How can I buy an iOS app from the App Store and have it downloaded to my iOS device, perhaps telling it?

Anytime I attempt to go to the App Store website, it keeps trying to push me towards iTunes, which I don't have installed on all my computers (e.g. my work computer). I'd like to fire up a browser on my work or other machines, log into the App Store from the desktop browser, purchase and push the app directly to one of my AppleID linked devices, it's gotta be possible in this day of cloud and mobile computing. (like Android or Windows Phone 8/10).

What am I missing here? Is there a different link? Different setting?

  • What machine are you using to browse the AppStore website?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 23:49
  • Added info to question. If it's a browser it could be any machine but right now it's a Windows 8.1 Macbook Pro. Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 23:53

4 Answers 4


It is not possible to install apps on your iOS devices by invoking the download using a Desktop browser.

Till recently (iTunes 12.6.3) it was possible to purchase an app on iTunes running on a Mac/Windows PC and have it automatically downloaded on linked iOS devices (The iOS device should have the setting enabled to auto-download newly purchased apps). With iTunes 12.7, the iOS App Store has been removed from iTunes for Desktop.

Thus, currently there is no way to push an app on an iOS device.

However, you can have a newly purchased (free/paid) app automatically downloaded on all your linked iOS devices, by going to Settings app → iTunes & App Stores and toggling for Apps under Automatic Downloads.


You can't do it from a browser. iTunes is the only way to actually purchase something. However, you can use Settings > iTunes and App Store on your iDevices to configure them to automatically download any new media that gets attributed to your Apple ID, such that you'll automatically get any new apps that your Apple ID buys on any device.

  • Are you sure? I find it unbelievable for 2015/iOS 8 ... Any data supporting that assertion? Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 0:01
  • @DeepSpace101 I'd love to be proven wrong. If there's a web-based way to make iTunes purchases, that'd be awesome. However, knowing security-minded Apple, I wouldn't be surprised if their reasoning for doing this was because they have total control over iTunes, whereas you never know what bugs could be lurking in browser extensions and whatnot.
    – user24601
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 0:06
  • They allow me to buy a $3000 Macbook Pro from within my browser, so surely buying a $1 or $5 app should be acceptable from a security perspective. I love my Apple products but this is such a let down from an app-economy perspective ... too much friction. Oh well. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 0:10

If you set up automatic download of purchased apps on iOS, then when you buy / get an app from iTunes, apple sends a push notification to your iOS devices to download their copy of the app.

Alternatively, you could sign up for a hosted MDM like bushel and use your browser to push apps to your device.


To go to the iOS AppStore from a Windows on OS X machine you need iTunes as that is the only app that knows about IOS things.

However if you browse on the iOS device you go direct to the AppStore and don't need iTunes

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