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iPhone cannot connect to App Store. What do you do?

The Apple App Store is the iPhone’s bedrock. Without its ecosystem of apps and games, your beloved smartphone can’t really do much beyond running native first-party apps (and there are only so many selfies we can take using the Camera app). This means, if your iPhone cannot connect to the App Store (or iTunes), you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Luckily, there are solutions to basically every instance of App Store connection problem. We run through all of them in this article, covering everything from checking Apple’s System Status page to logging in and out of your iPhone. This should help you get your iPhone (or iPad) connected to the App Store again in no time.

Check Apple’s System Status page

iPhone cannot connect to App Store
Image used with permission by copyright holder

First things first, you should really check Apple’s System Status page if your iPhone won’t connect to the App Store. Because if the App Store itself is down, then there’s no point in trying any of the other tips covered in this article.

Simply head to Apple’s System Status website. It’s here Apple provides status updates on all of its services and servers. Conveniently, the App Store is at the very top of this list, so if you see a nice green circle next to its name, this means it’s operating as normal. It also means you should try one of the other possible solutions on this list.

On the other hand, if you see a red triangle next to App Store, then you’ll need to wait things out until Apple’s magical elves do their thing. Maybe it’s finally time to dust off that copy of War and Peace?

Check your internet connection

OK, we don’t want to be too patronizing, but make sure you check that your iPhone is actually connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. First, look for the Wi-Fi symbol in the top-right corner of your iPhone, or for the 5G/4G symbol (if you’re connected to a cellular network). If you’re not connected to your usual Wi-Fi network, you can reconnect by going to Settings > Wi-Fi and then tapping on the name of your Wi-Fi network.

Finding either of these symbols is usually a good sign, but sometimes you may experience connectivity issues even when your iPhone displays the Wi-Fi or 5G/4G symbols. Try loading a webpage or using Safari to see if you can connect to the internet as normal. If you can’t surf the web as normal, then it’s likely you’re having internet connectivity issues.

If this is the case, you may need to try rebooting your Wi-Fi router, changing channels on your router, moving your router/iPhone into a better position, resetting your network settings, or contacting your ISP. You can also try connecting to a different Wi-Fi router or network, if possible.

Check out our guide on the most common Wi-Fi problems for a more in-depth look at how to deal with connection problems.

Check your Cellular settings and mobile data

Related to connectivity issues is the question of whether your Cellular settings are configured to let you download from the App Store (with a 5G/4G cellular connection). If they aren’t, this may be why your iPhone cannot connect to the App Store.

To begin with, check that you actually have Cellular Data switched on. Go to Settings > Cellular Data On. Next, scroll down to the Cellular Data subheading and make sure that the App Store has been activated (so that the slider is green). If it hasn’t been activated, you will not be able to download anything from the App Store using a cellular 5G/4G connection, which may account for why your iPhone cannot connect to the App Store.

If you’re using cellular data, you may also find that you can’t download apps from the App Store if they happen to be larger than 200MB. This is the case if you’re using an operating system older than iOS 13 (i.e. iOS 12 and earlier). Older versions simply won’t let you download large apps using cellular data, although there is a sneaky workaround. After attempting to download an app using cellular data and being told it’s too large, tap OK and then go to Settings > General > Date & Time. Next, turn off Set Automatically, and then set the date forward into the future (by at least a few days). The app you’ve tried to download should now begin installing.

Another thing you need to watch out for is your monthly data allowance. If you’re trying to connect to and download from the App Store, and if you’ve run down your monthly data allowance, you obviously won’t be able to download anything else. So double-check your mobile plan and top up if necessary.

Check the date and time

Apple recommends ensuring that the date and time on your iPhone is set correctly for your time zone. If not, this may be why your iPhone cannot connect to the App Store and/or download apps.

If the date and time on your iPhone is incorrect, go to Settings > General > Date & Time. From here, you can either tap Set Automatically to get your iPhone to do the hard work for you. Or, if you have the automatic setting turned off, you can tap on the date and/or time to set them properly.

It’s worth pointing out that, if you have iOS 12 or earlier and you’ve tried the method in the section above (related to downloading apps that need 200MB or more of storage), you should switch Set Automatically back on after setting the date or time forward. Otherwise, you may find that subsequent attempts to connect with the App Store fail.

Close the App Store and try again

Yes, it’s a simple step, but closing the App Store and reloading may solve connection issues. That’s because closing the app will clear its temporary cache, removing any short-term data that may be getting in the way of you connecting to it properly.

Update your software

Another tried and tested method is to check for an iOS update and install it. In some cases, problems arise from software quirks, so getting rid of your current iOS version and downloading its replacement is often a good way of resolving issues.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check if a new update is available. If one is, simply tap Download and Install to get things done.

Restart your iPhone, log in again

One perennially reliable method for solving many iPhone problems is to restart the device. You can try a normal restart by holding the Volume Up and Power buttons until the Slide to power off screen appears, and then you can swipe the slider to the right to shut down. Hold the Power button to reboot your iPhone, doing so until the Apple logo appears.

A similar option to try is to log out of your iPhone and then log in again. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Sign Out. Once you’ve signed out, you can sign in by going to Settings again and tapping Sign in to your iPhone. You can also sign out from the App Store app itself, by tapping your account icon (in the top-right corner) and tapping Sign Out.

Or, if you tried every other method in this article, you might want to consider a factory reset, although this really is the final, nuclear option. You can read our article on factory resetting an iPhone for more info, and make sure you backup your device before attempting it.

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Simon Chandler
Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London, UK. He covers technology and finance, contributing to such titles as Digital…
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