When I want to download an app (clicking on the cloud with arrow icon) or when I want to update an app (like XCode), the app gets the "square in circle" icon and stays like this forever.

  • clicking on the square does not stop/cancel the process
  • signing out and back in the App Store or restarting the MacBook (Big Sur) did not help (i.e. the same behaviour when signing back in or after restart.
  • there is Internet (since I see and choose App Store content)

Is there a command line (in the terminal) to force cancel a started download / update? Is there a place (log file or already installed logging app) to see the errors why App Store is stuck?

  • 1
    Can you boot in Safe mode and retry updates?
    – user415185
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 12:32
  • This worked for the new app download/installation. After this successful installation I restarted again the MacBook in normal mode and further installs we possible. Thanks! You can post your answer as the Answer to this this question as it fixes the issues). Commented May 14, 2021 at 12:54
  • I've post the answer. ;-)
    – user415185
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


A common solution is retry the operation in Safe mode.


Xcode is a massive, massive app so using it for an example is less ideal. It also does long processes during the install process which can make it seem like things are hanging when they are not. It however is excellent for examining a solid troubleshooting scenario.

  • Power down your Mac and then restart.
  • Watch for apps that hang or a slow power down.
  • Watch for startup being fast or slow.
  • Choose one small app to install or download.
  • Then repeat with the problem app.
  • Open the console app and look at the install.log to see if perhaps things are being done in the background and your install isn’t paused or hung.

Safe mode is very rarely the fix for this, but if needed, you can try that once. Safe mode slows down quite a few things as it throws away computed results and cached results. So consider using safe boot for a long lunch or after your productive day is over to let things run and rebuild when the machine is idle.

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