Can’t Download Apps From the Mac App Store? 7 Fixes to Try


Most Mac users rely on the Mac App Store to find and download new apps. For starters, it’s safe and convenient. Then, there’s the fact that it never fails until, for some of us, it does.

Not being able to download from the Mac App Store can be puzzling, not to mention frustrating. If you encounter this problem, don’t panic. We’ve got a few things you can try to solve it.

1. Check Your Internet Connection

The first thing to try when you can’t download from the Mac App Store is to check your internet connection. You must use a fast internet connection to download apps from the App Store. If you can’t access the App Store, check if your Wi-Fi is turned off. However, if you can’t connect to Wi-Fi, there are several steps you can take to get back online.

If you can access the App Store but cannot download apps, you may be facing poor connectivity issues. It could be that the apps begin downloading but stop at some point, or you can’t initiate downloads at all.

Other things to try include turning your Wi-Fi off and then on, restarting your router, and checking if other devices on the network are working fine. You can also try switching to a different network. But if you think your Wi-Fi router speed is affecting your internet connection, we have tips on improving your router speed.

2. Check if App Store Servers Are Down

Servers are important data storage and processing powerhouses, but sometimes they experience downtime; this includes App Store servers. So, if you cannot download apps from the Mac App Store, the problem might not lie with you but with Apple’s servers.

Screenshot of Apple's System Status page

To check if App Store servers are down, go to Apple’s System Status page. On this page, you can check if any of Apple’s services are facing issues. A green circle means the service is available, while a red one means it’s unavailable.

If App Store servers are down, you’ll have to wait until Apple fixes the issue before you can download apps from there. For certain apps, you can get them from their developer’s website.

If you download an app from somewhere other than the Mac App Store, you may not be able to open it, thanks to Apple’s Gatekeeper. The good news is that it’s possible to disable Gatekeeper in macOS, allowing you to launch non-Mac App Store apps without hassle.

3. Force Quit the App Store

Sometimes apps can stop working correctly on your Mac. When this happens, you can force quit and then relaunch them.

If the Mac App Store isn’t letting you download apps, try force quitting and then relaunching it. The simplest way to do this is by pressing Command + Option + Shift + Esc while the App Store is open.

Alternatively, you can follow the simple instructions below:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the menu bar, then select Force Quit from the dropdown.
  2. In the Force Quit Applications menu, select App Store, then Force Quit.

Screenshot of the Force Quit option via Apple’s menu bar

You can also force quit the App Store from the Activity Monitor. To do this:

  1. Press Command + Space to bring up Spotlight search and search for Activity Monitor. Click on the top result.
  2. Select App Store from the list of processes, then click on the x icon at the top-left corner of the Activity Monitor.
  3. In the popup menu, select Force Quit.

Screenshot of Force Quitting via Activity Monitor

4. Sign Out of the Mac App Store

You can’t download apps from the App Store unless you have an Apple ID. If you’re signed into the App Store on a Mac but can’t download apps, try signing out and then signing back in. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the Mac App Store window is open.
  2. In the menu bar, click on Store, then Sign Out.
  3. Click Sign In at the bottom-left corner of the App Store, then enter your Apple ID and password.

Screenshot of signing out of the Mac App Store via Store

Now, check if you can download apps without any issues. If not, try the other troubleshooting steps below.

5. Restart Your Mac

Sometimes, minor software bugs and glitches may prevent you from downloading your favorite apps. So, if you cannot download apps from the Mac App Store, restart your Mac and see if it solves the problem. To restart your Mac, click on the Apple icon in the menu, then select Restart.

If you don’t want the App Store to open when you restart your Mac, quit the app or deselect Reopen windows when logging back in option in the Restart popup menu. Doing so will prevent the App Store and other open apps from reopening after restarting your Mac.

6. Update Your Payment Method

Manage Payments on a Mac

Unpaid balances can prevent you from downloading apps, whether they’re free or paid. An outdated or invalid payment method might be the cause. So, updating your payment method can fix this issue. To update your payment method on your Mac:

  1. Open the App Store.
  2. Click on your name at the bottom-left corner of the App Store. If you’re not signed in, click Sign In.
  3. Next, click on Account Settings at the top-right corner of the window.
  4. Click on Manage Payments next to Payment Information in the Account Information popup.
  5. Now, click on Add Payment to enter the new payment method. Hit Done to save your changes.

Remove Payment Method on a Mac

After updating your payment method, remove the old one. Any unpaid balances will be charged to the new payment method automatically. You should be able to download apps again once outstanding balances are paid.

If you use Family Sharing and have purchase sharing enabled, change your payment method if you’re the family organizer. If you’re not the family organizer, ask the family organizer to change their payment method.

If you’ve tried the above fixes and still can’t download apps from the Mac App Store, it’s time to get in touch with Apple Support. If you own an iPhone or iPad, you can easily get tech support with the Apple Support app.

However, if you don’t, you can visit the Apple Support site, choose the appropriate topics, and get the available support options, which usually include a live chat or a phone call.

Resume Downloads on Your Mac App Store

If you cannot download apps from the Mac App Store, consider our suggestions on what to do about it. After all, what better place to get apps you can trust than from the Mac App Store? One of these troubleshooting steps should be able to help you out.

Once you solve your app download issue, you can resume downloading apps from the Mac App Store at your convenience.


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