How to fix Mac App Store download problems

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App Store tutorial
If you're experiencing certain download issues, this is an early bit of troubleshooting to do.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Macs are renowned for “just working,” but sometimes you might run into problems while downloading software from the Mac App Store. You might encounter files that say they’ve downloaded despite evidence to the contrary, or face verification errors or other installation difficulties.

If so, a relatively common fix involves emptying your Mac App Store temporary download cache folder. If you find yourself running into any of the Mac installation problems mentioned above, cleaning out this folder should be one of your first tasks.

But how do you do it? Follow our easy “how to” guide below.

How to fix Mac App Store download problems

Before you start: Back up everything

As with any instance in which you’re making potentially crucial changes to your Mac, you should start by backing up your computer. Nothing should go wrong during this quick fix, but any time you’re forced to say “nothing should go wrong” it probably means there’s a small element of risk.

There are a few different ways to do this, and Apple offers a pretty neat summary of the various methods here.

Use Terminal to locate the folder

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Start by opening the Terminal app.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

To start with, open the Terminal app on your Mac. This can be found by opening the Other folder, which can be accessed via Launchpad or Applications > Utilities. Alternatively, you can find it by using Spotlight Search and typing in Terminal.

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Once here, you’ll have to type this command and hit “enter.”
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Next up, you’ll need to type this command (or copy it from here!): open $TMPDIR../C/com.apple.appstore/

Hit Enter and you’ll open the com.apple.appstore folder in Finder.

Empty Mac App Store temporary download cache folder

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Next empty the folder.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Now you need to empty this folder. It’s your pick whether to do this by copying the contents to a separate folder before deleting them or diving in with both feet and moving it to Trash right away. Make sure this is the only folder you do this to, though: Deleting files outside of this directory could have disastrous results.

Try your failed Mac app download again

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Hey presto! Problem solved! Or so we hope.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Once you’ve closed the folder, you can re-download any files that were causing problems.