Recently upgraded Mac to macOS Catalina but cannot log into the App store? Does the App store simply show a blank screen? Here are some tips to assist you if your app store is not working on macOS Catalina.
Please make sure to back up your Mac before attempting to troubleshoot.
- 1 Quick Tips
- 2 Why is the App Store not working on macOS Catalina?
- 3 Unable to update apps in macOS Catalina, Check these tips
- 4 Unable to Install New apps on macOS Catalina, Fix
- 5 Mac App store blank screen and other issues on macOS Catalina
- 6 Wrap up
- 7 Reader tips
- Open FaceTime or iMessage and log in using your Apple ID (or sign out and then back in)– that often jump-starts your Apple Service apps including the App Store
- Quit App Store and reopen holding the Shift Key on the left side of the keyboard. Once the app store opens, try updating the apps
- If you use a VPN, toggle it off
- Shut Down and then power up (DO NOT USE RESTART–perform a full shut down)
- Change your Date & Time Preferences to something other than your current time zone and region
- Sign out & back into Mac App Store. And verify your selected country is correct
- Remove App Store cache folders from your User’s Library’s Cache
- Reset your cache of accepted certificates
- Update using a combo macOS update download rather than an app store update
- Create a new admin user and see if you can open the Mac App Store using that new user account
- Need to run 32-bit apps on macOS Catalina? Use a Mojave virtual machine
- How to transfer Custom RingTones from macOS Catalina to iPhone
- No More iTunes. How to use Finder in macOS Catalina to Sync and Restore iPhone
- Mail not working in macOS Catalina, How-to fix
Why is the App Store not working on macOS Catalina?
Let’s get the basics covered before we move on to App Store specific issues on macOS Catalina. The most common reasons why the app store may not be working on your Mac are poor Wi-Fi connection, different Apple ID, proxy setup in-network, VPN setup with enhanced security settings or the Apple systems are down.
In this section, we want to rule out these basics before we explore some of the specific App Store problems.
Check your connectivity on Mac
Are you able to connect to your Wi-Fi and do you have a strong signal via the network? Are other Apple devices able to connect to this Wi-Fi and access app store? Check using your iPhone or iPad.
If you are able to connect to a strong Wi-Fi and access the internet without any issues, let’s move forward. On the other hand, if you have performance issues with Wi-Fi after updating to macOS Catalina, take a look at the suggested ideas here. ( particularly around the settings of 2.5ghz and 5 GHz router settings).
Here’s what some of the readers suggested:
- When a “Sign in to FaceTime” notification popped up, I signed in to the Apple ID account we use for AppStore and macOS updates, etc. After that, the App Store app opened as normal. The short solution is to launch FaceTime and log in
- I think my problem had something to do with my Mac’s network settings. So I opened network settings, selected the network adapter, clicked Advanced, went to the Proxies tab, and unchecked Automatic Proxy Configuration. That fixed everything.
- Select“all apps use the VPN” in Preferences, disconnect, or turn any VPN off, then the App Store worked normally.
Check Apple Server System status for Mac App Store
There are often times when Apple is performing maintenance activities with the Mac app store and other related servers. Before you make any changes to your MacBook settings to deal with the app store issues, check the Apple System status page. You are looking here to make sure that the ‘Mac App Store’ has a green icon next to it.
Using the right Apple ID Credentials?
Are you using the right Apple ID to access the app store? This is a check item for readers who tend to use multiple Apple IDs. One id for iCloud and another Id for App store et al. Make sure that you are using the right Apple ID.
Now that we have covered some of the basics, let’s dive in and look at some specific App Store issues on macOS Catalina.
Unable to update apps in macOS Catalina, Check these tips
Some users report that they are unable to apply updates for their apps. The App store shows notification for pending app updates but when you click and try to process the updates, it prompts you to Sign in and after you enter your credentials, nothing happens.
The best thing to try and fix this issue is to sign out and then sign back in.
- Click on > System preferences > Apple ID
- Choose Overview on the left
- Click on Sign out…
- Wait for 30 seconds
- Restart your Mac and sign back in using the steps above
Now try and sign in into the Mac App Store.
If you are signed in to Apple Music or podcast or TV app, Sign out of it using the ‘Account’ menu item at the top. Sign back in into the app and next try and access the Mac App Store and check if you are able to sign in and apply the app updates.
Update Apps via Terminal
Use Terminal to Update! Terminal installs your updates manually and once you are finished, restart and check the mac app store again. So open Terminal (Applications>Utilities>Terminal) and enter: softwareupdate -i -a and check if that works.
Unable to Install New apps on macOS Catalina, Fix
If you are experiencing challenges around installing new apps on macOS Catalina, chances are that it is likely due to the new security changes on macOS Catalina. We have written a detailed post that addresses dealing with this issue. Please check and see if it helps your situation. This is particularly the case with third-party apps that you are trying to download from the internet. The new macOS Catalina’s enhanced Gatekeeper module might be preventing these apps from installing.
Mac App store blank screen and other issues on macOS Catalina
If you see a bank app store screen or your app store app simply freezes or experiences interim crashing on macOS Catalina, check the following tips out.
One trick that has worked in the past when dealing with odd behavior on the Mac app store is to change the System date/time.
Change your time zone to another location, restart your Mac and then go back to > System Preferences > Date & Time and selected Set time zone automatically using current location.
Clear App Store Cache Files from MacBook and check
If the system date/time change didn’t work for you, you can try and restore the app store cache files on your MacBook, restart and then launch App Store.
- Quit App Store app on your Mac if you have it open.
- Launch Finder App
- Click on Go followed by Go To..and type in ‘~/Library/Caches/’
- Drag the following files out from this folder onto your desktop
- Restart your MacBook and then open your App Store and check
Reset your cache of accepted certificates and check
Sometimes these old certificates might be preventing you from accessing the Mac App Store. Follow steps to remove these files and then check if you are able to access and use the App Store on macOS Catalina.
- Open the Finder > Go > Go to Folder
- In the Go to the Folder search bar, type /var/db/crls/
- Trash the files crlcache.db and ocspcache.db
- Enter an administrator password if prompted
- Restart the system and check if App Store works
Update or reinstall your macOS using a combo update
Many of our readers recommend updating your Mac using a combo update instead of the update via Software Update in System Preferences.
If you’re wondering what the heck is a combo update and how is it different from a regular update?
- A macOS or OS X combo (combination) update contains all of the changes since the original release of that major macOS or OS X version. You can use combo updates to update your macOS from any version within that major update.
- A regular macOS update is a delta update and contains only the files that changed since the last update. You can use delta updates to update your macOS ONLY from the previous macOS version.
What makes a combo update special is that it tends to fix underlying problems with ANY of the previous updates.
You can even reinstall a combo update on a Mac to fix problems–even if that Mac is already running the latest macOS version. Just make sure you backup first before running any update–delta or combo!
You find combo updates at Apple’s Downloads site–not via the Software Update function in System Preferences.
Create a new admin user on your Mac
A great way to identify problems with your account is to create another admin user on your Mac and then test out the Mac App Store.
- On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups
- Click the lock icon to unlock it
- Enter an administrator’s name and password to confirm
- Choose the Add button below the list of users
- In the New Account menu, choose Administrator as your type of user
- An administrator can add and manage other users, install apps, and change settings
- Enter a full name for the new user and the account name
- Create a password, then enter it again to verify
- Set-up a password hint to help the user remember it
- Click Create User
- Once you created the new admin user, log out of your current user and log in to the new user and set it up
- Try opening the Mac App Store in this new user account
- If the Mac App Store still doesn’t work, try using a different Apple ID or create a new Apple ID and test
We hope that you were able to address some of the App Store problems on macOS Catalina using this troubleshooting guide. Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you want to share a tip or trick that worked for you.
- Reader Terence suggests resetting your Mac’s keychains. Go to Keychain Access. Select preferences and reset default keychains–the only thing that worked for Terence
- Try creating a new admin user and see if you can open the App Store with that new user. If so, you might want to move your old user folders and files into that new user and continue working with the new admin user credentials instead
- I created a new user with a new Apple ID–that’s what ended up working for me
- I disconnected/reconnected to iMessage and bam! App Store White screen was gone!
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.