How to fix slow App Store downloads on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

At times apps may download very slowly on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, despite having a good internet connection. In this piece, we’ll discuss various reasons why your App Store downloads may not be performing the way you want them to and some troubleshooting steps to fix the potential problem.

App Store icon on a dark background

Why are my App Store downloads so slow?

Before you can fix slow App Store download problems, you first have to identify what is causing the slower-than-expected download speeds. There are several possible culprits, such as:

  • Flaky DNS server: If the DNS server you’re using isn’t the greatest, it can hinder download speeds and cause slow app downloads.
  • Router issues: If your wireless router has decided to stop broadcasting a signal mid-download, this will impair your App Store downloads.
  • Network issues: An incorrectly configured network can cause problems that hinder connectivity with the App Store and could be the cause of your App Store problems.
  • Software glitches: Stuff happens, and the software itself is to blame occasionally. A glitch may sometimes cause something to appear to download correctly, but it really doesn’t.
  • Apple server downtime: From time to time, Apple upgrades and performs maintenance on their online servers and equipment; this means downtime for the App Store.

How to troubleshoot slow app downloads

We’ll begin with some of the easier potential fixes and work our way down to the more advanced ones.

Make sure Apple’s services are all online

The problem isn’t always on your end. From time to time, Apple is the one having the issue. Equipment goes bad and sometimes needs software updates, and in these scenarios, Apple’s App Store servers may experience intermittent downtime.

You can easily check the status of Apple’s App Store services via the company’s System Status web page before you perform any of the troubleshooting steps below from your end.

Prioritize a specific app download

If you’re downloading multiple apps simultaneously on your iPhone, you can ask iOS to prioritize one of the app downloads. Press the app icon and choose Prioritize Download. Doing so will give the maximum attention and speed to downloading that app.

Reboot the device

If you’re trying to download an app on your Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and are having issues downloading apps, or they’re just downloading too slowly, try rebooting the device itself. In rare instances of software glitches, a reboot can get things up and running again.

It seems like older devices have a lot of software glitches with App Store downloads. Sometimes it says apps are downloading, and they’re not when I check my Home Screen. A reboot usually fixes the problem. In some cases, perhaps a jailbreak tweak itself is the cause of the problem.

Try downloading a different app

I’ve seen cases where only a specific app in the App Store was having issues downloading. Sometimes the developer pulls the app, and the App Store doesn’t realize it until minutes after the pull. In these cases, you might get unavailability errors or an infinitely-spinning download icon that never seems to accomplish any progress.

If this sounds like your symptom, try downloading another free app from the App Store and see if the same thing happens. If not, this could be your problem.

Sign out and back in again

The problem could be related specifically to your iTunes account. Try logging out of your Apple ID under the App Store settings on your Mac or iOS device and then logging back in again. Afterward, try the download again and see if it starts to download at the expected download speeds.

Related: How to sign out of iCloud or Apple ID and sign in again

Test your download speeds

Before you point the finger at anything, confirm that the problem isn’t related to your ISP (internet service provider). Go to and check that your download speeds are up to snuff. Typically anything above 10 Mbps is sufficient enough.

If you have slow internet, there’s no question why it’s taking so long for your App Store downloads to complete. Those with high-speed broadband and fiber optic connections, on the other hand, should never experience that slow of App Store downloads unless there’s an underlying problem.


Turn off the VPN

Almost every VPN, including paid ones, will not match the normal speeds. So, if you’re using a VPN on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Wi-Fi router, turn it off. After that, you’ll notice that your app downloads substantially faster.

Reboot your wireless router

There are also some cases where your wireless router could be having a problem and just needs a good reboot. In these scenarios, the router may produce slower than expected download speeds, or the downloads may not progress at all.

Switch it off for a good 60 seconds and then switch it back on and try the download again. This is usually done by disconnecting the main power cable, but some routers have reset buttons on them. Refer to your router’s manual for further instructions.

Try the download on your cellular network

If you can’t download apps on Wi-Fi, but the downloads seem to be working as expected on your cellular network, then this pretty much throws up the red flag that something is wrong with the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to.

Perhaps some necessary ports or App Store servers are blocked from access via your router settings. In many schools and institutions, the App Store is blocked to prevent bandwidth hogs from stealing all the download bandwidth with large app downloads.

Tip: Open iPhone Control Center and tap the Wi-Fi icon if your iPhone keeps connecting to the slow Wi-Fi network.

Must see: 4 free ways to visit a blocked or geo-restricted website on iPhone and Mac

Try another Wi-Fi network

Likewise, if you’re using a Mac, iPod touch, or iPad and don’t have cellular data access, you can always try another Wi-Fi network to see if your problems persist.

Suppose the problem only happens at your house and not at your neighbor’s house. In that case, you may even have to question whether or not your specific ISP (internet service provider) is throttling or blocking connections to the App Store themselves. In this case, you would need to give them a call to find out.

Change the DNS settings of your Wi-fi network on your device

If the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to is configured to use a poor DNS server, then all internet requests will have to go through that server, and its poor performance will be passed on to you. This, of course, means slow or non-existent App Store downloads.
You can try changing the DNS server you use from the Wi-Fi settings on your Mac or iOS device.

Configure new DNS settings from your wireless router

Sometimes configuring DNS settings on the device itself isn’t good enough. If the problem is affecting more than one of your devices on the network, then instead of configuring DNS settings on every individual device, you might want to configure custom DNS settings from the wireless router itself, as this change will affect every device that connects to it and provide better performance for everybody.

We have an in-depth tutorial explaining how to log into your wireless router and configure custom DNS settings for all devices on your network that could help you through this troubleshooting step.

Disable firewall and security software

In some rare scenarios, firewall software and anti-virus software can actually hinder your internet usage. False negatives can flag the software to block incoming and outgoing connections to the App Store, which will undoubtedly cause connectivity issues.
You may want to try disabling the firewall or security software you have installed on your Mac or iOS device just to make sure these aren’t the root of the problem.

Reset network settings

If you continue to face terrible app download speeds on your iPhone or iPad, go ahead and reset the network settings. This should help improve things.

Lastly, contact Apple

If you’ve tried everything above, contacting Apple for support might be the right way to go. A support representative can walk you through additional steps that may help get your App Store downloads to speed up or work as you would expect them to.

Slow App Store downloads are a colossal pain, but you don’t have to deal with them. Most problems are related to something small and stupid, and one of the steps above can point you in the right direction.

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