Do you get the “Unable to Purchase” error on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
when you try to update, or purchase apps from the app store? The error looks something like this.
A dialog box appears with the header of “Unable to Purchase” and the error goes along the lines of “Forum for iPhone” and 4 other items could not be purchased at this time. Please try again later.”
Here’s an example.
The name of the app and the number of “other items” will vary from person to person, and over time the number of “other items” will also increase. The error is frustrating because if you click on the OK button, you can purchase or update the apps without any problems so it clearly doesn’t stop anything from working. The error also comes up intermittently which adds to your frustration.
I came across a fix that appears to have resolved the issue for me and several other people, and thought i’d share it with others experiencing the same issue. The fix is extremely simple, and doesn’t require jailbreaking your device. My iPad 2 is not jail broken and it works just fine after performing the fix. This fix should also work fine with the iPhone and iPod Touch, but I haven’t personally tested it with either.
Here’s how to fix the issue.
1. Go to the following website and download a program called iExplorer. It’s free and no other add-ons, or mucking about is necessary.
Simply download and install the iExplorer program.
Ensure your iPhone, iPad, or ipod Touch is not plugged in via USB and that iTunes is not running.
2. Run the iExplorer program
3. Plug in your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch via USB. At this point the program should auto detect the device and give you an explorer like interface showing you all the files and directories on the device.
4. In the top left hand window you should see the ‘Downloads‘ folder. Click on this folder (not the plus sign as you want to be in the root folder). At this point you should see a lot of files appear in the right hand window that resembles this:
Note: If your device is Jailbroken, the file is located in /var/mobile/Media/Downloads.
Mac Users: You need to expand the Downloads folder, because there’s no explorer pane on the right. Also, you need to expand the Media folder to find Downloads.
5. You don’t want to delete anything here. But what you do want to do is scroll to the bottom of the window where you’ll find a file that contains the word sqlitedb and rename it to something else. Eg. Mine is called downloads.28.sqlitedb which I renamed to downloads.28.sqlitedbold. Note: To rename the file, simply click the filename twice (slowly with approx 1 second between clicks). Technically you can delete the file instead of rename it but to be safe I recommend to just rename it.
6. Once you’ve renamed the file to something else, simply close iExplorer, and shut down the app store app on your device if it’s running, and then restart it. The error will be gone and if you open up iExplorer again, you’ll notice the database file has been recreated.
That’s it! Easy eh!
The database will be automatically rebuilt when you go back into the App Store on your device which is why you see two files in the above image.
The app store will still find future app updates and everything should be working as it should. I’ve found no issues by performing these steps but as usual I take no responsibility if things don’t go to plan for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. I’m pretty confident you’ll have no issues though.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if the tutorial helped resolve the problem.