How to Fix the iTunes Store Is Unable to Process Purchases at This Time Error

Elsie Otachi

It’s official. iTunes is no longer available on iOS or iPadOS devices. However, the ghosts of its past seem to linger over some iOS devices as a sizable number of users with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices are experiencing a strange 'Unable to Process Purchases at this Time' error with some apps.

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Featured

The random message appears when opening apps on your iOS device, or it just pops up unexpectedly. There's no need to panic. You can easily fix that error using some userful solutions ranging from easy to difficult ones.

Note: iTunes is still available on Windows OS.

Why Does the iTunes Store Error Appear?

Before Apple killed iTunes for Mac and iOS devices, it was the sole window for getting entertainment content. You could download, play and manage video as well as audio files, and access iTunes Store to purchase more music, videos, and apps. It was practically one of the most used applications Apple made.

Apple deconstructed iTunes into three apps: Apple Music, Apple TV and Podcasts. Each has its dedicated tasks compared to the slow process of waiting for iTunes to do everything in one program.

Apple still has to improve all three of them a lot. For example, Apple's Podcasts app takes time to connect to Apple's servers. However, it's one of the macOS Catalina features and a big accomplishment too.

When you try to buy an app or open one that you’ve already bought, the 'iTunes Store is unable to process purchases at this time' error may appear, though it doesn’t happen for everyone.

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Error

Most users who have reported seeing the error in 2019 mention that it appears on iOS13, iOS 12, and 11 too. Those errors cropped mostly after iTunes was discontinued.

From user reports, the commonly affected devices are iPhones and iPads. There are some rare cases where Apple Watch users have reported seeing it randomly throughout the day on their wearables.

The error tends to pop up several times, but Apple hasn’t commented why the particular error appears, so we can't tell whether it's a bug in the operating system, or a few glitches, but it’s an annoying problem nonetheless.

While it isn’t clear as to how many users are affected by this error, quick research online reveals several complaints on Apple Support, Twitter, Reddit, and other forums on the subject.

Strangely though, Apple’s Support system status page shows all services with an ‘Available’ label.

If you’ve been affected by the iTunes Store error, try some of the fixes below to make it go away.

Restart your device

A device restart helps deal with any software glitches that could cause errors such as the one you see with the iTunes Store. You can restart your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and see if the error goes away once the device loads up again.

Use Touch ID to authorize app downloads

A user shared this solution after he kept receiving the “iTunes Store is unable to process purchases at this time” error several times.

Step 1: Authorize the download using Touch ID by changing the settings for this. You can change it by opening Settings>Touch ID & Passcode and then toggle the iTunes and App Store slider.

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Touch Id Settings

Step 2: Find any free app you like on the app store and download it.

Whenever you try to download or buy an app, it'll request your Touch ID authentication.

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Touch Id App

Check if the iTunes Store error goes away after doing this. You can try downloading a different app or opening the one you’ve already downloaded to confirm.

Update to the latest iOS version

Depending on the iOS version you’re currently using, you can update it to a newer or latest version, and see if it helps. Some users fixed the issue with this solution so it could work for you too.

Step 1: Make a backup of your device using iCloud or your computer.

Step 2: Plug your iOS device to a power source and connect to the internet. Tap Settings>General

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Update Settings General

Step 3: Tap Software Update.

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Update Settings General Software Update

Step 4: Tap Download and Install. If you want to update right now, tap Install. You can also let the update run while you're asleep or if you're busy with something else and won't be using your device. In this case, tap Later and select Install Tonight or Remind Me Later, and it will install automatically overnight.

Itunes Store Unable Process Purchases Update Download Install

Enter your passcode if prompted to.

Note: For iPadOS and iOS 12 or later, your device can update automatically, but you'll have to change this by going to Settings>General>Software Update and tap Automatic Updates. However, you may have to install some updates manually.

You can also update your iPhone or iPad from your computer. For Apple Watch, you can update to the latest watchOS version once you update your iPhone to iOS 13.

Goodbye iTunes, My Old Friend

With iTunes gone from Apple devices, we hope the 'iTunes Store is unable to process purchases at this time' will be gone for good. However, if you happen to see it on any of your other iOS devices or that of a friend, you now know what to do to make it go away for good.

Next up: Windows users will want to know the ins and outs of fixing common iTunes errors now that it's the only OS currently running the program. If you get the 'You are not signed into Apple Music' error, read the next post to find out what it means and the best ways to resolve it.

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How to Fix the iTunes You Are Not Signed into Apple Music Error on Windows
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Elsie Otachi

Written By

Elsie Otachi

Elsie is a technology writer whose goal is to help people out with useful solutions to their daily tech issues in a simple, straightforward and unbiased style. When she's not writing or dabbling with gadgets and apps, Elsie loves to binge on her favorite series on Netflix, listen to music, or read a good book.