The App Store's buggy update process

The App Store's buggy update process

Summary: The application update procedure for iPhone is a complete and unadulterated nightmare. The App Store tells you you need updates with a nice little red bubble in the upper right of the App Store icon, simple enough, right.


The App StoreÂ’s buggy update processThe application update procedure for iPhone is a complete and unadulterated nightmare. The App Store tells you you need updates with a nice little red bubble in the upper right of the App Store icon, simple enough, right. Unfortunately that's where the fun ends.

The update process involves clicking into the App Store, then Updates, then Update All. On my iPhone I get an error like:

"Unable to Download Application. xxx will be available for download when you log into the iTunes Store on your computer. Done/Retry."


"You've already purchased this item, but it hasn't been downloaded. To get it, open iTunes on your computer, select Check for Purchases, then sync your device to your computer."


Then when I go into iTunes and select Store > Check for Purchases the status bar says "Purchasing "updateAllSoftwareButton"..." T hen it throws a seemingly random error message like:

"Your credit balance is out of date. Click OK to refresh and try your purchase again."


"The application xxx was not installed on the iPhone "iPhone 3G" because an unknown error occurred (0xE8000002E)."

Then when seemingly everything is updated on iPhone, iTunes gives a message like:

"Downloads Completed. All downloads have been completed in iTunes on your computer. Dismiss."

But the updates never get installed. I've resorted to deleting applications that won't update and installing them from scratch - which only sometimes works. What's the purpose of downloading App updates on your desktop machine when they should be downloaded directly to the iPhone? I wish that Apple would have taken a page of's book when it comes to application updates-they always worked smoothly, directly over the air. Or maybe they should license Sparkle's updater code?

Have you updated any apps yet? What's your trick?

Topics: Hardware, Apple, CXO, iPhone, Mobility

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  • Unfortunately My Experience Was the Same

    I love the concept of the app store and really enjoy several
    of the ones I've gotten so far. My experience with the
    update of the program I was most drooling over an update
    went about like you describe. It was very frustrating.

    I'm a fan of Apple products over all I have an iPhone and
    my primary computer is a mac notebook. I have to say
    though this app store stuff and the upgrade to iphone 2.0,
    though very worthwhile, was a much rougher ride than I'm
    used to from Apple.
    Michael Gorsline
    • How would you describe your user experience?

      [i]My experience with the update of the program I was most drooling over an update went about like you describe. It was very frustrating.[/i]

      Oh, that doesn't sound so good. :(
      • App Store Bad. Apps (some of them) Good.

        While I didn't experience any of the messes described
        above, I wasn't a fan of the update process. I saw the
        notification that updates were available and I selected
        Update All... then waited. And waited. And waited. The
        updates downloaded and installed successfully, but it took
        a long time. It was probably a solid 10 minutes for 2
        updates to install.

        The App Store definitely has some flaws. The organization
        is laughable. There needs to be more sorting options. They
        need to put items in your cart instead of just downloading
        them immediately. There needs to be confirmations before
        a purchase. There needs to be some setup for demos of
        applications. There needs to be a lot of things.

        At the same time, once you sift through all the garbage,
        there are some really great apps there... many which
        completely blow away the perception of mobile apps. At
        the same time, while the App Store really needs to be
        tweaked, compared to purchasing, downloading and
        installing many other mobile apps it's a great experience.
  •, Yeah!

    Although i haven't upgraded to iPhone 2.0, I had a nice experience in using It works very smoothly with repositories and thousands of software. Why Apple (being a commercial company) can't just make better software as community software.

    If they can provide a superb OS such as iPhoneOS we expect others to be on the same quality level.
  • I got mine to update

    Basically when it gave me that "find all the updates" screen, I would just look for version numbers that had changed (this is easy to do now that everything is 1.0 generally, it will only get harder as time goes on, I am sure). Downloading the new version replaced what I had, and voila, updates. It is a hassle though, I agree.
  • Apple App Store = epic FAIL

    Seems [url=]this[/url] was just another load of Apple marketing garbage...
  • Oh the irony of the Mac ad!!!

    [i]The application xxx was not installed on the iPhone "iPhone 3G" because an unknown error occurred (0xE8000002E).[/i]

    This is the second time a Mac ad was made to poke fun at Windows and here we are, a few months later, and Apple is caught doing the [b]exact[/b] same thing they poked fun at Windows for!!

    The first is the fact that the iPhone constantly asks you to "Cancel or Allow" the GPS.

    Now we have cryptic error messages. According to Jobs though, [url=] cryptic error messages are something to be made fun of[/url]:
    [i]Mac explains that Macs don't get cryptic error messages.[/i]

    Hehe, maybe not, but iPhones do. Gotta love Apple hypocrisy. :)
    • actually, it's not just the GPS

      it does it on my old iphone too, which can only locate me by pinging cell towers. interestingly, though, it stopped asking after a few times. no idea why. I didn't change any settings. hmmm...
  • I've had no problems

    After the brick I owned on launch day I'm delighted I
    avoided this problem. I've had about 7 programs ask to
    update, and all have been smooth. All have been over my
    local WiFi and perhaps that was why. The most critical - in
    terms of my day to day life, was Omnifocus, and that was
    silk. Also, the Bloomberg update was easy, and resulted in
    a MUCH better program - charts are now amazing - rotate
    the iPhone to landscape when viewing an individual stock
    page to access charts.
    All I really want is the great calculator I had on my Palm
    that did everything - finance, units, the works...
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    I would love to have your problem my problem is Apple not
    releasing updates for 13 days since the developer
    submitted the revised application. I've been e-mailing and
    calling everyone I can think of to get this update at the
    store. At least if it's there you can brute force it onto your
    iPhone. I purchased this specific app on July 10th found
    some obvious oversights on the developers part brought it
    to the developers attention wrote a review after receiving
    the revised applications manual and training video and
    highly recommend it on The 7/16. Here it is
    7 days later and still no update available. I've suggested an
    update priority scheme where Paid, Business, Finance, and
    Health and Lifestyle apps get greater priority than games
    and social networking applications. Those of us who use
    our phones for business want our business apps to be
    correct and the most current possible.
    • This is all for a better user experience

      It is silly to allow you to download updates directly from the developer's site (like with every other mobile platform) because that would mean you would get your updates faster and this would lead to an inferior user experience. Don't ask yourself why Apple needs to get involved with an update to the 3rd party program you purchased on [b]your[/b] iPhone.

      [i]There is nothing wrong with your iPhone. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next year we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to the outer limits.[/i]

      Comforting, isn't it?
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    I have had no problems with the application updates. They have
    all loaded with no errors at all.
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    I didn't have any problem at all 2 of my apps said they
    needed updates, I hit the update all and it did, right on the
    phone. I was doing it through the wifi and not edge but not
    a problem. Maybe this only affected the 3G phones.
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    This morning, iTunes told me that 6 of my apps needed updates. What was confusing was that on the computer in iTunes, 4 out of the 6 showed versions of 1.0. So I couldn't tell if the version number they were showing is what they were updating FROM or updating TO. Also, to make matters even more confusing, the App Store on my iPhone said none of my apps needed updating. Even after a sync, iTunes still said 6 apps needed to be updated. Very confusing.
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    I haven't had a problem with updates. Except I don't always
    get the notification on the icon. But I usually see that an
    update has been released and just go pull it down. Not a big
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    had this issue for the first time yesterday, not on previous updates. can't tell today as there are no updates listed.
  • RE: The App Store's buggy update process

    sorta amused you espected anythng other than buggie software.... there's no way they tested to anything like this level so of course stuff's gonna break - you think anybody at apple just installed EVERYTHING like my girlfriend did on her iphone? riiiight.

    well - Enjoy!!

    Yes - Apple is Your Friend! They'd NEVER do anything wrong like this! And Google will only ever Do Good!