I was having a lot of trouble getting my iPhone applications to sync with iTunes. I tried doing backups and full syncs to no avail. Finally, in a moment of desperation, I righted clicked on my iPhone and chose the option “Transfer Purchases” and to my […]

I was having a lot of trouble getting my iPhone applications to sync with iTunes. I tried doing backups and full syncs to no avail. Finally, in a moment of desperation, I righted clicked on my iPhone and chose the option “Transfer Purchases” and to my suprise and glee I successfully moved my applications onto to my computer.

To transfer applictions to iTunes from your iPhone:

  1. Right click on your iPhone in the left hand explorer bar
  2. Select “Transfer Purchases”
  3. You should see a progress bar in iTunes and your phone should read “Sync in Progress”
  4. If everything went as planned, all of your applications that were purchased on your iPhone should now appear in iTunes

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  1. Marvellous !

    I was getting a bit worried about why mine weren’t getting sync’d either.

    Thanks for this tip !


    1. This is sooooo simple, why wouldn’t it be in any tutorial or help menu? I agree Nick, this was a lifesaver!!

    2. Thank you SO much for this tip! Apple’s site offered zero help; I really appreciate your assistance!

    3. Ha, yeah I was about to cry. Thinking I would have to buy all my games again! TY so much for the info. Makes me happy =P

      1. The only thing that you would ever have to repurchase from itunes is music. It conveniently remembers app purchases.. in case you delete one on accident.

    4. I was having this problem… finally plucked up the courage to google about it, this was the first thing that came up! Genius!

    5. Perfect!! Thank you!

    6. Note: You must select “Authorise Computer” in the itunes menu first, then right click “transfer purchases”.

      1. man, i love you so much, this is so must to authorise computer 1st. wow, i am a happy man now. eeehhhaaaa.

      2. Thanks, the “authorizing computer” was the key. Thanks for letting us all know.

      3. Thanks, it wasn’t working until I authorized the computer. Now it works perfect. Thanks!

      4. oh my goodness thank you so much! i was at the end of my teather if it weren’t for you!

      5. thanks for this wouldnt of got it:)

      6. Thanks freeeedy
        I hadnt authorized computer and always got problem, now its ok :)

    7. Awesome tip! Thanks!

    8. Thanks mate – definitely some of the most useful info I’ve found! Saves having to muck around with losing & re-syncing apps! LEGEND!

    9. thanks brother!

    10. I just wanted to give a big THANKS! Thanks for taking the time to post this. It has been over a year since this topic was first posted and it was the most helpful tip when I googled for help.

    11. Oh you ROCK!!! thanks a million!! You have saved me a lot of trouble! I depend on my apps for nearly EVERYTHING!

    12. man do I feel like a complete douche for not noticing this before……if i knew it were that easy……

    13. total lifesaver!!!!

    14. Thanks a lot – you saved me a lot of time!

    15. thanks you very much, but i did this and i saw nothing on iTunes… i wonder does it transfer free apps too or only the ones bought?

    16. Thanks! I guess not even Apple can think of everything in their tutorials and help manuals.

    17. Thank you so much I now feel less stressed, I was really worried, what a life saver!

    18. Thanks for this information!!! Just like everyone else so simple and yet saved about 3-4 hours of pure frustration.

    19. Hi The only prob for me I cannot find an apps button in my i phone i tunes am I missing something?

      1. go onto settings and scroll to the bottom it has an app store tab. set it on there

    20. You are a GENIOUS!!!!!!! Thank you so much for posting this. Wouldn’t this be a nice thing to have on the apple site!!!!!!! Happy new Year

    21. lol – Thanks a lot m8 – still working!

    22. NO this dosen’t work…and I have authorized my computor ~ a million times…please help!!!

    23. Thank you SO SO MUCH!

      Just before I did this, I had already sent a bitchy message to iTunes customer service.

      It’s the second time all my apps disapear from my itunes library.

      I’ll definitely know what to do next time!

    24. This saved my life. Thank you for posting as it doesn’t seem to be addressed anywhere.

    25. Thank you for this fix… I very much appreciate this being available! I had searched the Apple website and found nothing to help — glad you took the time to share your knowledge!

    26. AWESOME post!!! Total lifesaver…..I was ready to throw myself off a tall building…..

    27. This is great, I have tried for a long time to find a website, but nothing was working. What a simple tip!!!!!

      your are a legend

    28. THANK YOU – I was so frustrated. Thank you thank you thank you. I have searched and searched and tried download utilities, etc etc etc – thank you!!!!

    29. Oh My god, Nick, thank you so much for puting this on here. I know this is from 2008, but still, nothing has changed! This was a lifesaver, i was fearing that i would lose my apps!

    30. Free Air Show App Made it possible to put all of my pictures on the pc very easy.

    31. Thanks for the tip. You’re a gem!

    32. Great why does this not work for me….I keep authorising my computor…and transfering purchases…but no it still does not work!!

      Please help…

      1. This might help.. I realized that my iPod Touch was on a different account than my iTunes was.. Make sure that you are authorizing on the same account. This site tells you how to do this:

    33. a HUGE thank you.

    34. I searched the web for this for a couple of hours and now finally I find your blog. This has helped me so much, thank you very much!!!!


    35. I did that, but, I recently lost my hard drive and I can’t get to transfer the apps that I have on my iPhone from before to my Mac with new Hard drive, any suggestions guys, thanks.

    36. thanks for the tip but it did not work, somehow after reformatting my mac I cannot transfer my previous purchases from my iPhone, even though I have de-authorized and reauthorized. Not sure what to do now…. rats!!!

    37. Thank you!! Worked great!

    38. This is awesome…but I must say that Apple needs to make their software more intiutive. Thanks for posting this solution.

    39. Hi, I agree with all the posite replies, have been messing around for 2 days and the solution was so simple.


    41. I searched for ages before finding this answer. Its sooo simple in the end but took me forever to find. Many thanks

    42. The only thing I’m worried about is when i click sync applications will it delete them??

    43. Brilliant! This tip saved me literally hours having to individually re-download apps I had purchased but which had mysteriously disappeared from iTunes!

    44. Dude, so simple, its brilliant! YOUR Brilliant! thank you sooo much.

    45. WOW!! Thank you!! That’s awesome. Couldn’t find this info anywhere but here!! Brilliant! :)

    46. Thanks a lot!!!

      After changing my PC I was worried that have to bye applications once again in order to sync new with old ones.

    47. WOW!!!!! Thank you soooo much. I was very worried cuz i bought a lot of apps and music to just let it go to waste.

    48. I can’t believe how easy this is, and how difficult it is to find out how to do this. Thanks so much for this tip, it’s been a huge help.

    49. What happens when the “Transfer Purchases” doesn’t work? (I recently had to have my hard disk replaced and now iTunes is telling me that I’m not authorized to use my apps on my computer. How do I fix that problem?)


    50. Thanks so much! So simple but it was giving me fits. Sometimes, the most simple things are the hardest…

    51. WOW & LOL, so glad I found this post! Just upgraded to 3gs from 3g and couldn’t figure out how to transfer my apps, thanks a lot for posting this.

      I also found a way to run my business from my new iphone 3gs, if interested just visit my site. I’ll hook u back up and anyone else that is a fellow iphone owner. ;) Ciro

    52. Fab. Can it believe it was so easy.

  2. Weird, I was just encountering this problem and posting on the Apple discussion forums about it. Unfortunately, although others suggested this over there, it doesn’t work for me and others. Some (notably, more recent ones) applications on my iPhone just won’t transfer to iTunes. Also oddly, the “Applications” section in iTunes tells me I have one “1 update available” for my applications, but when I try to view it, it tells me no updates are available, but the “1” refuses to go away.

    I’d be tempted to try to restore my iPhone, but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get back various apps I’ve paid for on my iPhone.

    1. I was also having trouble getting my apps to transfer to iTunes. I did a bit more searching and found that you need to make sure that the computer you are working on is “authorized” first. I disconnected my iPhone, authorized the computer, attached the iPhone again, and then was able to right click on the iPhone and transfer my purchases.

      I am using iTunes and my iPhone is on 3.0. Hope this helps. I also have to agree with lin2log, this is hands down the best phone I have ever had. I usually get bored with new “toys” after about 3 months of use and this is almost a year old and I still feel like a little kid.

    2. Whew, authorizing my computer worked. Man, they need to make this stuff more self-explanatory. Apple software sucks. I lost my apps twice before looking this up to figure it out.

    3. we are on the same boat! and it appears that my iPhone cannot be synced. it says that an “unknown error occured (-53)”

    4. if you’re worried about losing paid apps don’t stress because even though you have to download it again you don’t have to pay again. it’s still annoying but at least you dont have to pay twice!

    5. Scarletmoon – I have gotten a similar error a couple of times. I got it corrected by unsyncing the music on my iphone then resyncing the music.

  3. Wonderful! I was just trying to sync my apps last night to no avail.

    Now if only I could stop my iPod Touch from crashing 5-6 times a day.

    1. try uninstalling any podcasts you have downloaded and then try again

  4. Jenny Kortina Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    @ Sherkaner: Even if you do the restore you will be able to re-download all your apps for free…but that may be a pain if you have a lot like me.

  5. iPhone Tips From the User Guide Thursday, July 24, 2008

    [...] the phone were appearing in iTunes. The Apple Blog seemed to have solved this one with their “Transfer Applications from iPhone to iTunes” [...]

  6. LawSchoolGuy Monday, July 28, 2008

    Thanks for this! Very useful after my hard drive crashed on my MacBook (only a week after getting an iPhone) without unfortunately a Time Machine backup.

  7. Found this when i googled “applications transfer iphone itunes”
    Just wanted to say thanks!

  8. Partners in Grime Friday, August 1, 2008

    Ah, ha. Excellent. Thanks!

  9. thanks so much!
    i was starting to get irritated myself.

  10. I can only second what Sherkaner wrote TO THE T. iTunes merely goes thru the motions (at EVERY sync) but not ONE of the approx. 5 “on-the-phone-only” apps show up on my computer. I also have the “update-button-number” that won’t disappear every so often.

    I’m glad (in a morbid way I guess) that I’m NOT ALONE!! Seems to me, that the whole ecosystem “iPhone” is still VERY MUCH in the making and is only very shaky at best!

    But, nonetheless, my iPhone or rather THEE iPhone is the best damn phone I have ever had or seen, bar none!! I can live with few non-lethal quirks and this still very much fledgling stage. I’m not moronic enough to think things could or will ever be PERFECT. I trust, given maybe another 6 months and a few incremental update’s, Apple will progressively make this into an even more amazing product than it already is…

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