How to Download iOS Apps From iTunes on Windows

Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Featured Image2

When you want to install an app on your iOS device, you simply launch the App Store, search for the app, and go straight to downloading. Although you can browse a preview of the App Store using your favorite web browser, it’s not currently possible to download any apps to your Windows PC. Your only option is to use the older iTunes 12.6.5.3, which is the final iTunes version offering full App Store access and app downloading support.

Have an Android device? Here’s how you can run iOS apps on it.

Why Download iOS Apps to Your Computer

Downloading iOS apps to your computer may sound like a silly idea, but the following reasons may convince you to start an iOS app repository on your system.

  • Claim promotions quickly: App discounts are usually available for a limited time. Downloading iOS apps to your computer is a quick way to grab the app during a promotion if you don’t have your iOS device within reach. If the app requires a newer version of iOS or iPadOS that doesn’t support your device, you cannot claim the promotion through your phone or tablet, making this version of iTunes your only option.
  • Transition to new iOS device(s) smoothly: iTunes 12.6.5.3 can help you prepare the apps in advance that you want to install on your iPhone or iPad – even before you have the device! Every app you’ve downloaded or purchased with iTunes is added to your Apple account purchase history. Once you have the new device and log in to your Apple ID account, open “App Store -> Purchased” and download all the purchased apps.
  • Save time and bandwidth: Some iOS apps and games require more than a gigabyte of free space. If your device doesn’t have the available space, you can save time by downloading the apps to your computer. While the app is downloading, take the time to delete or offload apps from your device.
  • Retrieve assets: Some programs, such as WinRAR and 7-Zip, can unpack downloaded iOS apps (.ipa files). IPA files contain a special file called “Assets.car,” that you can extract with another third-party tool like acextract to see other app assets. Some of the larger iOS apps may contain promotional images, audio, and videos. Extracting an IPA file helps you understand the structure of an app or game. You can also use these assets for your personal projects or enjoyment.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Mobile Applications Folder

Alternatively, you may want to learn how to run Android apps on your PC.

Remove Your Existing iTunes Version and Settings

If you already have iTunes on your computer, you must uninstall it, as two separate versions of iTunes cannot coexist in Windows. Deleting or moving your existing iTunes settings is also necessary, as they will prevent iTunes 12.6.5.3 from launching.

Note: skip this section if you have never installed iTunes before.

  1. Right-click the Start button and go to “Apps and Features” or “Installed apps.”
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Start Power Menu Installed Apps
  1. Type “iTunes” in the “Search apps” text box.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Win Settings Apps Installed Apps
  1. Click the triple-dot icon next to the iTunes entry and click “Uninstall.” Click “Uninstall” again, wait for the process to finish, and reboot your system.
  2. Press Win + R on your keyboard or right-click the “Start” button and go to “Run.”
  3. Type %appdata% in the Run dialog and click “OK” to launch the roaming AppData folder.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Run Appdata
  1. Move the “Apple Computer” folder to any other folder on your computer. You may also rename the folder to anything else if you wish to keep a backup of your iTunes settings after installing iTunes 12.6.5.3.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Win Explorer Move Folder Apple Computer
  1. Open your Music folder from the Windows Explorer address bar, sidebar, or Run dialog.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Win Explorer Address Bar Music
  1. Move or rename the “iTunes” folder as well, as iTunes won’t load if it tries to open an iTunes library created by the newer iTunes version you recently uninstalled.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Win Explorer Move Folder Tunes

Tip: find out how you can delete hidden apps from your iPhone.

How to Download and Install iOS Apps on Windows

  1. Download and install iTunes 12.6.5.3 (link to .exe file).
  2. Launch it from the Start menu after successful installation.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Setup
  1. In the iTunes window, go to “Account” in the menu bar and click “Sign In.”
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Account Sign In
  1. Enter your Apple ID and password in the text boxes on the pop-up dialog and click the “Sign In” button.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Sign In Store
  1. If iTunes requests a verification code, authorize the login using the code that appears on the iOS device that is linked to your Apple ID.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Login Verification
  1. Go to the drop-down box below the menu bar and click the “Edit” menu to expand it. Tick the “Apps” checkbox and click “Done” to add the Apps section to the menu.
  2. Click “Apps” in the menu to go to the Apps section.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Edit Menu Apps
  1. Go to the “App Store” tab to browse the App Store or use the search bar and type in the app you want to download. If you know the app developer’s name, you may instead type that.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Appstore
  1. Click the app’s icon to view the app’s page.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Search Results Acdsee
  1. Click the “Get” or “Download” button underneath the app’s icon to begin the download. If you get a password prompt, enter your Apple ID details again.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Acdsee Pro Description
  1. Check the download’s progress by clicking the download arrow button next to the iTunes search bar.
Itunes Win Dl Ios Apps Itunes Appstore Acdsee Pro Progress

While you’ve just learned how to download iOS apps to your PC, you can also turn websites into desktop apps in Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I transfer iOS apps from my PC to an iOS device?

Since iTunes 12.6.5.3 cannot connect to modern iOS devices, you must resort to third-party tools like 3uTools to install a downloaded iOS app to your iOS device.

Where do iOS apps from the iTunes store get downloaded to in Windows?

iTunes stores downloaded iOS apps in the “iTunes Media” folder. Go to “Edit” on the iTunes menu bar and click “Preferences -> Advanced” to see the full path of the iTunes Media folder. Input that path to the Windows Explorer address bar and open the “Mobile Applications” folder to see the IPA files.

How can I download free iOS apps without repeatedly entering my Apple ID password?

Go to the “Edit” menu on the iTunes menu bar and click “Preferences.” In the “Store Preferences” box, go to the “Store” tab and set the “Free Downloads” option to “Never Require.”

Do I need to wait for iTunes to download the entire app to claim a promotion?

No. Once the app’s “Get” button changes to a “Download” or “Downloading” button, the app’s license is forever bound to your account, even if you pause the download or close iTunes.

Does Apple continue to provide support for iTunes version 12.6.5.3?

No. Apple only provides support and security patches for the latest iTunes version. Additionally, it will not recognize any recent iPhones or iPads you plug into your computer, including Apple devices running iOS 12. If you want to keep App Store functionality on iTunes version 12.6.5.3 and wish to manage your iOS devices via iTunes, you must install the latest iTunes version on another computer or virtual machine.

Will iTunes 12.6.5.3 automatically update to the latest version?

No. Although the update options remain present in the Preferences and Help sections, Apple has disabled the built-in updater in iTunes 12.6.5.3.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by John Ruiz.

John Ruiz
John Ruiz

John is a technology writer with more than 12 years of freelance writing experience. He first got into computers learning MS-DOS 3.30 and has used every single version of Windows including Longhorn.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox