedly seen the message “This Item Is Over 50MB” and telling you “You must connect to a Wi-Fi network or use iTunes on your computer to download” whatever app it is you’re trying to get. You can get around that limitation though if you really must, though unless you have a very generous data plan it may not be a good idea to do so.

50MB Download Limit on iPhone

Having been recently in this situation, there’s a few solutions that work to go ahead and download a large app anyway. Two of these tricks require the data sharing feature of Personal Hotspot to be used, and the other requires a jailbreak but no personal hotspot. We almost always recommend you conserve data usage when on Personal Hotspot, but if you’re in a pinch there you can use these tricks to skirt around the 50MB download limitation from the App Store.

Connect to Another iPhone or iPad Personal Hotspot

This requires two iOS devices, one with Personal Hotspot, and one that you want to download the app to:

  • On one iPhone or iPad with cellular, go to Settings followed by Personal Hotspot and turn it on
  • Now from the iPhone/iPad you wish to download the large app to, join the Wi-FI connection created by the other devices Personal Hotspot
  • Go back to the App Store and download the large app

Personal Hotspot feature

Yes, you can also connect the iPhone or iPad to a shared Android phones shared internet connection as well.

But what if you don’t have another iPhone or iPad with Personal Hotspot nearby that you can connect to? It turns out that if you have a Mac or PC, you can actually just share your own internet connection with yourself and use that instead. An incredibly silly trick that was found by mvergel, we’ll walk through it…

Use Personal Hotspot and a Mac or PC with Internet Sharing to Get Around Download Limits

This trick is comical, if you’re on the geeky side you’ll probably get a good laugh out of setting it up:

  • Go to Settings and turn Wi-Fi to OFF
  • Next, in Settings go to “Personal Hotspot” and enable it
  • Use Bluetooth or a physical USB cable to tether the iPhone and its internet connection to a computer (not Wi-Fi!)
  • Share the computers internet connection as routed through the iPhone by setting up internet sharing for Mac or by using something like Connectify for Windows – yes, you are sharing the same iPhone internet connection you are tethered to
  • Back on the iPhone, turn Wi-Fi back on and connect to the shared hotspot being broadcast from the Mac/PC
  • Download the app from the App Store

Yup, you are literally routing the iPhones data connection through the computer and back at itself to get around the 50MB download limit, and believe it or not, this incredibly stupid trick works to free up those size limitations for app and data downloads.

Jailbreak: Use 3G Unrestrictor to Override Download Size Limit

You’ll need to have jailbroken the iPhone or iPad to be able to use this tweak, check out our jailbreak info for the latest on how to do that.

  • Open Cydia and search for “3G Unrestrictor”, buy it and install the package ($3.99)
  • Within 3G Unrestrictor make sure that “App Store” and “iTunes” are in the list of unrestricted apps
  • Launch App Store and download the large app

3G Unrestrictor

The 50MB limitation is in place to prevent users from quickly going over their download limits, but it would be nice if those of us on larger data plans could either override the setting, or at least send the downloads into a queue of some sort to then retrieve later. In the meantime, try one of these three tricks out.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Menko says:

    The laptop work-around works wonders, thanks!! The (current) 100mb limit is really annoying and useless, so glad we’re still able to ignore it!

  2. Richard Chomba says:

    This limitation is totally stupid. I have unlimited data allowance therefore I don’t give a damn about the usage but I am limited to 100MB download on iPhone but I can download any file size on Android. This is Apples work as clearly other manaufacturer don’t have limits and networks don’t care.

  3. Ricky says:

    This is all apple making money off you all making you all get larger storage phones. How come I can stream Netflix now tv sky store and google play on my iPhone 6s but I can’t stream any iTunes videos. Utter rubbish! I pay £16 a month and have totally unlimited data. I used 158gb last month and am pretty much heading to Samsung now

  4. Fikile says:

    I have over 5gig of cellular data , Apple made a big mistake .. *strike*

  5. Mic Edwards says:

    Limit is 100MB now … stop your complaining.

    • Ion says:

      It’s not 100 MB, 9.3.2 update is exactly 50 MB and apple doesn’t let me download through the 3g connection. So YOU stop making false claims. And anyway, it’s stupid to limit users to use their 3g bandwith. OK, warn me that 3g is slow and it can cost me money (for me it’s free), but let me use if I really want.

  6. Julian says:

    This is nonsense. Google has no such restriction and there are far more android phones on the planet. This is Apple spectacularly failing to meet the needs of advanced users as usual. Even if it’s true that Apple are doing it due to pressure from U.S. Carriers. There is a whole world outside the USA and we have no such issues on the 3 network over here in the U.K. I have unlimited data and cannot use it properly thanks to Apple.

  7. Fred says:

    This is a stupid limitation considering my Netflix uses over 10 gigs of data every single month

  8. Frizlab says:

    The 50 MB limitation is in place because the 3G network is saturated with datas since the iPhone was released and it *cannot* handle too much network load.
    It is definitely NOT there because Apple is concerned about people going over their download limit!

    • LOLUSA says:

      Indeed, this is a carrier level issue because the old fashioned American cellular networks are overburdened with inadequate infrastructure that we all overpay for, this is most definitely not a limitation desired by Apple. Visit the so-called “developing” world and you will find 3G and LTE is much faster with better coverage, and about 1/5th the cost ;)

  9. John Robinson says:

    Turning on “Personal Hotspot” on any ATT iPhone costs a minimum of $25 per month. It ain’t worth it to me. This is a stupid suggestion.

    • Alichia says:

      I think you can use another Cydia tweak to enable Internet tethering on non-tethered connection.

      Anyway, glad I’m living in a country that all cellular operators have no such restriction.

  10. paco says:

    3G Unrestrictor has been good to me, as a way to get Skype and Facetime over 3G, back in the day. It also frees up YouTube HD video streams, if available.
    It’s well worth the $4.

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