Thanks to iCloud and iOS 7, you can get that missing app—or purchased song, TV episode or movie—back in just a few clicks, for free.
It’s a great way to conserve space on your device, or to restore your iTunes purchases in case something bad happens to your handset.
Indeed, you can re-download just about anything you’ve bought from iTunes, over and over, so long as you’re logged into the correct iTunes account.
Same goes with media like TV shows, music, and movies, which is why you’d be wise to back up all your iTunes purchases on a Mac, PC, or external hard drive.
So, ready to re-download? Let’s get started…
For apps (iPhone, iPod Touch):
- Open the App Store by tapping the App Store icon.
- Tap the “Updates” button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
- Near the top of the following page, you’ll see an option that reads “Purchased”; go ahead and tap it.
- You’ll now see a list of every app you’ve ever purchased using your iTunes account. To re-download any of them, tap the little cloud icon to the right.
- You can also filter the list by tapping the “Not On This iPhone” tab at the top.
For apps (iPad):
- Tap the App Store icon from the iPad’s home screen.
- Tap the “Purchased” tab at the bottom of the display, just to the left of “Updates.”
- Now you’ll see a sortable list of all the apps purchased through your iTunes account. Tap the “Sort by” button to sort by app name or most-recently purchased apps. You can also filter by tapping the “Not On This iPad” tab.
- Last but not least, tap the blue “iPad Apps” link in the top-left corner of the page, then select “iPhone Apps” from the drop-down menu to see apps specifically designed for iPhone.
For music, movies or TV shows (iPhone, iPod Touch):
- Launch the iTunes Store app, tap the “More” button in the lower-right corner of the screen, then tap “Purchased.”
- Next, you’ll get the choice of viewing your purchased music, movies, or TV shows; just tap the option you want.
- You’ll now see a searchable list of your purchases. To re-download a show, movie or song, tap the little cloud.
For music or TV shows (iPad):
- Tap the App Store icon from the home screen, then tap the “Purchased” tab at the bottom of the screen.
- On the next screen, you’ll see a list of all your purchased songs from iTunes, organized by artist. Tap an artist’s name to see which songs are available for re-downloading.
- You can also tap the “sort Songs by” link to sort your iCloud-stored music grouped into albums rather than individual songs.
- Want to check out your downloadable movies and TV shows? Tap either the “Movies” or “TV Shows” tabs at the top of the screen.
You can save yourself some steps by letting the iOS Music and Videos apps display all your iCloud media, including songs, TV shows and movies that aren’t stored on your iPhone or iPad.
Tap Settings, iTunes & App Store, find the “Show All” heading, then flick the switches next to “Music” and “Videos.”
Keep in mind, though, that any music or videos you download over your iPhone or iPad cellular connection will count against your monthly data allowance.
Note: This updated and revised article was originally published in October 2011.