Transfer Applications from iPhone to iTunes


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



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.


Every now & again you get a clear and precise answer to a question googled. This was exactly one of those of-so-few occasions.

Many thanks!



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.


THANKYOU SO MUCH! I had NO idea where to find that, and now you’ve solved my problem! Very very happy! :)


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!


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?

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.


this is the same problem i’m having. there’s no application tab in the device section.



Try going to the app store in iTunes and downloading a free app. Maybe that will cause the tab to appear.


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?

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?


Omg, thank you very much. I would be so pissed if my ipod was to crash or reboot without my bought apps. Thank you thank you.


Thank you so much! I just got a new iTouch and MacBook and I was getting so frustrated that I had to keep syncing the iTouch to my husband’s PC. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

S. Kwan D'ohlas

Thank you for this. I wasn’t sure how to transfer management of my iPod Touch apps to iTunes on our new iMac. This thread came up first on Google. Problem solved.

Bill B.

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.

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??

No Longer Frustrated

Thanks so much…it worked after trying all night long!!!


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


What if i downloaded the apps straight from my iPhone. How would they end up in my iTunes library? Magic? Dumb ass.


Actually I had an iPod touch and recently bought an iPhone. So I wanted to transfer apps I already paid for


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


My problem is there is no Applications tab on my itunes :( I’m still using 1.1.4 version of iPhone…

Can someone help me plz…


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”

THX for the advice on authorizing the computer first… I even removed iTunes and reinstalled it to no avail until I found this blog.


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…


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


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.

Jenny Kortina

@ 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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


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.


Marvellous !

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

Thanks for this tip !



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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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?


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


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


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

Bill West

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

apple freak

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


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

Jayne Murphy

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


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!


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


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!


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


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


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!!!!


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!


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


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…


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!!!!



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.


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!!!


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


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



Bruce Johnstone

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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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?)



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

Ciro Gamino

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

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