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How to Fix iPad Apps That Won’t Update

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by | Filed Under: iOS

Shakun from Buffalo, New York writes:

I bought the 4th generation Apple iPad a few months ago. I don’t know much about the iPad. My update button is not working in App Store. Now I can’t update my apps. I had switched off then open it but in vain. What should I do? Can you help me please? Thanks a lot.

 It’s important to keep your apps up-to-date. They run better, crash less, and will always give you the most up-to-date features. However, as reliable as the iPad is, every once in a while it will stall and you may not be able to update your apps to the latest versions. Here’s what to try when that happens.

Close and Re-open the App Store

You might think you have closed and re-opened the App Store before, but simply pressing the home button and re-opening it will only get you so far. To kill the app and make it start from fresh, you need to follow the instructions below:

1. Double press the home button, (or swipe upwards with four fingers), to reveal the multitasking menu (see below).

iPad Multitasking Menu

2. Swipe horizontally through the icons until you find the App Store thumbnail and icon.

3. When you see the App Store, put a finger on the large thumbnail and swipe upwards to remove it from view.

Swipe to Close App

4. Now, press the home button to exit the multitasking menu/

5. Launch the App Store again, and try to perform the updates for your apps.

 Restart the iPad

Still having problems? Time to restart your iPad. A restart is often enough to fix minor issues like this.

1. Press and hold the power button on the corner of your iPad until you see the red “Slide to Power Off” prompt.
2. Slide your finger in the direction of the arrow to power off your iPad.
3. Once the iPad has turned off, press and hold the power button to turn it back on.
4. Now, open the App Store and try to update your apps again.

 Perform a Hard Reset

You’re still here? Okay. Time to bring out the big guns. A hard reset fixes 95% of problems that people have with their iPads, but it is not as invasive as it sounds. All your apps and data will still be there once you have done this. To perform a hard reset, follow these steps:

1. Press and hold the home button and the power button and keep them held down for about 20 seconds, or until you see the Apple logo. Ignore the “Slide to Power Off” prompt. Just keep those buttons held down until the screen goes black and the iPad restarts.
2. Once you see the Apple logo, let go of the buttons.
3. When your iPad has restarted, open the App Store and see if those stubborn apps will finally update. The chances are high they will.

 Bonus Tip: Turn on Automatic App Updates

By now, the chances are high that your apps have finally got in line and updated just as you wanted them to. However, wouldn’t it be nice if your apps just updated all by themselves…automatically? Well, they can if your iPad software is up-to-date and running iOS 7 or later. Here’s how to set that up:

1. Check your iPad Software is up to date by going to Settings > General > Software Update

Software Update

2. Click Download and Install to download any available updates.
3. Once your iPad is up to date, go to Settings > iTunes and App Store > and toggle the switch next to the word Updates.

Turn On Automatic Updates

4. Now your apps will automatically update whenever an update is found in the App Store!

~ Jonathan

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27 Responses to “How to Fix iPad Apps That Won’t Update”

  1. Larry Yee says:

    I cannot update pre-installed apps in my new iPad.
    When I clicked the updated button, it won’t update.
    I have a iCloud account with the same email address.

  2. Larry Yee says:

    I cannot updated apps in my new iPad.
    When I clicked update button, it won’t update.
    I have a iCloud account.

    Kind Regards

  3. Shayla says:

    It still won’t update for me. :(

  4. wei says:

    it wont update
    when i press update
    it brings me to the app !

  5. Matt says:

    I’ve tried every step and nothing. All it does it clear the red notification on the app icon. But when I go to the iTunes apps it still says update beside each one. The Update All is grayed out and when I click on the individual apps to update, it just opens the app. This has been going on ever since they released iOS 8 if not before. I have not and don’t plan on updating to iOS 8.

    • Grace says:

      This happens to me to! I really want to update my favourite games :(

    • Judy Bernes says:

      You’ve described exactly what happens to my iPad as well. I didn’t even know about the ios8 release till searching how to fix this but the timing sounds about right. I wasn’t happy with ios7 so I won’t be switching to iOS 8 either. So far it’s fortunate I don’t use my iPad often and the kids games still seem fine.. Still kinda sad that Apple does this!,!

  6. stillgolfing says:

    My wife’s ipad2 is has same issues as Matt. Tried all of the recommended tips above and several other additional one’s on other Tech Sites. No luck! Any chance of getting further response/support here?

  7. audra says:

    Make sure that you do not have any items waiting for download in your iTunes library. This could stall out the updates. From the Apple website:

    “If an item is stuck in the queue with higher priority than the app you are trying to install or update, it can get stuck downloading. Launch the iTunes app and check the “Downloads” tab. If something is stuck, try deleting it, and if it won’t delete, try deleting all of the pending downloads below the one that is stalled.”

    • stillgolfing says:

      My wife doesn’t use iTunes. Her issue isn’t a stalled download. She currently has 30 (and rising) outstanding App updates, non of which will even start to download.

      • audra says:

        If you have an apple ID, which you must to use the App Store, then it is also linked to iTunes. There could be something there trying to install that is holding up the updates.

  8. Glen says:

    I’ve cracked it. Go to settings “General” then select Reset at the bottom. Then select “Reset Network Settings”. Enter your pin and hay presto, you should be able to update

  9. Glen says:

    Sorry meant to say. You will need to re enter your wifi router Password. Then after which you should be ok

  10. stillgolfing says:

    My wife’s issue is 2 weeks ago she had 20 updates now she has 32. She is not stuck in an update download, she just can’t update anything. As I stated before, Matt covered all our issues in his post.
    Note: she does not use iTunes, and I did not install ISO-8x etc update. as it “bricked” my daughter’s iPad and slowed my neighbour’s unit to a crawl. My initial thought was that it might be related to units running the older OS, but that appears not to be the case.

  11. stillgolfing says:

    Sorry about the re-post. I waited all day for the original post to show up.

    audra, did you mean “something there” in iTunes? I don’t know anything about iTunes, but when I opened it up to see what it looked like, it just looked empty?

    Thanks Glen, I will try that.

    • audra says:

      Yes, I meant in iTunes. Tap on the Downloads tab and see if there is anything there trying to download. That’s just one suggestion I saw. I also emailed you a list of things to try.

      • stillgolfing says:

        Thanks for taking the time to follow up. Is iTunes and the iTunes Store one and the same? Not being familiar with the iPad. I only found the iTunes Store and I don’t see anything called “downloads”. The store’s top and bottom menus all relate to choosing media and then choosing specific subsets of that media. Note: I do have “something there” now, when I chose “music” from the Media Options, a page of selections loaded.

  12. stillgolfing says:

    No luck Glen. Tried the Network reset 3 times. Nothing has changed. Update just opens the App.

  13. Lily says:

    Tried everything suggested including network reset. Update just opens the app and “update all” is grayed out.

  14. Tara says:

    My daughter’s iPad is doing the same thing. I have tried all of the suggestions above and she still can not update from the App Store.

  15. Mike says:

    I had a similar experience to those listed above but I figured out what my problem was. When I went to update it would list several apps with an “update” button on the right. Clicking this button simply opened the apps. The reason it would not update is: It was already updated! Under setting I had automatic update on, so the list is simply a summary of the apps that have been automatically updated recently. On the left side it lists dates like “updated Nov 20th”. if you want to manually update your apps, turn off auto update.

    Hope this helps somebody

  16. Dale says:

    I found a solution! Simply go into appcake click the cloud button then click on the app you wish to update after clicking it click AppStore and thats it!

  17. Rufus says:

    My fix was the same as Glen above. Settings>General>Reset at the bottom>Reset Network Settings,then after iPad shut down and repowered, reentered wi-fi router password.

  18. Secret says:

    You have to actually search the game you want to update in the AppStore>click on the game you wanna update>Click the update button> then it should update. Works for me

  19. Charlie says:

    I had the same problem for about a month. Tried all the suggestions here and none worked. Upgraded today to iOS 8.1.3 and can now update apps (had over fifty needing updates).

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