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If you’ve ever asked for a refund on a Mac, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad app you purchased in the Mac App Store or the App Store, Apple somewhat unexpectedly did allow you to update your existing installations – even reinstall previously refunded apps.

That’s no longer the case. According to multiple reports, users who try to update or reinstall refunded iOS and OS X applications are now greeted with a prompt informing them that Apple no longer supports the practice…

Six days ago, iDownloadBlog reader from Saudi Arabia tipped me about this on Twitter, as evidenced by the screenshot top of post.

Attempting to redownload refunded apps yields the ‘update unavailable with this Apple ID’ prompt:

This update is not available for this Apple ID either because it was bought by a different user or the item was refunded or cancelled.

This has been later confirmed by Fantastical developer Michael Simmons who tweeted out a similar screenshot this weekend, as seen below.

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Mathew Schaffer confirms this is the case with the Mac App Store apps,

“I noticed this on the Mac App Store this week, as well,” he wrote on Twitter.

Several people cautioned that Apple hasn’t been allowing reinstalls of refunded apps for quite a while.

If true, then what’s new here is the prompt itself.

I think this is quite reasonable.

I can’t recall any digital retailer that would let folks continue to use, update and even redownload previously refunded content.

Although some will squawk about this, it makes perfect sense from developers’ standpoint to close the loophole for dishonest types used to game the system by purchasing an app, getting a refund and keeping the software.

That’s borderline stealing.

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Screenshot via MacRumors forums.

Out of curiosity, have you ever asked for a refund on an iOS app? If so, what was your experience like? Also, can anyone confirm being able to re-purchase a refunded app?

I’m getting reports that this isn’t possible, which especially sucks when a previously paid app goes free, like Tweetbot. Oddly enough, Apple apparently won’t let you download or even repurchase previously refunded apps.

  • Ara Rezaee

    Well first I would have to learn how to refund apps!

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I’ve yet to get a refund but if I were to get one I’d probably follow this guide:

      idownloadblog .com/2012/02/21/how-to-get-an-app-store-refund/

    • Framboogle

      Refunding is actually easier than you would expect. Got a full refund for an accidental $9.99 in-app purchase within 24 hours after I submitted a claim.

      • Andrew Roth

        Ditto.

  • im2slick4u

    This has been happening probably since iOS 7 has been released. I’ve seen this before a while ago.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    This is the way it should have always been. It makes no sense at all that at one point in time you were allowed to update refunded apps or update apps installed via another persons Apple ID…

    • Leonard Wong

      Yes I agree with you. However if user also not able to repurchase the app then it totally may no sense

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        If this is the case these users should report a problem with the app and cite there reason as “Once upon a time I got a refund for this app but now I would like to purchase it and am unable to”

      • Jason Baroni

        I’ve reported some crashes and did not got any response on an app. My app kept on crushing and it got fixed months after my refund, why can’t I buy it? To depend on the dev’s reply sucks sometimes.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        By reporting the issue I meant reporting it to Apple. I don’t think developers can help you purchase the app unless it is possible to arrange for alternative payment and redeem the app via a gift code…

      • Jason Baroni

        They don’t, but they could have a system for reply assistance. Before refund Apple asks you if you contacted the dev and stuff, so if they don’t respond to you it is fair from Apple to allow you buy the app again in the future.

  • RarestName

    And that’s where Google Play really shines. You bought an application and refunded it, and you want to purchase it again? Sure, go ahead, but your refund rights for this application is revoked.

    • Loshan Thevanesan

      You can purchase it again, but not update it after you have refunded the app. Which seems legit as you get a copy of the app you ‘accidentally bought’.

  • Lagax

    I got refunded logic Pro because I bought Version 9 one day before 10 was released.

  • Andrew Roth

    I’ve gotten several refunds but you could never update or reinstall unless you pay for it again…

  • 1 Up

    What happens to apps that get removed from the App Store by apple? Do people that purchased get refunds? Do Devs still get money off sales

    • If Apple removes an app, then developers can no longer collect revenue from sales because, well, it’s no longer available. And you don’t get refunded for removed apps, why would you? It’s like coming to a retail store and ask for a refund because a developer or retailer has pulled a boxed copy of your app from store shelves.

      • Dani Hayes

        I think you should you be refunded for apps that removed. Remember FlashArmyKnife?? I bought it and cannot get it back. I think I have a right to have it refunded if I cannot get it back.

      • Zangpakto

        If you go to purchase history it’s still there… Same thing happened with flappy bird… It’s not a big deal really… For those who legitimately purchased the app anyway, they get to keep the app unless it violates something major which would require remote deactivation of the app.

  • Jared Steffen

    Twitterrific is free not tweetbot and I do see what your saying id be pretty upset if an app went free a bit after I bought it which has happened with horizon

  • leart

    I had a strange situation, my little brother used my Apple ID in his iPod without knowing that the account was empty, he has made two attempt to upgrade shazam to encore one from app and after from appstore. So I was charged twice for the amount of 14$.
    I had a refound in two days but I had to pay the bill first 🙂 apple costumer service are great

  • QP

    Anything about demo versions? how can i know if i like an app before to try it? from screenshot and reviews?

  • Dani Hayes

    I can confirm you CANNOT repurchase a refunded app. I purchased Asphalt 6 for iPad and accidentally purchased the iPhone app. I got the iPhone version refunded. Just to try and rebut it I was greater with this…..

    • Dani Hayes

      Here’s the pic in case it did not upload the first time.

  • Barry Davis Jr

    This has been like this since at least February. I purchased the wrong Printer Pro and subsequently after the refund there was an update showing for the app that gave the error in the article when trying to update it. The app was eventually removed from my purchase history a few days later.

  • kamranm1200

    No, but this is a HUGE issue. Apple keeps refunding my apps. Like just a couple days ago they refunded Tweetbot 3 on my account, when I never even requested a refund for the application. And yesterday the same damn thing happened with Clear. I got refunded Clear for no reason. This situation is really making me angry.

  • Jason Wallace

    Have hit this issue…

    I have an issue at the moment with Pocket Informant, I’ve had the paid version for quite a while. At one point the developer had 2 version in the app store and needing to re-install i chose the wrong one and got charged again.

    Getting this refunded was fine and straight forward.

    However mine is now well out of date and wanting to upgrade and more that happy to pay for latest latest version i find i can no longer do this as the only version availiable is the one i had refunded.

    Exchanged over 20 emails with support and they dont seem to have any way i can resolve this. So basically no way i can purchase this app.

    • brianmojo

      I’m having this exact same issue with 1Password.

  • Ryann

    I downloaded Infinity Blade II thinking it was free because “Applivore” said that it was, so it took me to the app store and charged me for however much the app was, so i deleted it and i wanted a refund so i asked apple, two days later i get my money back but then it becomes apples free app of the week this week and it gave me that same error message!!!! even though i had deleted it before i got the refund! I really wanted the app for free i guess I will contact them again. ugh

  • Jeff Parks

    IF YOU GOT A REFUND ON AN APP… YOU CAN “NOT”, I REPEAT YOU CAN “NOT” RE-DOWNLOAD IT EVEN IF YOU OFFER TO PAY. ALSO… IF THE APP HAS “NOW” BECOME A “FREE” APP YOU CAN “NOT” DOWNLOAD IT EITHER!!! 5TH HOUR ON THE PHONE WITH APPLE RIGHT NOW, I’M ON HOLD, AND I AM NOT JOKING! I WILL UPDATE WITH ANY INFO ASAP.

    • Jeff Parks

      APPLE MADE ME PUT MY ACCOUNT INTO “TROUBLESHOOTING MODE” WHICH MEAN THEY GIVE YOU A PASSWORD TO CHANGE YOURS TO AND AGREE THEY CAN ACCESS YOUR ACCOUNT. THEY WILL GO IN, DELETE THE “OLD” REFERENCE OF THE APP, AND YOU CAN RE-DOWNLOAD IT. I WILL UPDATE WHEN THIS ACTUALLY IS DONE. 24-48 HRS.

  • I’m getting this error for an app (1Password) I paid for and never asked nor received a refund for. Pretty annoying.

    • Jeff Parks

      SORRY TO HEAR. IT IS HAPPENING WITH APPLE A LOT RIGHT NOW. AND THEY DID TELL ME THEY “FIXED THE BUG” THAT HAS BEEN ALLOWING PEOPLE TO BUY AN APP, INSTALL IT, THEN REFUND IT MINUTES LATER. THEN CONTINUE TO RE-INSTALL / USE THE APP FOR FREE FOR YEARS.

  • Frode Skibrek

    How do i get rid of the updates?????? I refunded teamspeak,but my ipad claims still it has an update for it… 🙁

  • Steven Carrie

    I bought several apps using my work apple id. As I no longer work for that employer I want to buy them using my personal apple id.

    I’ve removed my old work apple id and no longer have access to it. Yet the app store still wont let me repurchase the apps I want.

  • I agree it’s the way it should be. If you’re getting irritated with seeing the app in your updates screen but not being allowed to update, like I have been for over a month, make sure you deleted the refunded app. That will get it out of there.

  • Andy

    Just got a refund for Simcity 4 on Mac Yosemite with no problem. At the moment it has not been tested on Yosemite and has a few problems, slow, freezing. If and when an updated version arrives that works with Yosemite, will I be able to buy the new version? Interesting.

  • Enamul Haque

    Hello Sir,

    Can I upload my app to iTunes Connect from a Windows PC without using a Mac (XCode or Application Loader)?

    I have successfully deployed and tested on iPhone and iPad using PhoneGap Build, without using a Mac (using instruction I found on here for generating the certificates using OpenSSL). I’ve signed up for the iOS developer program, generated the distribution certificate and provisioning profile and have the final .ipa file from PhoneGap Build ready to upload. However it doesn’t appear there is a way to upload the file through the iTunes Connect website. I have seen suggestions that this option has been removed and that you can now only upload using a Mac.

    Has anyone managed to submit an app using only a Windows PC? Please help me

  • Abraham

    I refunded Final Cut ProX, a $300 value… :/

  • Josefreak Salem

    What annoys me is that they actually still give you update notifications even after a refund. Why would they do that? How can a remove the notification?

  • Vinit Joshi

    What happens immediately after I get a refund? Does the app get uninstalled immediately or after some time?

  • mjdindc

    What burns me is when I bought an item, did NOT ask for a refund but the item has been dropped from the iTunes Store and is no longer available for purchase. I’m finding that these are not really purchases but just rentals and I need to keep copies of all music, tv, movies and apps purchased.

    And the companies wonder why people pirate content.