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Question: iTunes won't transfer purchases from iPhone/iPad.

I own both an iphone 5 And an iPad Air 2, both running the latest iOS 9.02. I have a very limited amount of data that I can use so normally I'll transfer all my apps that need updated and take the phone to a wifi hotspot, update them, then transfer them back to my computer. This all changed with the update to iOS 9. My iTunes no longer will transfer purchased apps. anyone have any suggestions?

iPhone 5, iOS 9.0.2

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Oct 4, 2015 1:32 PM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

There have been a number of similar posts, I don't think that with iOS 9 apps will now copy back (possibly due to a new feature of how apps are, or will be, downloaded, called app thinning. You will need to redownload them on your computer's iTunes

Oct 4, 2015 1:32 PM

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Oct 4, 2015 1:47 PM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

This feature actually is awesome as it saves you tons of space on your devices and makes downloads/updates much faster by installing only the graphics and other resources actually needed on that specific device.


To keep "universal" apps on your computer, set it to download all purchases made on other devices.

Oct 4, 2015 1:47 PM

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Oct 10, 2015 5:51 PM in response to cackleberry In response to cackleberry

iTunes > Store > Check for Available Downloads.


She can also get the updates directly on her phone. If available, the App Store icon will display a badge with the number of updates. If she's concerned about data usage, she can turn OFF Use Cellular Data in Settings > iTunes & App Stores.

Oct 10, 2015 5:51 PM

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Oct 11, 2015 5:43 PM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

Ok, so just so that everybody understands this, I am very aware of how iTunes & iPhones work. I have used iPhones for many, many years. I have updated apps through my iPhone and transferred them back to my PC with no problem. I do this because I have VERY limited internet at home (10 Gb/month). I do not have the luxury of updated them from my PC unless I take my laptop to a Wi-Fi hotspot and update them there. Something on either the ITunes program or the iPhone has changed with the recent updates and I am trying to figure out what changed.

Oct 11, 2015 5:43 PM

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Oct 12, 2015 12:03 AM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

It's a new developer feature with iOS 9 that is/will be available :


The store and operating system optimize the installation of iOS, tvOS, and watchOS apps by tailoring app delivery to the capabilities of the user’s particular device, with minimal footprint. This optimization, called app thinning, lets you create apps that use the most device features, occupy minimum disk space, and accommodate future updates that can be applied by Apple. Faster downloads and more space for other apps and content provides a better user experience.


So what will be downloaded onto a device will only be what is required for that app on that device - so what is on a device may not be 'complete' app, and that is why (presumably) apps will no longer copy back from a device.

Oct 12, 2015 12:03 AM

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Oct 14, 2015 12:30 AM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

I hear you!


I have used both iTunes and iPhone for many years. I too have noticed that behavior changing. I am like you: I update on the phone and then sync it back to the computer. This, also, changed for me as of iOS 9.

From what (not exhaustive) research I've done, the 'App Thinning' feature seems to be the consensus for the behavior change. And from what I have read it would seem the whole app is now kept on any computer and any device has just the parts it needs to run. Which would give us, at least, some reason why syncs no longer work from iDevice to computer like it use to.


Sadly, I can't offer any help to fix it as it seems to be "a feature, not a bug."

Oct 14, 2015 12:30 AM

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Oct 21, 2015 7:46 PM in response to King_Penguin In response to King_Penguin

Apple blew it on this one. I want to download apps from App Store to my 6+. Then I want to move them to my iMac. That way I have an exact copy of what is on my 6+. Downloading to my iMac requires me to sort through a lengthy list of garbage apps I do not want to get only the ones I do want.

Oct 21, 2015 7:46 PM

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Oct 22, 2015 12:30 AM in response to DesertRatR In response to DesertRatR

Your phone may not have the complete app on it, the version might only work on a 6+ - if you have other iOS devices it might not work on them.


Any updates that are available for the apps that you have in your Mac's iTunes library should show in the Updates tab for downloading.

Oct 22, 2015 12:30 AM

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Oct 26, 2015 11:48 AM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

Same problem here with a new iMac; talked to Apple Care and they said the feature hasn't been removed with iOS 9 and the latest iTunes has a specific menu option under File > Devices > > Transfer Purchases but apparently there's a bug. In any case, you can work around it if you have your old library on a different machine. Copy all the apps from the old machine /Users/yournusername/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications to the same directory in the new machine. After that, do a select all and open with iTunes.

Oct 26, 2015 11:48 AM

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Dec 25, 2015 12:10 AM in response to managermatt In response to managermatt

I have a MacBook, iPad, iPad Mini and an iPhone... all current OS versions.


Can I download the App updates once and distribute to all my mobile devices? I have a data-bundle cap, so I am looking for the most efficient method.


iTunes > File > Devices > Transfer Purchases... doesn't seem to do anything. I made this point, as after running the TP function I still have an Amazon App ver 5.4.0 on my iPhone and ver 5.2.0 on my MacBook.


If I follow the discussion correctly, I should download the App updates on my MacBook > iTunes first and then synch/replicate to my mobile devices. Right?

Dec 25, 2015 12:10 AM

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Question: iTunes won't transfer purchases from iPhone/iPad.