How Do I Install an iOS App No Longer Available on the App Store? [Ask MacRx]



Apple Giveth, and Apple Taketh Away. The Walled Garden approach Apple has taken with its App Store means that not everything you once bought is still available. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options for installing software that was previously downloaded:

Hello, I got the iTether app yesterday before Apple pulled it out, but my daughter didn’t get the chance to download it. How will I install it to my daughter’s iPhone? I back up my phone to my PC and I have the app in my file. Please help.


Hi Rodante,

Well, Apple deliberately doesn’t make it easy to do what you wish, especially with apps they have removed from the App Store. I’m surprised that iTether even made it through their review process to begin with!

That said, copies of your iOS applications are stored on your hard disk, in your Music folder –> iTunes –> Mobile Applications. The file is probably named something like “iTether.ipa”. If your daughter has her iPhone synced with another Mac or PC, you can copy that file to the same folder on her system, then launch iTunes and plug in the iPhone; the app should then be available for installation, provided her system is authorized to use the account you purchased the app with.

• • •

Readers, have any additional suggestions on this topic, or corrections/clarifications on the advice above? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Deals of the Day

  • Carolyn Hayes

    When Apple forces an app to upgrade to take out core functionality (old memory cleaner apps) , I have been known to save the .ipa file in  a separate folder so I know I’ll have it if needed. One way to keep the original bestest light sabre app for a while.

  • Sasmito Adibowo

    Time Machine. I regret that I deliberately excluded iTunes *.ipa files from Time Machine backup the day that Gameloft decided to discontinue Brothers In Arms 2, an app that I bought, and replace it with a somewhat lame free version. 

  • thedoctor101

    iCloud app store. If you look in your purchased tab in the AppStore, you can see that app and redownload it, even when it is gone from the store. Apple keeps a copy

  • Richard Wellings

    I had a real battle to restore my phone from iCloud because one of the apps I grabbed ages ago (and dont use) kept trying to install itself back on the phone and then the recovery process generated a message saying it wasnt a valid app for the UK causing the whole restore to halt and refuse to carry on. I couldn’t work out how to beat the problem

  • clay cooper

    You simply go into your settings menu, select applications and check the ‘Unknown Sources’ box. This will allow you to install the .apk file… oh wait… my bad, wrong device. :)

  • skylined69

    If they’re daughter uses a separate mac or pc all they need to do is log into her computer and authorise it then link the 2 machines through home sharing using Rodante’s apple id then you can import any app book or tune you want.

  • Daniel Ploeger ?

    Has anyone got the old Siri-app on their computer? If you could just upload the .IPA to megaupload or another service and post the link here, I’m sure many of us will be you really thankful!

  • Chris Freeman

    I have the old siri app but it no longer functions. The app needs certain servers to function and the servers are no longer running.

  • Peter Mesyk

    And this is how Apple treats their loyal customers. Buy up or get out!

  • Francis Tj Mesina

    Adam Rosen – Sir, if i may i really appreciate people like you who shares their knowledge in things… i thank you from the bottom of my heart. (well at least i know what to do if certain things happen). Its all up to the readers if they will follow what you said. Some times you just give the basic of things so that we are aware of what we might do before running to the pro’s. Iam a do it your self kinda person and so far what you suggested for the freezing mac worked for me. (tried the power button twice but only worked on me once). Again thanks…

  • Adam Rosen

    Thank you Francis, I appreciate the sentiment.  Glad to be of assistance.