Apple iCloud: Download Previously Purchased Items to Your iOS Device, PC or Mac

Getting your previously purchased apps from iCloud isn’t new. This feature was introduced to iOS 4 by Steve Jobs earlier this year at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. As Steve said “It just works”.

For example, if you purchase an app or music on your iPad, you can download it to your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac or PC. Here’s how.

Launch the App Store on your iOS device. At the bottom of the screen tap on Purchased.

App Store

A list of your previously purchased apps appears. Tap the cloud icon next to the app you want to download to your device.

Previously Purchased Apps List

Then your apps will download and install. Not cables required!

Apps Downloading

To find the apps you want easily, sort by app name, date purchased or device type.

Sort Apps

If you’re looking for a specific app, just type the name in the Search field.

app search

To download music you’ve already purchased, open the iTunes app on your device and tap Purchased.


Just like with apps, you’ll get a list of the music you purchased over the years. In fact I was surprised to see music I don’t remember buying years ago.

Tap the band or artist from the left panel. Then download individual songs, an entire album or all songs by the artist.

You can download previously purchased items on all of your iOS devices.

iPod Musicipod video

You can also download them to your Windows PC or Mac from iTunes.

Launch iTunes on your PC or Mac and open the iTunes Store. In the right panel under Quick Links, click on Purchased.


Now you’ll be able to download all of your previously purchased music, video, apps and books.

With music, you can download individual songs, full albums or the entire collection.


You can also set iTunes to automatically download items you buy from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Open iTunes Preferences, then click the Store icon.

Check which items you want iTunes to automatically download and click OK.


Make sure to enable automatic downloads on your iOS device too. Go to Settings >> Store and turn on the items you want to auto download.

Store Settings iPad

It’s not just items you pay for either. It will sync free content you download too. A groovy feature indeed!



  1. Trina

    December 2, 2011 at 6:36 am

    What if I have downloaded a previously purchased song and it shows it downloading and installing but never shows up on my song list, it still just goes back to the not downloaded mode. I have downloaded it several times by clicking on the cloud. What more can I do?

  2. gal

    December 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    im using iphone 4 running ios 5.0.1
    i cant see the purchased tab on appstore – itunes

  3. Brian Burgess

    December 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    You can get anything that you’ve bought or downloaded from the iTunes store on any device or computer that has iTunes.

  4. Anna

    April 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

    If you download previous items, do you have to pay for them again? I somehow deleted all the music on my i phone and have a new computer so currently have no music expect for in this purchased bit. Just hoping it’s not going to cost me the same again to download them all.

  5. Imago

    March 31, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Just followed your instructions but to no avail. When I click on the album nothing happens…. Also it says the full album downloaded but I only got three tracks. I loathe itunes …..

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