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Recently, whenever I want to buy something from the iOS App Store or update my existing apps, I get the usual password dialog, but after a second that disappears and I see the following alert:

enter image description here

After clicking OK and then entering my password the app installs just fine (and gets billed correctly).

Strangely sometimes the apps mentioned in the Unable to Purchase alert get marked as Waiting... on the homescreen, even though there are no updates for them.

When this happens I am unable to start those apps, until later, when it magically disappears again.

This happens on both an iPhone 4S and an iPad 2, running iOS 5.1.

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Is your iPhone jailbroken and do you use Installous? – Matt Love Mar 16 '12 at 11:33
Nope, all devices are 'legit', one is in Developer mode. – Timm Mar 16 '12 at 13:03
up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to a previous discussion on the Apple Discussion boards, you should sign out and sign in again in your Store settings.

And if that doesn't work, their is always another fix, which involves downloading a 3th party software. No jailbreak required!

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Going to Settings -> Store and logging out and in again fixed the issue on the iPad 2. So I think this will work on all devices, testing on the new iPad next, but consider this closed. Thanks! – Timm Mar 16 '12 at 13:04
Just a late follow-up: I tried the sign out and in again twice on my 4S, and it doesn't work there. Strangely it fixes the issue on the iPads. Anyway, here's hope for a bugfix update in the future.. – Timm Apr 7 '12 at 11:04

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