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How to fix a stuck download on an iPhone

Any app that’s installed on an iPhone comes from the App Store. There are exceptions e.g., some apps may be distributed from TestFlight or from the Microsoft AppCenter but these are normally apps that are in private beta and are meant to be tested. Only a small group of users have access to them.

Fix a stuck download on an iPhone

Downloading an app from the App Store is simple; you tap the Get/Buy button, authorize the download with Face ID or by entering the password to your Apple ID, and the app will download.

As an app downloads, you can see the progress on the app’s icon; it starts from “loading”, and moves to “installing”. If an app is stuck at the ‘Waiting’ or the ‘Downloading’ stage, here are a bunch of things you can do to fix it.

1. Restart download

It may seem obvious but often, restarting a download is the easiest way to fix this problem.

  1. Tap and hold on the app icon.
  2. From the menu, tap ‘Cancel download’.
  3. Wait for the app icon to disappear from the home screen.
  4. Download it again from the App Store.

2. Prioritize download

iOS allows users to prioritize which app is downloaded first. This is helpful when you have a lot of apps that are updating or downloading. Try prioritizing the download of the app over others.

  1. Tap and hold on the app icon.
  2. From the menu, select Prioritize Download.
  3. The app will start downloading.

3. Pause/resume download

If during the download process, your internet speed drops or you lose connectivity, an app that is downloading gets stuck.

  1. Tap the app icon. The ‘Loading’ message will be replaced with ‘Paused’ and a paused icon will be superimposed on the app icon.
  2. Wait 10-15 seconds.
  3. Tap the app icon again, and it will start downloading.

4. Check internet connection

It is possible that your internet connection is unstable. It will impact the download speed, especially if the app is large. Try switching to a different network if it’s available, or try to download the app at a different time when the network isn’t under as much load. You should also try downloading a different, smaller app. If the problem persists, it is possible that the App Store itself is having trouble.

5. Restart the iPhone

Phones, unlike desktop operating systems, remain On all the time. They don’t need to be shut down. They will continue to work just fine but there can be exceptions. If an app is stuck at the downloading stage, try restarting the iPhone.


The iPhone doesn’t run into a lot of problems but it has its moments every now and then. An app download can get stuck but it’s never permanently stuck. You can always cancel it and try again.

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