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Get rid of false iTunes application update icon that won’t go away

Get rid of false iTunes application update icon that won\'t go away

Users of Apple’s iPhone or iPod touch may come across a minor but harmless glitch that causes iTunes to always say there is one app update available.

I guess I could be considered one of the lucky ones since I haven’t run into any of the serious stability issues others are complaining about with apps on their iPhones and iPod touches. Everything has been running smoothly with the exception of a pesky notification in iTunes that never goes away. While it doesn’t cause any loss of functionality, it is a pain to look at.

Get rid of false iTunes application update icon that won't go away

Whenever iTunes is open, it will always display the icon that signifies one of the applications I downloaded from the App Store has an update available. It’s a great, useful feature to keep up with the latest releases… when an update actually exists. However, when I go to check it out, iTunes greets me with a contradictory message that claims I have “no updates currently available.” That could certainly get confusing.

No matter how many times iTunes is launched and quitted or how many syncs with my device are completed, the false app update indicator remains. For anyone else experiencing this mysterious bug, there is an easy solution to eliminate it.

Sync your iPhone or iPod touch to ensure everything is up to date, disconnect your device, and delete all the programs from your Applications directory in iTunes. If you’re not sure how to do this, right click on each app and select Delete. Once all of your apps have been removed from iTunes on your computer, reconnect your iPhone or iPod touch to re-sync.

Get rid of false iTunes application update icon that won't go away

iTunes will warn you that your device has items on it that are not currently in your iTunes library. Be sure to select Transfer, otherwise you will lose all of your applications! When you do, everything that you deleted from your computer will be copied back just as it was, minus the annoying one (1) that wrongly claims you have updates available.

35 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Hi – I tried this solution, hoping it would finally get rid of that bastard “1” – but it came back, right as the apps were being transferred… perhaps there’s a discrepancy between one of the apps and the App Store’s version number? Perhaps it’ll go away with time… Thanks.

Does not work all the time.

This actually isn’t a glitch. This will only occur if another user has ever made a purchase on your iTunes library. See, the secret is that the “check for updates” button only checks for updates for the iTunes account that is currently signed in. iTunes however will always display the number of updates available even if the original purchaser isn’t signed in at the time. This is the reason why some of you always see the number “1” next to applications.

The correct way to fix this is to “get info” on the first application on your list and look at the summary. Pay close attention for the account that purchased the app. Keep clicking next until the purchaser changes. Once it does, sign intothat account an check for updates again. Once you do, the one update, for that one app will be displayed and you update in peace and the number 1 will dissappear.


Sent from my iPhone.


Thanks for your valuable input. However, while you may be right in some cases, others may be different. I’m the only user on my machine, so your scenario wouldn’t really apply to my situation. Nonetheless, one of the iTunes and/or iPhone firmware updates appears to have resolved the issue for most folks.

I tried both suggestions. Neither worked. I have the number 4 designating the number of updates needed. It is very frustrating to see this, wondering if there are updates that should be made.

Okay….Here’s the deal: When you open up your applications into a separate window (by double clicking on “applications” listed under the Library menu of your iTunes, notice down in the lower left portion of the window the hyperlink for application updates. Click on that and follow where they take you to download the updates. Try it. It worked for me.

Thanks Linda, that worked perfect.

Michael Prewitt
June 2nd, 2009, 10:00 PM

I had this problem. The problem for me was that I had always used “” as my account (I thought!), but somehow after doing a clean install of Windows and reinstalling iTunes, etc., all my old apps were under the username “username” (with no on the end). Once I changed back to using without the, I could download all the updates.

jtjdt is right!!! I had 1 app that was downloaded with a different username. As soon as I deleted that particular app, the #1 disappeared FOREVER! The original post is wrong, don’t waste your time, just follow jtjdt’s advice.

hey everybody here that says this doesnt work. it does work. you have to go through each application and find which ones were logged in under a different user name. The purchasing ID has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the log in. I went through ALL my apps and found the ones that were really old and logged in under a different ID. I deleted them and now the updates indicators are gone! thanks for the tip. everybody curious about this give it a shot it will work! happy iphoning or poding!

test worked so I will try to post again how to gid rid of the applications updates available number. There must be at least two issues here because having tried JTJDT’s method which did not work becuase I had never used another purchasers name, etc. I tried Linda’s method which DID work. A little clarification might help others. Perhaps due to iTunes updates the LINK Linda refers to is on the lower right side of the screen, on my Windows XP laptop, which opened after clicking on “applications and whatever updates number you are showing” which is located in the upper left area of iTunes below Audiobooks and above Radio. The updates available link on the bottom right of the newly opened screen will have the same number, for me it was 2, just to its left. Note: just to the right of that link you will see another link “Get More Applications” which you can ignore as it just takes you to the app store. Now click on the # updates available link and a page populated with the apps with available updates will appear. Click on the grey “Get Update” radio button and small window titled “Applications Can Not Be Purchased With Shopping Cart” will appear which has a “Buy” and a “Cancel” radio button. Even though all my apps had FREE to the left of the “Get Update” button you will still get this message. Click on “Buy” and another small window asking for your password will open. Provide your password and the update will proceed and your app number will decrese by one. Keep updating the apps which have available udates and the nuber will be be gone when you complete them all. Hope this helps

should have indicated to double click applications (on the upper left side of iTunes)not a single click, but not a right click, in the above explination

***This works***

The suggestion to check purchases made in other users was spot on as well as user who says open Applications window in new window. I discovered that one of the apps was purchases using my husband’s itunes account. I didn’t have to sign on to his account though to update it. If you follow the advice above by a user to double click on Applications to open in a new window, you will see the link at the bottom right to update your applications and that will work for all applications.

Ok, this worked for me. I did this,

1. Click on Setting app
2. Click on Store
3. Sign out/ log off
4. Hit the home button
5. Click on App Store application to get updates while signed off from app store
6. It showed one update missing, so i installed it again, and then icon of “1” or “2” updates went away.

Therefore, I think signing off and signing on fixes the issue. It did for me.

Thanks. This bug been driving me mad for ages.

Here’s what worked for me:

When I used “Get Info” on the app, I noticed it resided in the Trash folder for some reason. So I deleted the app from the iTunes library. The Update notice stayed, and after I re-downloaded the update one last time, the app was stored in its proper place again, and the update notice was gone.

Linda above is right. There are actual updates that you can get by opening the applications into a separate window, clicking on updates available at the bottom and then going back to the iTunes store where the application updates will show up and can be downloaded. Thanks Linda!!

jtjdt is right! I have an old school account that was the “” and it looks like then Apple went to Mobile Me, it changed the name of the accounts that are associated with the purchases! just sign in the old way and update. fixed.

The same issue happened to me after buying apps on 2 different stores. I had to make the update being to the stored where I did the purchase initially.


I have this issue but on the iPhone : it says there are 2 update available though they have been downloaded already.

none of this worked for me. i have clicked the apps link, the lower right and the upper left. still it says 6. i have no other sign in. i have only one computer. i have 6 on my iphone and when i click on the app needed to update, it’s too big, and says i need to sign in to itunes. but the update is not there. i can update from my phone when the app update is not too big. this is so annoying.

maybe you should check your mail library trying to find any sign of another account.
I’ve found one account i did not know about, but still is a real one.
I do not remember the password, though. :)
Actually i’ve 3 accounts, uing only one.
But still I have that f*cking number “3”… ;)

jtjdt’s method worked for me! cheers mate

It worked! :) finally after 3 years that annoying update is now cleared! thanks!

Thanks Julie, I was able to identify the app that was causing the difficulty by checking updates available on my phone ( i usually never update that way) – i checked out the app and it had been purchased using the same account as my other apps but using a credit card under a different name in a different store. i think the different name was the deciding factor. it was a free app so i just downloaded it again form my usual store. dont know if i could have done something about it if it had been a paid for app

I also used the “Get Info” method and it worked for me. I switched my view of the apps list from “Apps” to “Genres” at the top of the Apps window. Then, when looking at each genre list individually, the “Get Info” window has a “Next” radio button at the bottom left which makes it faster to go through all of the apps. You have to go back out and then into the next genre list, but overall it was very easy and much quicker than pulling up the Get Info one at a time.

Thanks for the help! My specific problem was that me and a friend had tried to copy an app over from one iPhone to another (a free app), and it ended up in my iTunes directory but under his account. The app never worked with the transfer, so I just had to download my own. But I guess I never deleted the other file. Once deleted, the “1” immediately went away. It’s been there for over a year. Sweet!

At last, after years of searching (yes, I am serious) I finally discovered this thread and iTunes now shows the right update number. Shame shame on Apple for not having a simple right click tell you that there are 2 updates available for another user account than the one currently logged in. How hard would that be.

Deleting all apps from the itunes library then transfering them again from my phone worked like magic.
Thank you.

I have 3169 apps in iTunes coming from two accounts. Needless to say, the suggestion described here is not even remotely possible to use. Sigh…

I resolved this problem by:

1) in iTunes look at top left corner (just right of “ping”) there is your account username. You may be under another user name. This is why they are not syncing properly.
2) click on account & sign out
3) log back in using correct user
4) sync
5) resolved issue

In my case the one app (Pulse News) proved to be in my folder twice. There was an old version still there, besides the updated one!
Resolution: Right click on the app’s name in the list of apps and click on ‘show it in (windows) explorer’. You’ll find there are two versions of the same app. Delete the oldest.

Thanks Linda! It worked perfectly.

The “Get Info” worked PERFECT!!! It is sad we had to do all this investigating to get rid of a pesky problem but it worked great!

Thank you. This was so annoying

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