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How to fix Apple iPhone XS Max apps that won’t update, unable to download and install app updates [Troubleshooting Guide]

Problems on updating and downloading apps on an iPhone can occur due to various reasons including network problems/congestion, Apple server downtimes, invalid Apple IDs, iPhone restrictions, and insufficient storage, to name some.

This post will help you troubleshoot a similar problem with the iPhone XS Max apps that won’t update. You can try the given solutions to rule out any of the aforementioned factors from the underlying causes, determine what’s preventing your device from updating apps and apply the best possible solution available.

Now, before anything else, if you have other issues with your phone, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already provided solutions to hundreds of problems reported by our readers. Odds are that we may have already provided a solution to the problem you currently have so try to find issues that are similar with yours on that page and feel free to use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS Max that won’t update its applications

Before troubleshooting, check the available storage space of your device. To make sure storage isn’t at fault, view the current memory status of your iPhone XS Max by going to Settings-> General-> About menu. Then scroll down to the Available section. It should indicate the available storage on your phone. If necessary, free up some space by deleting old and unwanted contents from your device. Memory isn’t likely an issue though since what you have is a new iPhone that’s packed with high-storage capacity. But then again, it’s always better to be certain. Then try applying each of these subsequent solutions to rule out other factors.

First solution: Check and ensure you’re using the correct Apple ID.

Invalid Apple IDs could be the main cause of the problem. For example, the Apple ID used to download the errant apps may be different from the current Apple ID set up on your device. To check what Apple ID was used to get the app on your iPhone XS Max, follow these steps:

  1. Tap to open the App Store app.
  2. Scroll down then tap Updates.
  3. Tap on your profile photo on the upper-right corner.
  4. Then tap Purchased.

Check and see if the app in the list. If it isn’t, then you might have downloaded the app using a different Apple ID. In that case, uninstall the app then reinstall it using your current Apple ID.

Second solution: Disable Restrictions on your iPhone XS Max.

Your iPhone has a Restrictions feature that is mainly used to control access to certain apps. With this feature enabled, you can disable certain features of your iPhone including app downloads. To make sure this isn’t blocking your phone system from downloading app updates, follow these steps to disable app restrictions on your iPhone XS Max:

  1. From the Phone screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Restrictions.
  4. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  5. Navigate to the Installing Apps menu option then see if the slider is set to OFF (white). If it’s turned off, toggle the slider to the ON position (green). Doing so enables app updating feature on the phone.

After applying these settings changes, head back to the App Store then reattempt to download and install app updates. If you’re still unable to download and install app updates on your iPhone XS Max, try ruling out account-related issues next.

Third solution: Sign out from the App Store then sign in again.

Invalid, expired, or corrupted logins can also trigger occurrence of these errors. And a simple solution you can try on when dealing with account-related app downloading problems is to sign out and back in to the App Store. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Scroll to and tap iTunes & App Store.
  3. Tap the Apple ID: [your email address set for your Apple ID].
  4. Select the option to Sign Out from the pop menu.
  5. Then go back to Settings-> iTunes & App Store menu.
  6. Tap Apple ID: again and select the option to Sign in with the correct Apple ID.

After successfully signing into your App Store account, clear all background apps then launch the App Store again to retry downloading and installing app updates.  

Fourth solution: Make sure that the date and time settings are correct.

This information can also influence whether your device can update apps or not. What usually happens is that when the Apple server detects that the date and time on the device isn’t correct, updating apps wouldn’t be permitted. To rule this out, verify and ensure that your date and time are set automatically.  

  • To do this, head over to Settings-> General-> Date & Time menu, then enable the option to Set Automatically.

After modifying the date and time settings, reboot your iPhone XS Max or perform a soft reset with these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears.
  3. Drag the power off slider to the right.
  4. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone boots up.

Allow your device to boot up completely the head back to the App Store to retry updating your apps.

Fifth solution: Update phone software to the latest version.

Installing the latest iOS version available can also help get rid of system errors that might have barred the phone from connecting to Apple’s App Store server, thus causing app downloads and updates to fail. If your Wi-Fi internet connection is fine and your phone has ample of battery life, then try to check for new OTA updates available. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Software Update.

If an update is available, a notification will show up containing the update details and system requirements. Before you proceed, back up all important files you saved on the phone memory to iCloud or iTunes for safekeeping. Then follow the onscreen commands to Download and Install new update on your iPhone XS Max.

After successfully updating iOS to the latest version, reboot your iPhone to apply the recent system changes. Then try updating apps through the App Store again and see if it’s already working.

If you still cannot update apps on your iPhone XS Max and you wanted to continue troubleshooting, then you may consider opting for full system resets or iOS restore as your last resorts.

Among the options you can try next would be a factory reset/master reset, standard iTunes restore, recovery mode restore, and DFU mode restore. Any of these methods are usually used to deal with more complex system errors causing persistent symptoms to occur on an iPhone. After performing any of these methods, you can start downloading and installing the latest version of your preferred applications.

Seek more help

Call your carrier to report the issue and ask any further suggestions. Otherwise, escalate the problem to Apple Support so they can double check the current Apple server status on their end. If the server is currently down or the network is congested, then you won’t be able to download and install app updates until your request is queued next.

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If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XS Max smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XS Max. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

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