Friday, November 22, 2013

Troubleshooting Apps Stuck in the Update Process on an iOS Device

If you have an iPhone or an iPad you have probably downloaded apps from the app store at some point.  While we all use our phones and tablets for different reasons, it would be hard not to find at least one app that could make our lives easier.  However, as with any software, there will always be revisions.  Within iOS, downloaded apps are updated using the App Store as updates are released for each app individually.  App updates are released for many reasons including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Bug fixes
  • Issues or changes in functionality
  • Added features 
  • Added themes
  • Response to iOS updates
  • Changes based on customer feedback
When app updates are released, the App Store icon will display a number in the upper right corner of the icon to notify you there are app updates available as seen in the image below.


Once you click the App Store icon click on the Updates tab in the lower right corner to view which apps have updates available.  From here you can select to update all apps with available updates, or select each app individually to update.  Unfortunately, sometimes the update installation process fails.  When this happens, you can be left with an app that no longer behaves as expected.  The app might crash when you try to open it or it might fail to open at all.  The way the app behaves when the update process fails varies based on the type of app, what was in the app update, and where in the process the update failed.  If you run into this issue, go back to the App Store to see if the update for the app with the issue still shows it needs to be updated.  If the update is still listed then the update process likely failed.  Often times when the process fails, the app looks like it is being updated but the process never finishes no matter how long you wait.

There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot this issue.  First, try killing off both the stuck app and the App Store app.  To do this in iOS 7, double click the home button, then slide apps to the left until you find the one you are having issues with.  Once you find the stuck app, swipe it up off the top of the screen to forcibly close the app.  To forcibly stop an application in an iOS version prior to iOS 7, double click the home button.  Once the running apps bar pops up on the bottom of the screen with all running apps listed, scroll to the right to find the stuck app.  Once you find the stuck app, press and hold on the app until the running app icons all start to shake with an x in the corner.  Click the x next to the app to close.  Follow the same process to close the App Store app.  

Once the stuck app and the App Store app have been stopped, open the App Store again and run the update a second time.  Often times this will fix the issue and you can return to using the app normally.  However, if you run into the same update issue, the best way to fix the issue is to uninstall and re-install the stuck app.  If you can, sync your device to iTunes before uninstalling the app so you can try to recover any app data related to the app after you re-install the app.   Stop both apps from running using the same process listed above.  Press and hold the icon for the stuck app on whichever screen the icon is located until the icons start to shake.  Click the x on the stuck app to remove the app and select Delete when prompted.  NOTE:  Uninstalling an app will remove any program data saved by that app.  This includes account info, history, game scores, downloaded books, tagged songs, lists, saved searches, etc.  If you sync your phone before uninstalling and after re-installing you should be able to recover the data stored by the app.

Once you have uninstalled the app, go to the App Store and search for the app.  If the app was free, re-install it on your device.  If the app was paid for re-install it if there is no price.  If you are prompted to pay for the app again, sync back to iTunes to re-install the app without paying for the same app twice.  Once the app is downloaded again, run the updates in the App Store if any apply.  Once this process is done, you should be able to use the app normally again.

Good luck and remember to back up your data often.  If you are looking for a data backup solution, please visit our website for more information.  We have annual plans starting as low as $25 per year.

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