Apple to Start Charging for Re-Downloading Apps Over-the-Air?


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The iPhone Blog reports that in the iPhone 3.0 beta firmware, users are being told that may not re-download applications over-the-air without being charged. The dialog box (shown above), however, does indicate that users may still re-download applications for free through their computer.

This is a distinct change from how things currently work. In the current version of the operating system, iPhones and iPod Touches may re-download applications both over-the-air and on their computer without charge.

While we first speculated that the reason behind the move is likely to prevent the illegal sharing of applications in the 3.0 firmware, further testing indicates that there is a size cutoff to the downloads. The feature may not be complete at this point, so we'll have to wait until the final release to see what the new rules become.
Article Link: Apple to Start Charging for Re-Downloading Apps Over-the-Air?


macrumors 65816
May 30, 2005
I can see the issue and understand why Apple would do it, but unless they allow over-the-air syncing with iTunes, it's going to be a major pain to some.


macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2005
Err, big deal. I don't think this will ever become an annoyance to me. If it prevents an illegal act, so be it. I've never had to re-download an app, anyway.


macrumors 601
Aug 17, 2007
For the iPhone only, I hope. Why would they charge you if you have an iPod touch for OTA when it uses Wi-Fi and not the Cell Network? Complete BS IMO.


macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2006
Calgary, Canada
What if, say, you were to download an app that sucked big time and then deleted it. However, an update was issued and you wanted to try it out and decided to download it over the air. Normally, iTunes tells you that you've already downloaded this content and to press "OK" to download it again. Would this new implementation force someone to have to pay for it again when currently they are not required to do so?


macrumors 6502
Apr 20, 2007
Minneapolis, MN
This is a little unfortunate. I've had to have my phone replaced at an Apple Store on several occasions and since I have MobileMe, everything but my apps sync over-the-air. It seems a little tedious to have to go back to my computer to reload apps I've purchased like JaaduVNC ($25), which is really nice for accessing my home computer while I'm out.

I guess it's not a problem for a majority of the free apps I use.

question fear

macrumors 68020
Apr 10, 2003
The "Garden" state
This sucks...I agree that most people won't notice or care. But that doesn't make it ok...and since there's no other way to have local storage of an app in the event that a delete/redownload is necessary, this is exceptionally draconian.

(If that last bit didn't make sense: on, say, a windows mobile phone, if I uninstall a program and reinstall it, the actual application file resides on my device or on a storage card. I can hard reset my device and have everything back up in under 10 minutes. If I can't do that AND I can't rely on an OTA download to get everything back, that really sucks.)


macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2008
i dont really like the idea but at the end it will be for the best. Making better choices on apps that i will delete the next day and actually having the apps i really want.


Thank you.
Sorry the for the big letters.


macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
California, USA
I've always been annoyed by this. If I purchase something on my computer through iTunes but haven't synced my phone, or vice versa, I wish Apple would automatically update the other device, or allow me to manually update it. For example, numerous times I have had a song on my iTunes but been away from my computer and had to buy it a second time to play it on my phone without having to go home and sync my phone.

As far as syncing to only one computer, I see people at school (college) connecting their phones to the public computers all the time. I'm not sure, but I think they've figured out how to use it as a flash drive also (does anyone know how to do this? It would be great if Apple could build that into the OS 3.0 to allow us to use our iPhones to double as usb flash drives).


macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2003
New York
well, I can't say I like it, but at least you can still dl it for free from iTunes.

besides, personally, I have never re-downloaded an app before.

still, it is kinda lame...


macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
Los Angeles, CA
besides, personally, I have never re-downloaded an app before.
i really wonder how many folks have had to. resync sure, but actually redownload. probably not that many. perhaps a few folks dumb enough to buy stuff direct to their iphone/touch and never back it up on a computer but hey, if you are that dumb you deserve to have to pay again.


macrumors regular
Feb 14, 2008
Austin, TX, USA

I have in the past redownloaded apps OTA because I've heard about updates that made them suck less, and I'm currently away from my home computer. I've already paid for the app, why should I do so again?

As far as validating it, aren't applications tied to the account anyway? Why not only permit running applications that belong to the 'current' account? This way if User B downloads the app using User A's login info, he has to be logged in as User A in order to use that app, but has to switch back to User B if he wants to use any of his other ones. This gets annoying real fast; thus you deter people from trying to abuse the system while not screwing the people who are behaving.


macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2008
So why let us log out of our account on the iPhone anyway? Who would even do that?

So we get a feature nobody wants for an inconvenience?


macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2009
I really doubt that. This affects virtually no one, and the general userbase wouldn't know/care.
Not sure if I can agree with that for 100% because I look at myself with my current devices and I often delete things just because they sucked initially, but later got better. My job requires that I'm driving or on planes literally 80% of the time so most of my downloading comes over the air and I depend on a lot of apps to get me through my personal and work day.

I'll agree that this probably affects a very small percentage of users, but it still affects people.

I don't know about you, but if I'm not using an app, I delete it. I don't need my phone cluttered with crap that I'm not using. But, just because that app sucks now doesn't mean it won't get better and I've reinstalled plenty that have made such a jump.

If this is true, though, means that it's just better to leave anything that you download on the phone despite whether or not it's currently being used in hopes that it gets better just for the sake of convenience.

And I doubt this has as much to do with DRM as it's probably a way for AT&T and Apple to help reduce network bandwidth and profit on it at the same time. Factor in how many downloaded apps there are and how many happen all the time and that's quite a bit of bandwidth. This is just a form of bandwidth control.
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