iTunes Ate My Apps ... and How I Got 'em Back

Recover Lost iPhone Apps

By David Battino
September 10, 2009 | Comments: 20

Today I upgraded from iTunes 8 to 9, and when the new version launched, all my podcasts and iPhone apps were gone. iTunes had moved them (along with some of my music files) to a folder called "Previous iTunes Libraries."

Dragging the quarantined folders over to the new folder and relaunching iTunes didn't work. Renaming the library file and relaunching didn't work. (I'd hoped that would force iTunes to rebuild its database.) Even relaunching while holding down Command and Option didn't work, though it did apparently put iTunes into some kind of safe mode.

Syncing my iPod Touch with iTunes didn't restore the apps either, probably because I'd also installed the 3.1 firmware update. Instead, that erased all the non-Apple apps from the iPod. Double whammy.

In the past when I'd lost apps due to sync errors or using the iPod with multiple computers, I'd just redownloaded them — there's no charge for that — but I had no patience to do that for the 150-plus apps that had gone walkabout.

iTunes app resurrection
Turns out you can add wayward apps to your iTunes library the same way you add song files.

So I tried an experiment: importing the folder of apps the way you import music files. I selected File > Add to Library, pointed to the folder of apps, and iTunes loaded them back in! The technique worked for my 858 old podcast episodes too. I thought they might end up mixed in with the music, but they populated the Podcasts section of iTunes instead. I had to click the Subscribe buttons, but all the old episodes were there.

Lesson learned: Upgrade one component at a time — and try a few hacks before starting over completely. One might just work.

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I tried this but the App files were not saved to the Previous iTunes Libraries folder. The only think in there is a .lib file

any recommendations?

Mmm. I think you'll have to re-download the missing apps, though you might try searching your hard drive for them first. Look for the .ipa extension.

you might be able to transfer purchases from iphone, chich is a tab under file.

I did this but couldn't find my applications folder.
All my Apps went missing when I connected to Itunes. This has happened before with my music. I am upset at the fact that I have paid for most of them.
Do I need to press restore on itunes?
Or do I need to press my applications on Itunes as they are still there?
Please Help!

Oh it's ok.
Found out that under devices press ipodtouch then press aplications and ticked the box sync apps.
Then pressed sync in the bottom right hand corner.
Problem solved.:)

Oh it's ok.
Found out that under devices press ipodtouch then press aplications and ticked the box sync apps.
Then pressed sync in the bottom right hand corner.
Problem solved.:)

I had the same problem. Its been months since I connected my ipod to itunes. I can't seem to find my apps when I check on the applications tab. I was then afraid to sync my applications coz I thought that might worsen the situation and permanently delete all my downloads.. When I tried what Megan Bell did, I was able to restore all my apps now. Thank you so much for this thread!more power. ^_^

Thanks so much! I called apple and they seemed confused. Your advice fixed it in about 3 seconds. Keep it up!



The link to apple's webpage will tell you exactly how to do this.

It's a few short steps but in the end you'll be importing Everything back to your NEW iTUNES Version.


Thanks, Harlan. The link on that page to backing up your purchases is helpful as well.

Thanks. I was NOT happy when I found all my apps & podcasts were gone. Your advice has made my iphone world all happy again!

Very nice. exactly what i was looking for.
you made my day thanks!

thanks SO much for this, saved me a load of time needlessly re-downloading!

Thanks so much!! This worked for my music and app! Perfectly!!!

This was a huge time saver - thank you so much for posting!!

Well I got most back this way. The issue is that Itunes shows them ALL in about 10 folders. Iphone will not reflect that. So I in iphone, moved a couple into the same folder, then re-synced. the folders were put back. then tried again and shut off the phone. that seems to hold it.

There are still apps in page 11 on itunes not showing on the iphone.

I've read all the comments and tried all the suggestions, but I still can't even find my previous libraries, no folders under itunes folder, etc. Am I missing something (besides my apps)? Please help if you can!

help. i just did what harlan said, but no avail. i got my music back, but no apps. sigh. im scared to sync my ipod to my pc (like what megan said), because in the newest version of itunes that i have says " all applications your ipod will be replaced with applications from your computer. do you want to proceed?". double bummer. if there are no apps in my itunes library, what will it do to the apps in my ipod? help pls

Thank you so much! It was iTunes 10.4, but I had the same problem. Had to search to find the folder for my apps (it was under "My Music", but I selected them all and they were restored. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

THANK YOU!!!!!!! It was your suggestion to look for folders that did it!!!

To anyone wondering how I found them---Computer>Libraries>Music>My Music>iTunes>iTunes Media> Mobile Apps. Then I went to iTunes into File and Add folder....and imported the folder. Your folders may say something different, but there should be an iTunes folder somewhere on your compute. I have them all back and I am a happy girl!!!!!

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