Apple Breaks Multiple App Store Account Updates – ‘You can not update this software since you have not owned the major version of this software’

Apple Breaks Multiple App Store Account Updates – ‘You can not update this software since you have not owned the major version of this software’

A dialog mind-bogglingly bad in explanation and copywriting and it's from Apple. Very sad.

Boom! Apple broke App Store accounts for many users with multiple accounts recently. On checking for updates and clicking the helpful ‘Download All Free Updates’ button, iTunes rather unhelpfully states: ‘You can not update this software since you have not owned the major version of this software’. Whether this is a bug (which we hope) or a change in App Store policy is unknown at this time. However, since writing about the subject on my own blog and Twitter, it’s clear the issue is widespread, and Apple support has yet to supply any kind of insight regarding a fix.

Previously, App Store updates for users/Macs with multiple accounts were awkward in UI terms but at least logical. You signed into an account, selected Applications, checked for updates and then downloaded what was available. If you noticed a number next to Applications after apps had been updated, that meant updates were available in another account. So you’d sign into that one as well and repeat the process.

Now, all available updates for all accounts are displayed at once, but iTunes isn’t intelligent enough to figure out which apps belong to the active account. Therefore, you try to update everything, iTunes realises some apps it’s showing are tied to a different account, and it throws up the appallingly clumsy dialog error ‘You can not update this software since you have not owned the major version of this software’.

At present, the only solution is to click on every single Get Update link individually, dismiss the dialog if it appears, and when you’ve gone through every app, sign into other accounts and repeat the process.

Perhaps Apple’s cracking down on people with multiple accounts in different countries (although most people I know who do this keep a US account for promo codes, since Apple’s still inexplicably restricting them to the US store). That said, I’ve had emails from people stating that they get the same error with multiple accounts from the same store on a single machine. Therefore, this is most likely a pretty big bug that needs squashing, but if so that’s only indicative of how one of Apple’s most important pieces of software needs some serious TLC, as Pete noted on the 4th.

I currently have a (second-line) support call logged with Apple on this, and will update if I get a response. If you’re also having this issue, please post in the comments.

  • Ted Box

    hey Craig, you posted this almost a year ago! Have you got an update? Was there a resolution? Did Apple fix the nonsense?

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    Some updates require a system restart. Starting with Mac OS X 10.5, updates that require a reboot log out the user prior to installation and automatically restart the computer when complete; in earlier versions, the updates are installed, but critical files are not replaced until the next system startup.

  • Laurel Smith

    Is there an update for this? My kids have recently gotten their own apple id accounts, but apps they downloaded using my account won’t update without this issue. They are bummed, and I want them off my account!

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  • Foren

    Here we are, almost July 2011 and this is not fixed.

    The multiple-accounts problem is disgraceful at this point, and it’s only going to get worse with the discontinuation of MobileMe. Why? Because Apple leads you to believe that your iTunes/App Store ID has to be an E-mail address. NOT TRUE. But as people change their E-mail addresses (which they do, which is why E-mail addresses should never be used as log-in IDs), they’re going to assume that they need to set up a new account with a current E-mail address.

    After that, iTunes will forever erroneously tell you that you have app updates and then claim there aren’t any updates. Apparently you’re supposed to write down every account you’ve ever had with iTunes and try each one, looking for updates. And that doesn’t even address the endless parade of “new agreement” dialog boxes you’ll get when the agreements change, or when your credit card expires.

    This is what happens when you try to manage all the data on a handheld Unix computer with a jukebox application.  And a dog-crap jukebox application at that.

  • Benjamin Crocker

    I’ve just recently had the opposite problem (found this page while looking for a solution).

    I have one account, just one, and now I can’t update anything because I keep getting told I need to log in with my “other account” that the app was purchased with.

  • anex9898

    This is still a problem and Apple support seems to have stopped responding to requests for help.

  • anex9898

    This is still a problem and Apple support seems to have stopped responding to requests for help.

About the author

Craig GrannellCraig Grannell is Cult of Mac's designer and an occasional contributor. He also runs, a Twitter-driven reviews site for iPhone apps and games. Follow Craig on Twitter @CraigGrannell and visit his website, Snub Communications.

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