How to Delete iPhone Apps Stuck on Installing Updates

| TMO Quick Tip

Updating apps on our iPhones and iPads should be an easy and simple process, and it usually is. When an app gets stuck part way through installing, however, it's frustrating because you're trapped in an endless loop and trying to reinstall typically doesn't help, plus doing the tap-and-hold trick to delete the app doesn't work, either. There is a fix, although it certainly isn't obvious.

Stuck installing app... so frustrating, but there is a fixStuck installing app... so frustrating, but there is a fix

The trick to getting out of the perpetual stuck-on-install loop with iPhone and iPad apps is to delete the problem app. Since using tap-and-hold to show the app delete button doesn't work, you have to go about it in a different way. Here's what to do:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap General
  • Tap Storage & iCloud
  • Under the Storage section, tap Manage Storage
  • Scroll through the app list and tap on the app you want to delete
  • Now tap the Delete App button

The Storage settings in iOS let you do more than see how much space an app usesThe Storage settings in iOS let you do more than see how much space an app uses

Now you can reinstall the formerly stuck app, or in my case just forget it and move on with life. The Coin app was stuck installing on my iPhone for a couple weeks before I got annoyed enough to go hunting for a solution. Since I can't find the little reader attachment that verifies new credit cards when I add them to my Coin, I really don't need the app any more.

Tapping an app in the Storage settings list reveals its Delete optionTapping an app in the Storage settings list reveals its Delete option

The cool thing is that deleting apps from the Manage Storage settings is like a decree from on high. It doesn't matter what state the app is currently in; the system deletes it, along with all of it's data, and moves on without a moment's hesitation. Think of it like your own uber-delete option.

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Thank you. That’s a great tip for deleting stuck apps.

However, I assume that many people will want to /keep/ the apps installed that they /have/ installed, even when these apps are stuck in some updating process. (That irritation arose with iOS 8.0, I think, and has vastly diminished but not completely disappeared with iOS 9.2.1.)
As my experience suggests that the amount of RAM available matters here (even my iPhone 6 suffers slightly, my iPad Air 2 hardly), I’m particularly grateful for that tip (by whoever) of long-pressing the power button, then canceling the power-off, as a way to make the most RAM available. But sometimes I’ll have to resort to restarting the device (long-pressing both power and home button until the screen dies). Then the app affected may have installed or uninstalled.

Rob Bowers

Alternate way, does not require removing the apps: Press and hold the Power On\Off button on the upper right side of your iDevice. When the “Slide to Power Off” appears, either: press and hold the Home Button until the screen resets, or reboot if you are not in a hurry.

What this appears to do is clear memory for all running apps, it relaunches the Springboard.

This is also useful when WiFi connection is stalled, or just about anything that hangs unexpectedly.


I have had this issue on and off for over a year.
I don’t automatically update apps so I go to the app store to update them. I then select update all.
Some apps don’t update or stall in the middle.
I just press the stop button and it goes back to showing update button.
I monitor the update list and stop any that hang until all apps are stopped or updated.
Then I touch update all again and do the same process.
Eventually, I get through all the apps.
If too many are stuck, it seems to block the rest until you stop some.
I don’t like to delete because you may lose the data associated with that app.
I just checked and I have 66 apps to update.
I was able to successfully update all without any getting stuck.
That wasn’t the case 2 weeks ago.
I did improve my wifi at home this weekend that may have helped the update issues.



Gmail and Google stuck on Downloading. This trick worked like a charm, allowing me delete them. But now, these apps are stuck on Downloading in iTunes and I _still_ don’t have them on my iPhone.

Ain’t that a bitch?

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