Does iTunes 12.4 let you transfer app purchases to your computer?

macOS & Mac Apps

For those who have updated to iTunes 12.4 on there computers. Be they PC or Mac, have Apple restored the Transfer Purchases of apps from IOS devices back to iTunes at all?

Thanks in advance for any responses.



Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Yes, iTunes will still transfer any purchases from any iOS device to your computer. If you have a PC, open iTunes and then press tab until you here the device you want to transfer your purchases from. Then press enter. Or if you have an iPhone and an iPod touch connected to your computer, press enter on the button that says 2 devices. Then you could choose between the iPhone and the iPod. After you press enter on one of those devices, press Alt+F. That takes you to the context menu. Press down arrow until you hear "devices submenu." Then press right arrow. You could choose between sync, transfer purchases, backup and restore from backup. If you want to transfer purchases from your device to the computer, choose the "transfer purchases" option, then press enter. Hope this helps:)

Submitted by Daniel on Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hi Fatima.

While what your saying is correct, what I was trying to say is that iTunes doesn't seem to copy apps anymore from the IOS device back to the PC/Mac due due to Apple introducing a feature called "App Thinning."

So in basic terms, if you purchased an app on the IOS device, connected via USB and open iTunes then File, Devices, Transfer Purchases. What use to happen Pre IOS9 was that app files would then transfer from the IOS device, back to iTunes and into the Mobile Applications folder.

Do you know if they have added this back into iTunes 12.4 at all?

I hope all of that makes sense.

If you are willing to test it out for me, it would be much appreciated.
All that you would need to do is update an app on the IOS device, probably an app your not so concerned about updating. Connect up to iTunes and go to Transfer Purchases. After that, check to see if the updated app version is in the mobile applications folder. If it is, then they have added it back. If it is still an older version of the app in there, then they haven't.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Thursday, May 19, 2016

In reply to by Daniel

I did the test and the transfering purchases option was unavailable. You might want to go in the iTunes store and find the "purchased" link. On the page their will be some different tabs to choose from like music, apps, tv shows, etc. Choose the apps tab and check if you have some apps that might be available to download directly into iTunes. Look at this discussion thread on Apple Support Communities for more information:

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, May 19, 2016

When I plug any of my devices into my Windows notebook, and with iTunes on a screen other than the device specific screen, when I type, ALT F V, I get the device menu, and for example in the case of my iPhone, the transfer purchases is unavailable.

However, if I first TAB to the iPhone button and ensure I am on the device summary screen, when I type ALT F V, the transfer purchases option is now available, and appears to function.

Please let me know if this works for you.

Submitted by Mark SARCH on Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hi Daniel
Talking for Mac XX
the option transfer purchase shows enable on iTunes 12.4 however doesn't seems transfer the apps any more
if someone do not how to do it on Mac follow this
open apple menu
VO+ m
VO right arrow find file
down arrow devices
right arrow
options list
restore from backup
however Daniel if the apps are not showing under or visible under iTunes library it doesn't mean that you back up is n't include those apps.
I been restoring twice my iPhone from iTunes backup using iOS9 or higher and Mac XX and all the apps automatic transfer to your iOS device the process is very similar as iCloud when the apps are installing some of those shows progress indicator

Submitted by dvdmth on Saturday, May 21, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

The ability to transfer apps from iOS devices to your computer via iTunes was removed with iOS 9. The reason is because of a technology Apple introduced called app thinning.

Many apps have resources for multiple device types bundled within them, such as one interface for iPhones and another for iPads. The idea of app thinning is that, when you download an app, only the portions of the app that pertain to your specific device will be downloaded. Thus, if you're using an iPhone, any resources intended for use on iPads will not be downloaded, thus saving space on your device.

Unfortunately, a side-effect of this is that iTunes cannot transfer an app from an iOS device anymore, because the device does not have the complete app. If you were to transfer an app from an iPhone, then try to install it on an iPad through iTunes, the installation would fail because some parts of the app will not be available.

Therefore, the only way to add any apps to your iTunes library is to download them directly from the iTunes store. You can still do this, and the apps can still be installed through iTunes. You just can't transfer an installed app from an iOS device back to iTunes because of the app thinning technology.

Submitted by Fiona on Thursday, May 26, 2016

If iTunes failed to transfer purchases from your iPhone to iTunes library or computer and you get no fixes, you can try some iTunes alternative tool like AnyTrans. It allows you to transfer music, movies, ringtones, audiobooks from iPhone to any iTunes library, even it is not purchased from iTunes.

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hi! I've just read this thread with interest, and I notice that the method I use to transfer newly-installed apps from my iPhone to my PC hasn't been mentioned, namely automatic downloads, which still work in iTunes 12.4. Automatic downloads can be found in the Store tab of iTunes Preferences on the computer, and you can choose what kind of items, such as apps or music, are to be automatically downloaded after being purchased on i-devices. Apps are among the things I have set to be automatically downloaded, so, after I have installed an app purchased on my iPhone, it'll download to the Mobile Apps folder on the computer the next time I open iTunes on my PC. I have never used a Mac so I can't be sure whether this method works similarly on a Mac to what I just described on Windows, but I hope this helps anyway!

Submitted by charles on Thursday, May 26, 2016

Using Windows 7 and JAWS 16's latest update, I want to use iTunes 12.4 to determine if there are any updates to the apps that are on my iPhone 6 when it is connected to my PC. I cannot check for updates, nor can I see what apps I currently have. Any step by step assistance in this will be appreciated.

Submitted by Mark SARCH on Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hi Fiona
the main question is only about apps as you know all the media is possible transfer but the apps after iOS9 and the laters iTunes version is impossible transfer from iOS devices to iTunes for the feature who apple create mention above.
Using iTunes for Mac or Windows all the audio media include tones, music, books and more you can transfer even using some flash drive between Mac to windows and biceberse and not problem it all, not matter if the audio media is not purchase from apple.
however using iTunes you are able to transfer apps to your iOS devices even to update apps via iTunes to your device. .
to Clare Page
What about automatic downloads?
this feature is very good, and still is working not matter if you use multiple platforms windows or Mac
but just a small detail this feature only work for new purchase.
so if you have 13 apps who were updated using your iOS device and plug the device via USB cord and you want to transfer those updates to your iTunes apps library guess what??? now is not possible that only way to update those apps is updating directly from iTunes.
I can't give wrong info about it
I use Mac XX and haven't try windows now.
but first you have to do is update all the apps from your iTunes and when you connect// plug your iPhone 6 when shows the tree view list will say update on each app that is abatable to update after select will say will update remember use arrow keys and space bar to check or uncheck on the apps just use tab key and look for apply button I just give you some idea but not the entire process step by step.

I did the test and the transfering purchases option was unavailable. You might want to go in the iTunes store and find the "purchased" link. On the page their will be some different tabs to choose from like music, apps, tv shows, etc. Choose the apps tab and check if you have some apps that might be available to download directly into iTunes. Look at this discussion thread on Apple Support Communities for more information: