iPhone or iPad apps often get stuck waiting to update or install. You can’t use the app when this happens and need to wait for it to finish. But since it’s stuck, it might never finish updating or installing!
Use this guide to make your iPhone or iPad apps finish updating, downloading, or installing. You shouldn’t lose any data and it’s usually much quicker than waiting for your device to fix itself.
- 1 How to Fix Your iPhone When an App Is Stuck on Waiting
- 2 Step 1. Test Your Internet Connection
- 3 Step 2. Prioritize Your Waiting App
- 4 Step 3. Pause the Update or Installation
- 5 Step 4. Delete and Reinstall the Stuck App
- 6 Step 5. Restart Your iPhone or iPad
- 7 Step 6. Sign Out of the App Store
- 8 Step 7. Create More Free Storage on Your iPhone
- 9 Step 8. Update to the Latest Software
- 10 Step 9. Reset the Settings on Your iPhone
- 11 Find Out How to Download Incompatible Apps
- Getting Errors When Trying to Download, Install, or Update Apps
- Where Is the App Store Update Tab in iOS 13 and iPadOS?
- iPhone Won’t Install Apps or Gets Stuck Updating
How to Fix Your iPhone When an App Is Stuck on Waiting
- Test your Internet connection and stop other downloads.
- Tap the app to pause, then tap it again to restart.
- Delete the app, then re-download it from the App Store.
- Sign out of the App Store, then restart your iPhone.
- Make sure there is plenty of free storage.
We’ve explained each of these steps and more in full detail below.
Step 1. Test Your Internet Connection
Whether downloading an app for the first time or updating an old favorite, your iPhone needs an active Internet connection to do it. Try streaming a video to test your iPhone’s Internet connection and speed.
If the Internet seems slow or isn’t working at all, try these tips to fix it:
- Open Control Center and toggle Airplane Mode on and off.
- Restart your Wi-Fi router and reconnect to your network.
- Go to Settings > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This deletes your saved Wi-Fi passwords so make a note of them first.
Step 2. Prioritize Your Waiting App
It’s possible your iPhone or iPad app is stuck on waiting because it can’t download the update at the moment. The more things your device tries to download at once, the longer you need to wait for any one of them to finish.
Tap and hold the app icon on the Home screen, then select Prioritize Download from the quick-action menu. This moves it to the top of the list, above anything else your iPhone or iPad is trying to download.
You can also manually pause the other downloads on your iPhone or iPad:
- If other apps are trying to update or install, tap to pause them.
- Open Apple Music, Books, Podcasts, TV, and other apps you download media with and pause any active downloads.
- Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check if your iPhone is downloading a software update.
- Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and turn off Automatic Downloads.
Step 3. Pause the Update or Installation
You might be able to kickstart your stuck app by temporarily pausing the update or installation then starting it up again. To do this, tap the app icon from your Home screen, making it show a pause icon.
Wait a few seconds, then tap it again to resume the process. If that doesn’t work, tap and hold the app icon, then select Pause from the quick-action menu that appears. Open the quick-action menu again to Resume.
Step 4. Delete and Reinstall the Stuck App
If your app is still stuck on waiting, you might need to delete it from your iPhone or iPad entirely then download it again. When you do this, you also delete any content saved inside the app, so back up your iPhone first.
Tap and hold the app icon on the Home screen, then select Delete App from the quick-action menu to delete it. After your iPhone or iPad deletes the app, open the App Store to download it again.
If that doesn’t work, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and select your app from the list, then tap Delete App. Once again, use the App Store to reinstall the app after you delete it.
Step 5. Restart Your iPhone or iPad
Restarting your iPhone or iPad is a great way to fix all kinds of problems. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button, then slide to power off. Wait at least 30 seconds before pressing the button again to restart your device.
If it’s frozen or unresponsive, follow instructions to force restart your iPhone or iPad instead. This immediately quits any background processes and powers off your device. Wait at least 30 seconds before restarting it.
Step 6. Sign Out of the App Store
Updates and apps download through the iOS App Store. If an app is stuck waiting to update or download, it could be because there’s a problem connecting to your App Store account.
Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store then tap your Apple ID address at the top of the page. In the pop-up window, choose to Sign Out.
Follow the instructions above to restart your iPhone before returning to the iTunes & App Store settings to Sign In again.
Step 7. Create More Free Storage on Your iPhone
New apps and app updates take up internal storage on your iPhone or iPad. If you run out of free space, your device can’t download or update any apps.
When this happens, you should see an alert saying Not Enough Storage, but either way, it’s worth checking how much internal storage you have left.
Go to Settings > General > [iPhone/iPad] Storage to see how much free space there is. The chart at the top of the screen updates to show where your storage is going, follow these tips to free up more iPhone or iPad space.
Step 8. Update to the Latest Software
Apple releases new iOS or iPadOS software updates all the time. If your iPhone or iPad isn’t running the latest software, new apps might not work because they’re incompatible with your operating system.
Connect your iPhone or iPad to the Internet and go to Settings > General > Software Update to check for new updates. Make sure to download and install the latest available updates for your device.
You can also connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer and update the software using Finder or iTunes. This is arguably a better option since it performs a more complete software update than using the settings.
Step 9. Reset the Settings on Your iPhone
A problem with your iPhone or iPad settings might be the reason new apps or updates are stuck on waiting. You can often fix these issues without losing any content from your device by resetting the settings.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to erase all your content as well.
Either way, make a new back up of your iPhone or iPad before you get started.
To reset your settings, go to Settings > General > Reset. Choose to Reset All Settings. Enter your passcode then confirm you want to Reset All Settings.
If your apps are still stuck on waiting, go to Settings > General > Reset and choose to Erase All Content and Settings. This deletes everything from your device, so we recommend you make a new backup first.
If prompted, enter your passcode and Apple ID password, then confirm you want to Erase your device. After your iPhone or iPad restarts, follow the onscreen setup to recover data from your backup.
Find Out How to Download Incompatible Apps
Sometimes the apps you want to use aren’t compatible with the software on your iPhone or iPad. When this happens, you don’t always need to update your software, you can download older versions of the app instead.
Check out this article to find out how to download and install incompatible apps on your iPhone or iPad without changing your software.
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.