How to fix iPad or iPhone apps stuck installing

If you’ve ever encountered an application that is stuck installing, it can be incredibly frustrating. Not only is that progress bar stuck for eternity, you also lose access to the app, while it’s waiting to be updated. There are assorted reasons for why this might happen, but more often than not, it’s due to storage issues. Your iOS device might have had sufficient storage space to install the apps, but now it’s bumping up against the capacity of your iPhone or iPad and refuses to update. Here are a few solutions on how to fix iPad or iPhone apps that are stuck installing.

iPhone apps stuck loading

Without A Computer
Using this process, you’ll remove the waiting to install status and revert to the older version of the app. Most importantly, you’ll regain access to the app without having to connect to a computer.

  1. Open App Store
  2. Select the Updates tab
  3. Tap on the icon of the app that is stuck
  4. This should put you back on the screen with the app attempting to load. Tap on the icon. You’ll see a message ‘Unable to Download Item’ and that the app cannot be downloaded. Please try again later.
  5. Press Done

Fix waiting iPhone apps

That’s it. Now you can launch and use the app. If storage space prevented you from updating your apps, read on for how to keep all of your updates and get them updated.

Tip: Upon doing this, you might have success just clicking on the individual app icons on your home screen, rather than having to launch the App Store.

Reboot Your Device
Another option that has been proven to work for some folks is to reboot your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Press and hold the power button. Select ‘Slide to power off’. Press power to restart your iOS device. If you apps start loading, this fix has worked.

Using iTunes To Update Your Apps
While we’ve been able to fix the issue with apps that are stuck loading, the solution above doesn’t update the apps. The best method to resolve this issue is to connect your iPhone or iPad to iTunes on your Mac or PC.

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad using the USB cable
  2. Open iTunes
  3. Select View > View Sidebar from the menu
  4. In the left column, select Apps
  5. At the bottom of the window, you’ll see the number of app updates that are available. Click on this to enter My App Updates.
  6. Click on ‘Download All Free Updates’ to begin downloading the updates to your computer
  7. You’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID password
  8. Wait for all your apps to be updated
  9. Select your iPhone in the left hand column of iTunes
  10. Select the Sync button at the bottom right

App updates available

My App Updates

Back and Restore
While the above options should fix your issue, I’m offering a third option should you still experience problems. This involves a complete backup and restore of your iPhone. Think of it as a fresh start, while taking the proper steps along the way to ensure you have saved all of your content on your computer.

Open iTunes and select your iPhone. If your iPhone is set to back to this computer, click on Back Up Now. Also, make sure that you have imported all of your photos and videos. The process here involves bringing your iPhone back to its factory state, so we’ll need that back to restore all of your data.

Back up now

Using iCloud To Restore
iCloud users will want to refer to our tutorial on how to restore from an iCloud backup. Before doing so, you’ll want to create a new backup.

  1. Navigate to Settings > iCloud
  2. Select Storage & Backup
  3. Tap on ‘Backup Now’
  4. When it completes, navigate to Settings > General > Reset
  5. Select Erase All Content and Settings

You’ll want to follow our guide on how to restore iPhone from an iCloud backup.

There are a number of reasons why an app might get stuck when installing. Often it’s tied to a storage related issue or bad connection. Using the tips outlined above, you should be able to rid yourself of apps that are stuck waiting. If storage is your issue, it’s likely this issue will rear its ugly head unless you take steps to manage your storage. This guide should get your apps updated or at a minium, remove those annoying iPhone apps stuck installing. Let us know what solution worked best for you.

  • pkazmi

    I have a slightly different problem – I was trying to download the new Google Hangouts app which got stuck on the “Installing” phase. This was on my IPad (current generation). No space issues. After a couple of times of me trying to get it unstuck, I deleted it by pressing and holding the app. Now when I go back to the App Store and try to download it again, I get an error message popup and the app won’t download/install. Any idea what to do in this situation? I tried connecting to iTunes but that did not help resolve it.

    Thanks.

  • Gene

    I found it my stipuck app at installing phase and couldn’t find a way to remove it. I found it it listed in iCloud backup listing, so I turned it off and it was removed from my update list.

  • Kathy

    My problem is that i have 11 updates sitting in the App Store (current gen iPad) when I hit the icon, I get a blank screen. Is there a way to remove and reinstall the App Store link? I tried rebooting, and don’t have any space issues.

  • David

    My iBooks app stuck like this so I tired your “Without a Computer” method on my iPhone 5 … it didn’t behave as you suggested. However, what DID work was tapping the iBooks icon on the main screen, which restarted the “Installing” procedure and it eventually completed successfully. HTH someone! :D

  • BlackBetty

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! ;)

  • eric van beurden

    hi and thanks but my ipad has frozen with the install bar half way accross the screen and i cant even turn the ipad off by holding in the power button. what to do????

    • michael

      hold the power button and the home button at the same time for 12sec