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Transfer Applications from iPhone to iTunes

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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

834 Responses to “Transfer Applications from iPhone to iTunes”

  1. Had to go into iTunes -> Store tab -> Authorize computer, takes 30sec – 1 min to authorize and will confirm with ex.” 2/5 computers were authorized” …then re-synched phone they are now on there. Success.

  2. Finally…

    After unchecking and checking the sync applications in the applications tab of the iphone and right clicking on the iphone to select the transfer purchases with no luck. I finally double clicked one of the application icons in the applications folder of my library which allowed me to authorize my account. I was then able to check the sync all application and transfer purchases without any problems.

    Hope it helps the others that are still having problems and thanks to those who previously posted.

  3. caroline

    i just got an ipod touch 8G i have downloaded apps from the store but have no idea on how to load them on to my ipod. i have tried tons of things like transferring purchases but nothing seems to work! i would really appreciate the help!

  4. jeannette

    i’ve tried “transfer purchases to itunes,” i’m authorized. this is so frustrating. i’ve finally emailed apple about it, but there’s no telling if i’ll hear back.

    anyone know any other tips that haven’t been mentioned here?

  5. Lost itouch fan

    im having problems syncing my applications that ive downloaded from itunes on my pc onto itouch. The problem is that there is no “Application tab” for me to click on to transfer purchases from itouch when its synced to the computer….(theres summary, music, movies, tv shows, podcasts, photos and info.. no Videos and Applications)
    i need help! any would be nice! thanks.

    • I have been looking for this for 2 hours. Where is the “authorize computer” link in the store? My problem is I have 2 itunes accounts. I have used both, but now I want to consolidate to ONE account on my new MAC I just got. I want to sync my phone and all of its apps to my new computer, but many of the apps were purchased under the other itunes account. Anyone have advice? will authorizing my computer do this and how do you get to it?

  6. Johnny Miglino

    When I downloaded the iPhone 2.1 software to my iPhone (and synced for the 1st time), the applications on my phone don’t work. I’m guessing because the applications didn’t transfer/sync to my computer. Now it says “your computer is not authorized to play these applications”.

    How do I authorize my computer?

  7. I have the same problem as others. I have two apps I purchased on iTunes and it won’t let me transfer them to my iTunes. I’m not sure what to do about it — if I should download them iTunes or if I should restore the phone and start over (which seems like a pain). I don’t want to pay for them again.

  8. downloading dummy

    I tried getting apps for my iphone. My comp said I had to download the new 7.7 itunes. I did. It still said I needed to download it. I downloaded it 4 times. Help! Is it me or my computer??

  9. So basically you’re asking us how you can best STEAL software that you haven’t paid for. That’s clever. Since if you HAD bought it, you would merely need to log into iTunes with your account and you could simply reload everything for free.

    And it’s great to see that comment’s here are CENSORED without warning. Hooray… that really speaks highly of this blog.


    Just lame.

    • you can purchase thru the phone direct, so not all of it could be theft, (while possible)
      but they said they paid for them, this doesnt automagically tell itunes to download them to itself.

      that may work if u do a full backup using itunes, then that transfer purchases option, then after such you could restore after a try and not loose anything.

      i did it on my 3g

  10. siddharth

    my problem is when i transfer purchases it says ur computer in not authorized…
    how di i authorize it for free….
    plzzz help i hav got like 30 games from my friends comp now i wanna add other apps from my laptop

  11. ChupatriBra

    My problem was that the computer was not authorized. As a result of that (I assume), iTunes was removing the apps from my iPhone when I synced. It would warn me with a message about copying the apps from the iPhone to the computer, but I would check the Transfer option and it removed them anyway. Each time, I stopped the syncing, but would lose an app anyway. Since I have them on my home mac, I believe I’ll be able to regain them.

    Once I tried to implement the tip, it gave the more valuable warning about the computer not being authorized. I authorized it, transferred the apps to the computer, and now all is well. Thank you very much.

    By the way, Imram and I think alike. I found this when I googled “transfer iphone applications itunes”

  12. lin2log

    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…

  13. LawSchoolGuy

    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.

  14. Sherkaner

    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.

    • 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.

    • 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!