How to fix an Apple Watch 4 that can’t download apps

Can’t download or install new apps on your Apple Watch 4? If that’s so, then there must be something wrong on the Apple Watch or its paired iPhone that must be rectified. Read on and get some help.

Apps are among the most vital components of a smart device including Apple watches. Although each of these devices offer several built-in applications, they’re not enough to meet all needs of every end-user. Thus a portal of apps is created for users to download apps that they like and install them on their respective devices. Android devices have Play Store while iOS devices have the App Store, wherein users can scour and pick the apps they wanted. The main requisites to download and install apps from the App Store is a stable Internet connection on the receiving device. Sufficient memory space to allocate new app downloads is also necessary, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to download content. In case you’ll bump into some issue in which your Apple Watch 4 can’t download or install apps, I’ve mapped out some handy tweaks that you can try performing whenever you wish to resolve the problem on your end. 

Before moving on, if you have issues with your smartwatch and are trying to find a solution for it, visit our Apple Watch 4 troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this device. Find issues that are similar to yours and feel free to use our solutions. If you need more help, fill up our questionnaire so we can help you.

Troubleshooting Apple Watch 4 that can’t download apps

As mentioned earlier, Internet connection and sufficient memory are among the key requisites to downloading new apps from the App Store. Thus, these two factors must be among the first that you should look into before ruling other software-related culprits. In watchOS 5 and earlier, most apps on the Watch 4 are downloaded from the App Store through its paired iPhone. Thus, verify and ensure that your iPhone has no trouble connecting to the Internet and has ample of storage space to save new apps and downloaded contents. If there’s no problem with the Internet and memory of your phone but you still can’t download or install new apps on your Apple Watch 4, then this is when you should eliminate software-related factors. Also ensure that the app you’re trying to download to your Apple Watch 4 is supported or compatible. So far, not all apps have specific versions for Apple Watch 4, so it’s possible that the app you’re trying to download is not yet supported or available on your watch. If the problem occurs to all apps, then that’s apparently a problem to fix. Don’t forget to retry downloading apps after performing each solution to find out if the problem is fixed.

First solution: Toggle Wi-Fi off and on again.

Your iPhone and Apple Watch both have toggles to turn Wi-Fi feature off and on. You can utilize these toggles to eliminate minor software issues that inflict random problems to wireless services including the App Store. Thus toggling Wi-Fi off and on can be considered among the first possible solutions. And you have to do these on both your Apple Watch 4 and its paired iPhone. 

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu then tap the switch to turn Wi-Fi off. After a few seconds, tap the switch again to turn Wi-Fi back on.
  • On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app, tap Wi-Fi then turn off the Wi-Fi switch to turn it off. After a few seconds, tap to turn the Wi-Fi switch on again.

Once your iPhone reconnects, retry downloading the app and see if it goes through this time. If your Apple Watch 4 still can’t download or install the app, try the next application solution.

Second solution: Toggle Airplane mode on and off.

An old trick that has proven to do wonders when it comes to eliminating minor wireless issues on an iPhone and other smart devices is the so-called Airplane Mode trick. It works by simultaneously restarting wireless radios and relevant functions on the device. Any associated errors affecting wireless services are likewise rectified in the process. You can do this trick to both your watch and its paired iPhone. On your iPhone, follow these steps to carry out the Airplane mode trick:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode on. Doing so disables the wireless radios and relevant features of the phone. Your device will also be disconnected from the Wi-Fi network.
  4. While Airplane Mode is turned on, reboot/soft reset your iPhone to clear cache and to refresh its memory.
  5. Then head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  6. Toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode off again.

Allow your device to re-establish Wi-Fi access and once the signal is stable, reconnect to your Wi-Fi network to get back online and use online service including App Store downloads.

To do this trick on your Apple Watch 4, simply refer to these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your watch.
  2. Tap Airplane Mode.
  3. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature ON. The orange Airplane mode icon will then show up on the top-rightmost side of the watch display before the time.
  4. While Airplane Mode is turned on, restart your Watch 4.
  5. Then open the Settings app again to get back to Airplane mode.
  6. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch again to turn the feature off.
  7. Press the Digital Crown to go back to the main screen. 

Reconnect to Wi-Fi Internet and then retry downloading apps from the App Store and see if the problem is gone.

ALSO READ: How to fix an Apple Watch 4 that won’t connect to App Store

Third solution: Soft reset to fix your Apple Watch 4 that can’t download or install apps.

If everything was working fine with App Store downloads and suddenly it failed, it could be just a random glitch on your iOS device. To resolve these issues, performing a soft reset on your iPhone and Apple Watch 4 will usually suffice. Here’s what you should do then:

  1. Hold down the Side button for a few seconds and then slide to Power Off the watch.
  2. After a few seconds, press the Side button to turn the Apple watch back on.

If your Apple Watch 4 seems to be stuck, you can carry out a forced restart to force its system to shutdown and restart. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Press and hold down the Side button and the Digital Crown at the same time until the watch powers off and then displays the Apple logo.
  2. Release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

Allow your watch to finish its boot-up sequence and then try to see if the problem is resolved.

Fourth solution: Log out and back into your App Store account.

Account-related issues like invalid logins or App Store credentials entered can also be the underlying cause of the problem. To rule this out, try logging out and back into your App Store account on your iPhone. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Scroll to and tap iTunes & App Store.
  3. Select your Apple ID on the top of the screen.
  4. From the pop-up menu, tap Sign Out to proceed.
  5. Then confirm that you want to sign out of your Apple ID. 

You will then be signed out of the apps on your iPhone that uses that Apple ID including the App Store app.

Restart your iPhone after logging out from your Apple ID account. After your phone is done rebooting, continue with these steps to sign into the App Store and iTunes Store on your phone again:

  1. Open the App Store/iTunes Store app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Sign In.
  3. Select the option to Use Existing Apple ID then entire your Apple ID and password that you use with the App Store.
  4. Tap Sign In to continue.

After successfully signing into your App Store account, retry downloading apps for your Apple Watch.

ALSO READ: How to fix an Apple Watch 4 that won’t update, Apple WatchOS update error

Fifth solution: Remove any download restrictions on your iPhone.

One of the iOS features that can hinder app downloads is the so-called Content & Privacy Restrictions. When enabled, some apps including App Store may not be able to process download and update requests. To make sure this isn’t barring the app downloads for your Apple Watch that’s paired with the iPhone, turn off Restrictions on your iPhone with these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Enter your Screen Time passcode when asked to proceed.
  5. Then tap the switch next to Content & Privacy Restrictions to turn the feature OFF.

After lifting app restrictions on your iPhone, try to download the app for your Apple Watch again and see if it’s working already.

Sixth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

Network problems including App Store download errors on an iPhone that are attributed to invalid or incorrect network configurations are usually resolved by a network settings reset. This reset erases all your current network settings, Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, and other relevant information. Any associated errors including those hindering App Store downloads will also be rectified. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen to get started.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings. All your current network settings and configurations are then deleted while the default network values and options are restored. 
  5. Confirm when asked to reset the network settings on your iPhone.

After the reset, your phone should restart by itself and then loads up the default network values and options. To reconnect to the Internet, you’ll need to join and reconnect to your Wi-Fi network like the first time you did. Be sure to enter the correct network password. Once you’re connected, open the App Store and retry downloading new apps for your watch.

If your Apple Watch 4 still can’t download or install apps, there might be some problems with the App Store server that hinder download requests at the moment.

ALSO READ: How to fix apps that keep crashing on your Apple Watch 4

Still facing a problem with your Apple Watch 4 that can’t download or install apps?

You can visit the Apple Support status page to verify the current status of the App Store server. On that page, you would see the status indicators next to each Apple services. If the indicator appears green, that denotes no issue and the service is available. If it appears in grey, yellow or red, that denotes some problem going on and so the service is currently unavailable. You can contact Apple Support to verify the current status of the App Store server straight from the network system.

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