Apple AppStore – Unale to Purchase Error – FIX – For iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

Have you get the “Unable to Purchase” error on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch when you try to update, or purchase apps from the AppStore?   The error looks like this : Although maybe not as bad, as I have 56 Errors!

Unable to Purchase Error

Unable to Purchase Error

The name of the app and the number of “other items” will of course be different from person to person, and over time the number of “other items” will also increase.

You will note however that you will still be able to download no problem, just this error will appear, and then for quite some time the ‘other items’ will appear greyed out as if they are newly downloading or trying to update.  These do not need updated, plugging into your PC / MAC will not solve it, the apps will be up to date but this will still show!

There are a number of fixes, one that worked for me that you should try first is to go to your device, sign out of the AppStore and resign in, then check your info and make sure that your three digit security code is included, this solved the issue for me for about two days, but some people have reported it solves the issue completely for them.

Here is a step by step of the other fix that seems to be the accepted one, currently on the Apple Community Support Pages (you can see the full article here :

What to do :

1. Go to the following website and download a program called iExplorer.  It’s free and no other add-ons, or mucking about is necessary.

Download and install the iExplorer program.

Ensure your iPhone, iPad, or ipod Touch is not plugged in via USB and that iTunes is not running.

2. Run the iExplorer program

3. Plug in your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch via USB.  At this point the program should auto detect the device and give you an explorer like interface showing you all the files and directories on the device.

Main Directories Expanded

Main Directories Expanded

4. In the top left hand window is the ‘Downloads‘ folder.  Click on this folder (not the plus sign as you want to be in the root folder).  At this point you should see a lot of files appear in the right hand window that resembles this:

The Downloads Folder

The Downloads Folder

From this you can see I have renamed my file, which you are about to read about.

Note: If your device is Jailbroken, I have read that the file is located in Root/private/var/mobile/Media/Downloads (Not sure if ‘Root’ is part of the path though, I’m assuming not).

5. You don’t want to delete anything here.  But what you do want to do is scroll to the bottom of the window where you’ll find a file that contains the word sqlitedb and rename it to something else.  Eg.  Mine is calleddownloads.28.sqlitedb which I renamed to downloads.28.sqlitedBOLD.  Note: To rename the file, simply click the filename twice (slowly with approx 1 second between clicks).  Technically you can delete the file instead of rename it but to be safe I recommend to just rename it.

6. Once you’ve renamed the file to something else, simply close iExplorer, and shut down the app store app on your device if it’s running, and then restart it.  The error will be gone and if you open up iExplorer again, you’ll notice the database file has been recreated.

That’s it!  Easy eh!

The database will be automatically rebuilt when you go back into the App Store on your device which is why you see two files in the above image.

The app store will still find future app updates and everything should be working as it should.  I’ve found no issues  by performing these steps but as usual I take no responsibility if things don’t go to plan for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.  I’m pretty confident you’ll have no issues though.

Just a few other points I have noted from reading around this topic,

1.  Firstly it is perfectly safe to delete the sqlitedb file

2.  You will read about a manifest file contained in the Downloads folder, this is from older versions of iOS, it is not present in 5.1 and above.  If you have it, just leave it.  If you don’t don’t worry.

3.  You may notice loads of folders in the download folder, these are cached, and from my research they refer to the number of apps that you can’t update, or have failed in the past.  When apps install they are cached here, and deleted upon successful complete installation.  These numbers in the folders refer to the apps in question and if like me you have loads, once you have applied the fix, it is perfectly safe to delete these.

Thanks to : it is this blog post that ultimately solved my issues, and felt it should be reposted with a few updates I have realised.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if the tutorial helped resolve the problem.


This blog covers three things (mainly - I'll post other interesting things too) - motorcycling, technology and photography. The photography is mainly linked to the other two. So sit back, get a Coke and a smile, read and enjoy! Comments are welcome, so if you want to say something - please, feel free! Check me out on : Twitter : @TomBoyNI Instagram : BMWR1200GSA2010

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