If you use the iTunes Store, you may have come across this error message: “Cannot connect to iTunes Store”. You may have also encountered the “Can’t connect to the App Store” or “Cannot Connect to App Store” notification. Learn how to find out if this is a problem with Apple’s servers, your ISP or your device.
In addition to fixing iTunes Store connectivity issues, the steps in this article also cover the following errors:
“Cannot Connect to App Store”
“We could not complete your iTunes Store request. The network connection could not be established. There was an error in the iTunes Store. Please try again later.”
“We could not complete your iTunes Store request. The iTunes Store is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”
“Cannot connect to the iTunes Store. An unknown error has occurred.”
“Could not connect to the iTunes Store. Make sure your network connection is active and try again.”
The iTunes Store sells millions of songs and videos and usually works without issue. Apple’s App Store has also distributed billions of apps since its launch. Sometimes users are confronted with connection problems. The most common error message is “Cannot connect to iTunes Store”. This problem could be caused by a variety of issues. Let’s take a look at how to troubleshoot this problem…
Retry Accessing the iTunes Store or App Store
If you receive an error while trying to connect to the iTunes Store or App Store, the first thing to do is just try again. These issues are usually intermittent. I find when I retry the transaction a few seconds later, it works fine. If you are using iOS or Mac OS X, simply try to purchase or download the item again. If the iTunes Store or App Store couldn’t connect upon launch, close the application and try again.
Problem With Apple’s Servers?
Apple’s data center is very reliable, however, like any data center, it’s not perfect. Servers go down due to a variety of issues. Sometimes the telecommunications company connecting Apple’s data center to the Internet is having problems. High volume can also overwhelm servers, making it difficult to connect to the iTunes Store.
Fortunately, it is easy to check the system status of every Apple service. Simply go to the Apple System Status web page to check if the service you need is running. This web page displays the status of every Apple service, including the iTunes Store, iCloud, iMessage, Siri, iTunes Radio, the App Store and many more. The web page also has a timeline showing past issues. If there is a problem with the service you are using, you will need to wait until it is fixed. You can also contact customer support, however, if the issue shows up on the system status web page, Apple already knows about it.
Problem With Your ISP?
The most common reason for the “Cannot connect to iTunes Store” error is a problem with your Internet connection. This is easily verifiable. You can try connecting to a web page on your iOS device or computer. If you experience this issue on your Apple TV, you can try connecting to a third-party service such as Netflix, YouTube or Sky News. If you can’t connect to any other services or web pages, there is a problem with your Internet connection. Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) to help troubleshoot the problem.
I have also experienced iTunes Store problems when my Internet connection is slow. It is possible that you can access the web or other services, but your connection is simply too slow to work with iTunes. Basically, the connection is so slow that the authentication (login) process times out. This is usually a combination of a slow Internet connection and high demand on Apple’s servers. You can verify your Internet connection speed using Ookla Speedtest. Ookla also makes a Speedtest app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. There is no specific speed requirement for the iTunes Store to work. However, if you notice that your Internet connection is unusually slow, this is likely the issue.
Problem With Your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
If Apple’s servers and your Internet connection are not the problem, it could be an issue with your device. Problems connecting to the iTunes Store are usually caused by two issues — incorrect date and time settings and obsolete software.
First, make sure that your date, time and time zone settings are correct. This will ensure that you can sync with iTunes Store servers. Tap on Settings > General > Date & Time and verify that the settings are correct. You can also toggle Set Automatically off and on, if the setting exists. This should automatically fix problems with the date, time and time zone.
If your date and time settings are correct, but you still can’t connect to the iTunes Store, ensure that your device is using the newest version of iOS. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check if there is a newer version of iOS. Update your device to the newest operating system software to ensure compatibility with the iTunes Store.
Reset iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch Network Settings
Sometimes a network issue can result in difficulties connecting to Apple services such as the App Store or iTunes Store. If these issues persist, network settings may have been corrupted or are incompatible with Apple’s servers. For example, if your network settings are pointing to a defunct DNS server (which may happen with low-quality ISPs), you won’t be able to connect to the iTunes Store or App Store.
Resetting networking settings on an iOS or iPadOS device shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll have to re-enter Wi-Fi passwords for all of the access points you use — home, work, friends and family members’ houses, cafes, and other hotspots. This can present problems for many users. Only perform these steps if your connection problems persist for days.
It’s easy to reset network settings on an Apple device. Simply tap on Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset. A menu appears with multiple options. Tap on Reset Network Settings. iOS will prompt you to enter your passcode. Once completed, the operating system will reset your iPhone network settings. Hopefully, this will enable you to connect to the iTunes Store, App Store, and all Apple services.
Problem With Your Mac?
Firewalls can often pose a problem with the iTunes Store. If you can access websites but cannot access the iTunes Store, it is likely that firewall software is the problem.
If your computer was provided by your employer, make sure to check with your desktop support staff before making any changes. The company network might also have a network firewall that is blocking access to the iTunes Store. Some employers do this because they feel it increases productivity.
If you are using Mac OS X, go to the Apple menu at the top left of your screen and select System Preferences. Next, click on Security & Privacy and then click the Firewall tab. You may need to click on the lock in the lower left and type in the administrator password to make changes. Make sure that iTunes is allowing incoming connections. If it is set to block incoming connections, change it to allow them. This should enable access to the iTunes Store.
If the firewall isn’t the issue, make sure that your date and time settings are correct. Click on the Apple menu on the top left of your screen. Next, click on System Preferences and then Date & Time. Make sure that these settings are correct, especially the time zone. Turn on “Set date and time automatically” if it is not enabled.
Updating iTunes and Safari may also help with connecting to the iTunes Store. The easiest way to do this is to check for updates. Click on the Apple menu on the top left of your screen, then click on “Software Update”. Follow the on-screen instructions. If there are newer versions of iTunes and Safari, make sure to run the associated update.
If you are using an older version of OS X, it is possible that Keychain is causing iTunes Store connectivity problems. While this is unlikely, Keychain has been known to cause problems when connecting to the iTunes store. This only occurs with OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). This issue can usually be solved by resetting Keychain, using the Keychain First Aid tool. Using Spotlight on the top right of your screen, type in Keychain Access and then launch the utility. Click on the Keychain Access menu and then click on Keychain First Aid. Login with your user ID and password and select Repair. If Keychain was causing your iTunes Store connection problem, Repair should fix the issue.
Check Your iTunes Account
You may be experiencing an error connecting to the iTunes Store due to a problem with your Apple ID or payment information. Sometimes the problem is on Apple’s end. Their authentication services may be offline or may be overwhelmed with too much traffic. When you are repeatedly seeing “Cannot connect to iTunes Store”, try signing in to the iTunes account screen with your Apple ID. After you have signed in, verify that your payment information is correct. You can view your iTunes Store account information on any device except Apple TV.
It’s possible that your payment information is no longer valid. Perhaps your credit card expired. There was also a problem a few years ago where Apple failed to properly migrate payment information after a system update.
If you have a computer with iTunes installed, launch it. Click on iTunes Store on the top of the screen. Next, click on Account on the right side of the screen.
A dialog box will pop up, prompting you to enter your Apple ID (email address) and Password.
If this information is incorrect, you will see an error — “Your Apple ID or password was entered incorrectly”. If you forgot your password, click on “Forgot?” and follow the on-screen instructions.
You can also verify your Apple ID using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Launch the iTunes Store app and scroll to the bottom of the screen. Tap on View Apple ID. You will be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password. If these aren’t valid, tap on iForgot and follow the on-screen instructions.
When you change your Apple ID or password, it may present an error on another device where this information is cached, such as Apple TV. After your password is reset, you will need to login with the new password on other devices. On your computer and iOS device, you will be prompted for your Apple ID when necessary. Simply enter the new password. On an Apple TV, you may need to sign out and sign in again. You can do this by going to Settings > iTunes Store > Accounts and then sign out. Sign in again with the correct information.
If your Apple ID and password are not the problem, verify your payment information. The accounts screen will appear after successful authentication. On iTunes for computers, your payment information is presented under “Apple ID Summary”. Verify that the payment information is correct. You will need to click on “Edit” next to Payment Type to view your credit card’s expiration date and security code. When you get a new credit card, it may often have the same number, but a new expiration date and security code. Update this information and click Done.
You can also view and update your iTunes Store account information on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. First, launch the iTunes Store. Next, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap View Apple ID. Enter your password when prompted. The Accounts Settings screen will appear. Tap on Payment Information and verify that the information is correct. Make any necessary updates and tap Done. Finally, tap Done on the Account Settings screen to exit.
Your iTunes account information should be updated on Apple’s servers, enabling access to the iTunes store on any of your devices. If it isn’t working, wait a few minutes. It’s usually instant, but it may take time for the change to propagate. If all else fails, contact Apple’s customer support.
Vague Error With Many Solutions
There are many issues that cause iTunes Store connectivity problems. The error message “Cannot connect to iTunes Store” is very vague and not helpful. Hopefully, this article has enabled you to solve these issues and you are now able to access the iTunes Store. Apple should provide more precise error messages and automated trouble shooting. We can only hope that future versions of iTunes software will make it easier for anyone to connect to the iTunes Store.