How to Fix the Cannot Connect to App Store Issue on iOS 11

With over two millions apps available for download, it's no surprise that the App Store is crucial for a complete experience on the iPad and iPhone. And, iOS 11 has it revamped just enough to be super cool. C’mon, those autoplay videos are awesome, right?

But, the last thing you want is for the App Store to malfunction, and that’s what happens at the worst of times. Really, there’s nothing like a stupid ‘Cannot Connect to App Store’ error to ruin your day.

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Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be permanent. The ‘Cannot Connect to the App Store’ error can happen for the most trivial of reasons, and working your way through a number of troubleshooting tips should let you access the App Store in no time. 

Admittedly, some of these fixes are a drag to perform, but just think of that shiny new app that you wanted so bad and you should be good to go!

Force-Quit App From Memory

All apps are susceptible to various glitches and technical issues, and the App Store is no stranger. That means hammering on Retry — displayed beneath the ‘Cannot Connect to the App Store’ error — doesn’t yield a different result no matter what.

So, let’s consider removing the App Store from memory so that it can start afresh.

Double-tap the Home button to get to the app switcher. On iPhone X, however, you need to swipe upwards and pause for a fraction of a second with your finger held for the app switcher to show up.

Select the App Store card, and then tap and swipe it upwards to force-quit the app.

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Tap the App Store icon on the Home screen. Hopefully, it should connect to the Apple servers immediately. If you still get the error, move on.

Restart Device

Since force-quitting the App Store didn’t resolve things, restarting your device is next in line. In fact, a complete restart works wonders for numerous iOS 11-related issues, especially since doing so, it resets system memory and rectifies lingering technical problems.

Simply hold down the Power button on your iPhone or iPad, and then slide across when prompted to turn the device off. The iPhone X provides a slight challenge, where you must press and release the Volume Up, Volume Down, and Power buttons in quick succession to get to the shutdown prompt.

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After turning off the device, just hold down the Power button again to turn it back on. The App Store should start working as normal. If not, let’s look at some other fixes.

Check Wi-Fi Connectivity

The App Store should launch — albeit slowly — even on a moderate Wi-Fi connection, but if the connection is too weak, try to establish a good signal. Consider moving closer to the source, or switch to another Wi-Fi hotspot. Make sure to have a full Wi-Fi connection meter before re-launching the App Store.

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Alternately, you can also try disconnecting and reconnecting to Wi-Fi. Even better, consider performing a complete reboot of your Wi-Fi modem or router. This usually fixes connection hang-ups for good.

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After you've done that, see if the App Store connects successfully. If not, the next fix is right below.

Enable Cellular Data

If you are on cellular data instead of Wi-Fi, iOS 11 imposes a cap on large downloads on the App Store. But, that really shouldn’t prevent you from connecting to it in the first place. If you are receiving the error even with excellent cellular connectivity, then it might be due to a restriction that completely prevents the App Store from consuming cellular data.

If this is the case, you should actually get a notification prompting you to connect to cellular data or use Wi-Fi when attempting to connect to the App Store, but it’s always a good idea to double-check nonetheless.

On the iOS 11 Settings screen, tap Cellular Data. You should now see a list of apps with switches next to each of them. Check the switch next to App Store. Is it disabled? If so, simply tap on it to turn it on.

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That was easy, wasn’t it? Return to the App Store and tap Retry. Did it connect? If not, let’s continue.

Update iOS

Yeah, it’s a drag having to keep up with the latest updates, but if you repeatedly skipped a couple of them, that alone is sufficient reason for the App Store to not connect properly. If that’s the case, consider updating to the latest version of iOS 11 ASAP.

Note: You need a Wi-Fi connection to perform iOS updates.

Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap General, and then tap Software Update.

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Step 2: If there are pending updates, tap Download and Install —  or Install if the update’s already downloaded.

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After the update, try opening the App Store. The issue should most probably be resolved by now. Otherwise, let’s see what you can do next.

Sign In and Out of App Store

The App Store can also fail to connect due to an issue with your Apple ID. This can happen, for example, if you updated your password recently, or it can bug out for practically no reason at all. Usually, signing out and then back into the App Store fixes the issue.

But, how can you do this when you can’t connect to the App Store in the first place? Well, you are going to find out!

Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap iTunes & App Store, and then tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.

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Step 2: Tap Sign Out on the pop-up box to sign out of iTunes.

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Step 3: Tap Sign In and then fill in your Apple ID credentials to sign back in.

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Now, force-quit the App Store from memory, and then relaunch it.

Did it connect successfully? It most probably should’ve. If not, move on to the next fix.

Sync Date with Time Zone

The time on your iPhone or iPad being out of sync with your time zone is another surefire reason to not connect successfully to the App Store servers. If that's the case, then getting it corrected shouldn’t take too long.

Step 1: Tap General on the Settings screen, and then tap Date & Time.

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Step 2: Tap Time Zone, select the correct time zone, and then make sure that the switch next to Set Automatically is enabled.

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If your device doesn’t display the correct time, disable Set Automatically and try setting it manually.

Afterward, visit the App Store. It should connect successfully now.

Reset Network Settings

If none of the above fixes worked, then everything boils down to an issue with corrupt or outdated network settings. Rather than resetting the entire device, you can simply reset your network settings to rectify such issues.

Note: Resetting network settings cause Wi-Fi and other connectivity settings to completely revert to their defaults. Therefore, you need to manually reconnect to an available hotspot afterward. Cellular settings are also reset, but, should be updated automatically without any input on your part.

Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap General, and then tap Reset.

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Step 2: Tap Reset Network Settings.

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Step 3: Tap Reset on the confirmation pop-up.

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Step 4: Visit the Settings screen, and then tap Wi-Fi to search and reconnect to an available hotspot.

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That’s it! Go back to the App Store and you should be connected.

You Must Feel Awesome Now

Hopefully, you connected to the App Store and now feel like a kid in a candy store! However, you may get the same error, later on, so make sure to run through these fixes again if that happens.

Really, Apple should resolve this issue for good, or at least show appropriate error messages that give us a clue as to what the problem really is! Stop wasting our time, please!

Do let us know how it went, and feel free to share what worked for you. The comments section is right below.

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Dilum Senevirathne has written about tech and finance for over five years. When he isn’t messing around with the latest iOS apps, you can catch him tweaking a collection of IoT gadgets. Dilum is a management accounting student and a prospective charterholder.