Cannot connect to iTunes Store Errors? Try these troubleshooting steps

By , Mar 16, 2016


Whether you’re using your iOS device, Mac, or Windows PC to connect to one of Apple’s digital content stores, you may have been plagued by the “Cannot Connect to iTunes Store” or “Cannot connect to the App Store” alert. It can happen while you’re trying to use the App Store, the iBooks store, and even the iTunes store.

If you’re being plagued by these problems, chances are it’s an easy fix. In this piece, we’ll go over the steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem so you can get back up and running.

Can’t connect to iTunes or App Store on iOS

If you’re having trouble connecting to the App Store, or any of Apple’s other online digital content stores via any of your iOS devices, whether it’s an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you can follow any of the following troubleshooting steps we’re about to present you with; hopefully, one of them will fix your problem.

Check your date and time settings

If your device’s date and time are off, Apple’s digital content stores aren’t going to like you too much. Launch your device’s Settings app and navigate to Settings > General > Date & Time to ensure that either your time or your selected time zone is correct. If it’s not, adjust it accordingly.

ios date and time settings

Make sure iOS is up to date

Another thing you can check is to make sure that your version of iOS is up to date. To do this, check for updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update and install updates as necessary.

ios software update

Ensure you have a good data connection

If you’re using Wi-Fi, make sure that you’re connected to the right Wi-Fi network by going to Settings > Wi-Fi and also check to make sure that you have strong enough of a signal strength and that you don’t need to log into the network from Safari if it’s an institution network that requires you to log into a portal.

If you’re using Cellular, make sure that you have cellular data enabled from Settings > Cellular and make sure that your signal is strong enough for a decent internet connection. You should use LTE whenever possible since it typically has the best data speeds.

ios wi-fi and cellular settings

Disable any active VPNs

If you’re using a VPN that might be blocking Apple’s digital content stores from working, then you should try disabling your VPN momentarily from Settings > VPN to see if you’re able to connect or not. If it works after disabling your VPN, then the VPN was the problem all along.

ios VPN settings

Do other machines on the same network have the same problem?

If you can isolate the problem to just your iOS device, then you know it’s your device acting up. You can check to see if it’s your device or if it’s Apple’s servers by checking another iOS device or another Mac or PC to see if those machines also have the same connectivity problems. If they don’t, then your iOS device is the problem; if they do, you might suspect Apple’s servers are having a hiccup and you should try again later.

Ensure your wireless router isn’t having issues

You should never rule out that your wireless router may be experiencing issues. In the event that you see endless error messages, you can also try resetting your router to reset your internet connection, and this might resolve the issue.

Check to see if Apple’s servers are down

Apple provides a useful System Status page to see what the online status is of each of its services. If you check it while you’re having issues, you will be able to see if the problem is related to Apple or if it’s your device having the problem.

Can’t connect to iTunes or App Store on Mac

Just like on your iOS devices, you might experience similar connectivity issues on your Mac when using the Mac App Store, iBooks Store, or iTunes Store. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot connectivity problems on your Mac.

Make sure your software is up to date

Apple’s OS X operating system uses two key apps to connect to the internet, and more specifically, the online digital content stores – Safari and iTunes. If you’re using an outdated version of these pieces of software, Apple may blacklist their connectivity to the digital content stores for security reasons.

You can make sure both are up to date by launching the Mac App Store and opening the Updates tab and then install updates as necessary.

Mac App Store check for updates

Make sure you don’t have a firewall blocking digital content stores

Mac users have access to firewall settings, but only for incoming connections. Third-party firewall software, such as LittleSnitch, will allow blocking outgoing connections. Make sure that both incoming and outgoing connections are allowing Mac App Store, iBooks store, and iTunes store connections.

To check your OS X incoming firewall, you can launch the System Preferences app from the  menu in your Menu Bar, then click on the Security & Privacy preferences pane and open the Firewall tab. From here, you can unlock your firewall settings and click on the Firewall Options… button to configure what’s allowed and disallowed.

Mac OS X Firewall Settings

Make sure no VPNs are blocking access

Just like in iOS, you can check to make sure you’re not connected to a VPN that might be restricting access. Typically, VPN software is accessed from the Menu Bar when it’s being used.

private internet access VPN review disconnected and connect

Reset your router or modem

Since Macs can use either a wireless or wired internet connection, you can try resetting either your wireless or wired router to see if this remedies the issue. Sometimes a bad internet connection can be the cause.

Check Apple’s online server status

To see if the problem is related to Apple’s servers, rather than your Mac, you can visit Apple’s System Status web page and it will alert you of any outages going on with Apple’s systems. If everything looks green, then the problem is most likely with your computer, and not with Apple’s servers.

Call your internet service provider

Believe it or not, Apple says some unnamed ISPs will actually block access to certain ports used by Apple’s digital content stores. You can contact your ISP for more information about whether or not they’re blocking the required ports.

Can’t connect to iTunes or App Store on Windows

Windows can be just as pesky, if not more-so. If you’re having issues connecting to the iTunes store on your Windows PC, you can follow some of these steps and hopefully resolve your issue:

Make sure iTunes is up to date

Since Apple is pretty strict on keeping software up to date, the problem may be related to an unsupported version of iTunes. Check to make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your PC.

Check your network settings

Your internet connection may be to blame for the inability to connect. Try making sure you’re connected to the right Wi-Fi network, or that your router isn’t acting up. You can reset your router if necessary.

Make sure Windows Firewall isn’t blocking iTunes

Windows Firewall may be configured to block connections to the iTunes Store. You can check out an online support document from Apple on how to make sure Windows Firewall isn’t causing the issues and to fix it if it is.

Make sure no proxies or VPNs are causing problems

Like mentioned before in the iOS and Mac troubleshooting steps, VPNs and proxy servers can cause issues with connections to certain servers. Try disabling them and try again to see if it’s the service you’re relying on to protect your identity online.

Reset the hosts file to factory settings

Apple notes that messing with the hosts file in Windows, which was a common way for jailbreakers perform downgrades in the past, can cause issues with iTunes connectivity. Microsoft has an online support document on resetting the hosts file so you can see if this solves your problem.

Check anti-virus software

Some anti-virus software may report iTunes as a false negative, which may block its internet access privileges. Since anti-virus software is a common thing on Windows, this is a great place to check too.

Verify Apple’s online server status

Just like Mac users, Windows users can visit Apple’s Server Status web page to see if any of its services are down at the time of trying to connect.

Wrapping up

iTunes connection errors are never fun, and are almost always a true pain in the rear end. This is especially so when you’re just trying to download a new game or an app update and become frustrated with error messages.

If you found this tutorial helpful, please let us know in the comments below!

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  • Megan Annette Burgess

    I’m so confused. If the App Store is not connecting at all, why am I asked to go to the App Store and download updates? Hilarious.