Problems Updating Through Apple’s App Store

Have you ever had the App Store tell you there was an update for one of your installed applications, but then it wouldn’t let you update that application because it says you aren’t the owner? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me today.

It all started because I am trying to upgrade my existing software to the latest app versions before making the move to OS Lion 10.7. During this process, several applications I had previously purchased through the App Store were needing to be updated. At this time I had already upgraded all other software, including to OS 10.6.8, and all seemed well.


Turning to the App Store as my last step in the update process…

I selected my first app to update and received the following message, “You have updates available for other accounts. To update this application, sign into the account you used to purchase it.”

Now, this might would seem a reasonable error message had I been logged into a non-administrative account or some other account besides my main user account—however, I have but one account on my Mac. I also have only one Apple ID and it hasn’t changed since I created the account more than 8 years ago.

Instinctively I dismissed the message and tried to update another app but was met with the same error. Sure enough, none of my purchased apps would update through the App Store.

Perplexed I did the typically Mac cure-all and rebooted, ran dick permissions and tried again. Still no updates.


Feeling annoyed I went to the Apple Support discussion pages and knowledge base and came back empty handed. From there I emailed App Store Tech Support. Wow, bad idea!

Let me just say that the App Store Tech Support Team has got to be a collection of all the Apple Tech Support rejects because these guys can’t read an freakin’ email—much less troubleshoot a problem.

Feeling beyond pissed I made the call to Apple Phone Support, and that was comical. The call lasted 29 minutes and I kid you not—it took me the first 20 minutes to make the broken-english lady understand I wasn’t talking about the iTunes Store but the App Store, and that this was for my iMac and not some freakin’ iOS device. Apple Tech Support has official become useless.


Finally I decided to delete all my App Store purchases from my Mac and reinstall them from the App Store purchase history. It was an obvious fix but required me to delete and re-download the applications. I knew it would work, but in my stubbornness I wanted the freakin’ update button to do it’s dang job. It that too much to ask?

It worked and I have my newest versions, but will I have to do this every time?

Let’s hope not. After all, if Apple is going to serve as the middle man for all software purchases on the Mac—they dang well get it right. I don’t know about you, but I’m protective of my software. I paid for that stuff and it isn’t cheap!

Oh, and btw… Apple never made the suggestion to delete the applications and reload. They just kept referring to my iTunes account setting. Morons!

3 thoughts on “Problems Updating Through Apple’s App Store

  1. Philip Griffin-Allwood

    I had the same problem and used deleting to fix the issue – but to due the two deletes before updating I had to give administrator permission for the delete – thus I think the error message came because of the permission issue – the App Store moves the original app version to the trash, but does not “know” how to ask for the administrator password, instead interprets the error as an app store login error


  2. bcarter

    Very interesting take on the problem—it actually makes a lot of sense. I’ve yet to see an official solution to this type of problem in any of the Apple discussion forums, although it seems to be a problem that many have had. I was hoping that upgrading to Lion might would resolve this issue, but it has not.

  3. Philip Griffin-Allwood

    I recognized the permission error false message. I had seen it before when updates were being refused. In fact I had encountered it when upgrading to Ghostscript 9.04 in MacPS2PDF this week.

    When a software encounters the permission error, the first available error message is thrown up if a correct one cannot be found. When I tried your fix above and received the permission request to delete, I realized what had happened.

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