After upgrading to iOS 9, I can't transfer purchases from my iPhone to iTunes. It happens to just start the process, then it finishes without transferring anything. However, I can still transfer purchases from my iPad with iOS 8.4 like before.

  • iPhone 5c, iOS 9
  • iTunes 12.3
  • MacBook Pro 13" with Retina Display Mid 2014, OS X El Capitan

Apparently, not many people happen to use this "transfer purchases" feature so it didn't get any real attention. I used it a lot, I used to update my apps on my iPhone, transfer them to iTunes and updated my iPad apps using iTunes. Still, I can update my apps using iTunes and update apps on all my devices.

  • I update my iPhone Apps and then use to update rest of the families iPhone apps Now we need to update all separately if not using update in iTunes ??
    – user147890
    Sep 21, 2015 at 19:21
  • I'm afraid yes. By the way, since this is not an answer, it will be deleted soon by moderators.
    – Behdad
    Sep 21, 2015 at 19:35
  • If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context.
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 21, 2015 at 20:08
  • 1
    Thanks for this question. I faced the same problem recently, and I was wondering what is wrong with iTunes. Apple should have made this much clearer.
    – iridescent
    Sep 26, 2015 at 1:39
  • Could you add the version of iTunes and iOS? Presumably the fixes in Xcode 7.0.1 and related updates will correct this going forward?
    – bmike
    Sep 29, 2015 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


Actually, this is not a problem. Transferring purchases from devices with iOS 9 has been disabled by Apple. This is the response they gave to submitted bug reports regarding this issue:

Apple Developer Relations 18-Sep-2015 02:51 PM

This issue behaves as intended based on the following: Apps are no longer transferred from iOS 9 devices. We are now closing this bug report. If you have questions about the resolution, or if this is still a critical issue for you, then please update your bug report with that information.

As NetherLinks explained in the comments, it's because of the App Thinning feature Apple introduced in iOS 9. Basically, a different version of each app is downloaded on each device. So, apps downloaded on an iPhone cannot be used on an iPad. See image below taken from App Thinning page in iOS Developer Library.

App Thinning

  • You can still update the apps directly in iTunes (and sync them to your iDevices)
    – nohillside
    Sep 20, 2015 at 7:01
  • @patrix Of course. The reason I update my apps using my iPhone is that if I update all my apps using iTunes, the App Store's badge (which indicates how many updates are available) doesn't disappear and it's annoying.
    – Behdad
    Sep 20, 2015 at 12:02
  • 4
    Is it possible that this may also be related to App Thinning in that the app transferred from your phone wouldn't work on other device types anyways? Sep 21, 2015 at 5:42
  • @NetherLinks That's a really nice guess. Sounds completely logical. This image from Developer Library conveys the same thing.
    – Behdad
    Sep 21, 2015 at 5:49
  • 1
    So how do I preserve purchased apps that might not be available for redownload later?
    – Andreas
    Sep 15, 2017 at 1:45

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