Why won’t my iTunes songs download on my iPhone?

The issue of iTunes songs not downloading on an iPhone is a common problem that many users encounter. There are several potential causes, ranging from network connectivity issues to storage limitations on the device itself. The key to resolving this is to methodically troubleshoot the various factors that can prevent successful music downloads.

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to diagnose and fix the problem when iTunes purchases fail to download onto an iPhone. We will cover checking your internet connection, updating iOS and iTunes software, authorizing your computer with the iPhone, resetting the iPhone, verifying available storage space, adjusting download settings, and performing a factory reset if nothing else works. Following these troubleshooting steps can help get music downloads working again.

Check Internet Connectivity

One of the most common reasons for iTunes songs not downloading on an iPhone is an issue with your internet connectivity. Here are some things you can try to troubleshoot your connectivity:

  • Restart your iPhone – Turn your iPhone off completely, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on. This can help reset any connectivity issues.
  • Check your WiFi connection – Make sure you’re connected to a working WiFi network that has internet access. Try disconnecting and reconnecting to the network.
  • Toggle Airplane mode on and off – Put your iPhone in Airplane mode for 30 seconds, then turn Airplane mode off to reset the network connections.
  • Check cellular data connectivity – Ensure cellular data is enabled in Settings. Try toggling cellular data off and then on again.
  • Reset network settings – Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Reset Network Settings. This will reset all network connections.
  • Check router connections – Make sure your router is working properly and connected to the internet. Try rebooting your router.
  • Contact your carrier – If you can’t connect via cellular data, contact your carrier to see if there are any known outages in your area.

Checking for internet connectivity issues is one of the first troubleshooting steps when iTunes songs won’t download to an iPhone. Confirm that your device can properly connect to either WiFi or cellular data before continuing with other troubleshooting methods.

Update iOS Software

Keeping your iPhone’s iOS software up-to-date is crucial for ensuring all of your apps and features work properly. Apple periodically releases software updates that include bug fixes, security patches, and new features. Running an outdated version of iOS can prevent your iPhone from communicating properly with iTunes and downloading content.

Check if you have the latest iOS version installed on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update. The most recent version as of December 2023 is iOS 17 (source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT213781). If an update is available, tap “Download and Install” to update your iPhone to the latest iOS version. This will ensure your device is compatible with the latest iTunes features for downloading songs and other media.

Updating to the newest iOS version may resolve any bugs that are preventing songs from downloading properly from iTunes onto your iPhone. Keeping your iPhone’s operating system up-to-date is one of the easiest troubleshooting steps to resolve iTunes connectivity issues.

Update iTunes

One common reason iTunes may fail to download songs to your iPhone is if you don’t have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer. iTunes needs to be up-to-date in order to properly communicate with your iPhone and sync content across.

Go to the iTunes page and download the newest version of iTunes for your computer: https://www.apple.com/itunes/. Follow the installation steps and open up the newly updated iTunes app. Then try syncing your music library again to see if downloads now work as expected.

According to Apple’s support article, the latest iTunes releases often contain “stability improvements” and fixes that “improve compatibility with iOS devices.” (About iOS 15 Updates). Keeping iTunes up-to-date is key for a smooth syncing experience with your iPhone.

Authorize Computer with iPhone

The “Trust This Computer” alert pops up the first time you connect your iPhone to a new computer or device. This is an authorization process that helps protect your data and prevent unauthorized access. You need to authorize a computer before you can sync or transfer content like music and videos from iTunes.

According to an Apple support article, the authorization system keeps track of computers you’ve approved. Each iPhone can store up to 100 authorizations. If you exceed this limit, you’ll need to de-authorize the devices you no longer use before adding new ones.

Sometimes the authorization process can become corrupted. As noted in a discussion thread on Apple’s website, errors like “this computer is no longer authorized” often occur after restoring an iPhone or installing a new version of iOS. You may need to de-authorize the computer in iTunes and re-authorize it.

If none of your authorized computers are showing up under iPhone settings, you can try signing out of iTunes and your Apple ID account on each device. Then sign back in and re-authorize the computers. This resets the trusted device list stored on Apple’s servers.

Reset iPhone

Resetting your iPhone can help resolve issues with downloading songs from iTunes when other troubleshooting steps don’t work. There are two main reset options to try:

Reset Network Settings

Resetting your network settings will clear any stored Wi-Fi passwords, VPN connections, and other network settings – it essentially resets your iPhone’s network connections to their factory default state. This can help resolve connectivity issues that may be preventing your iPhone from communicating properly with iTunes for downloads. To reset network settings, go to Settings > General > Reset and tap Reset Network Settings.

Hard Reset

A hard reset (also known as a factory reset) will completely wipe your iPhone and restore it to its original factory settings. This will delete all your data and settings. Before performing a hard reset, be sure to backup your iPhone either via iCloud or iTunes. To hard reset, go to Settings > General > Reset and tap Erase All Content and Settings. Your iPhone will reboot and you’ll have to re-setup the device.

Resetting network settings is less drastic and should be tried first. But if that doesn’t resolve the iTunes download issues, a hard reset may be necessary as a last resort.

Check iPhone Storage

One of the most common reasons that iTunes songs won’t download to an iPhone is if there is not enough available storage space on the device. The amount of storage an iPhone has determines how many apps, photos, videos, and music can be saved locally. With limited storage, your iPhone may be unable to complete new downloads from iTunes if the capacity is full or nearly full.

According to How Much Storage Space Do You Need on Your iPhone?, many experts recommend having at least 128GB of storage on newer iPhone models to have enough room for apps, media, and system files. While older iPhone models started with 16GB or 32GB of storage, current iPhones now offer options from 128GB up to 1TB.

Before attempting to download new songs from iTunes, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage on your iPhone to view the breakdown of used and available space. If you are low on free space, you will need to remove apps, photos, or videos to make more room for music downloads. Alternatively, you can utilize cloud storage services to store files externally instead of on your iPhone directly.

Toggle Download Settings

One potential solution is to toggle your iPhone’s download settings under Cellular Data. Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store. Under the “Downloads” section, make sure “Use Cellular Data” is toggled on. This allows your iPhone to download iTunes content over your cellular data connection, not just over WiFi.

If ‘Use Cellular Data’ is already enabled but you’re still unable to download, try toggling it off, closing the Settings app, then going back in and toggling it on again. This refreshes the connection and can resolve download issues. You may also want to toggle ‘Download in Progress’ on to allow partially downloaded content to finish over cellular data if you lose WiFi connection mid-download. Restarting your iPhone after changing these settings can also help.

As per discussions on the Apple forums, toggling cellular download settings on and off is one of the first steps to try when troubleshooting failed iTunes downloads on an iPhone (Source). If this doesn’t resolve the issue, a more advanced fix like resetting network settings may be required.

Factory Reset iPhone

Resetting your iPhone to factory default settings should be used as a last resort if nothing else has worked to resolve your music download issues. A factory reset will erase all data and settings on your iPhone and restore it to default settings (Source). This includes:

  • Deleting all apps, photos, contacts, and other data
  • Resetting all settings to default
  • Removing any passcodes or restrictions
  • Disconnecting from iCloud and disabling Find My iPhone

Before resetting, make sure to backup your iPhone data either to iCloud or iTunes. Then, to factory reset go to Settings > General > Reset and tap “Erase All Content and Settings.” Your iPhone will reboot into setup mode to be configured as new. Log into iCloud and iTunes with your Apple ID to restore your data and re-download any purchased music, apps, books, etc. This should resolve any underlying software glitches causing download issues.

Factory resetting when troubleshooting is recommended by Apple themselves as it eliminates any problematic files or settings (Source). However, it can be time consuming having to reconfigure the device and re-download everything. Only use this fix as a last resort if no other troubleshooting steps have resolved your iTunes download problems.

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and your iTunes songs still won’t download on your iPhone, it’s time to contact Apple Support. Apple provides several support options to help troubleshoot technical issues with iOS devices and iTunes.

You can start by checking the Apple Support website, which contains troubleshooting articles, user forums, and the ability to schedule a support call or chat session. There are also step-by-step guides to walk you through common issues like trouble downloading songs.

If you need assistance from a live person, you can contact Apple Support by phone at 1-800-275-2273. Be prepared to provide your Apple ID and device serial number. Phone support is available 24/7. Wait times may vary.

Apple also offers advanced technical support through AppleCare+. This paid service provides priority access to advisors by phone or chat for help with iOS, iCloud, and Apple apps. AppleCare+ must be purchased separately either monthly or annually.

As a last resort, you can schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store. The Genius Bar provides free troubleshooting of Apple products. Appointments may be limited, so check availability online first. Bring your iPhone to the Apple store to get hands-on support.