How to Get a Refund from the App Store

Have you ever downloaded an app for your iPhone or iPad only to be severely disappointed because you found it not to be compatible with your iPhone or iPad (likely because it was designed for the other type of iOS device) or discovered it didn’t even download at all? You may have also accidentally downloaded a completely bogus app that somehow snuck its way into the App Store, such as the Fake Pokemon App.

How to Get a Refund from the App StoreThis app, called Pokemon Yellow, reached #2 in Top Paid apps, according to Gizmodo but wasn’t even designed my Nintendo. The biggest problem, though, is that this fake app — which, in case you missed what I just said, is a paid app — doesn’t even work. We won’t get into the problems about Apple’s app review process, but this app was downloaded by thousands of users who now are out cold hard cash for a useless app.

So what can you do if you unknowingly downloaded a fake app — or any other type of useless app — from the App Store? Luckily, Apple does have a little-known refund policy for iOS users who download apps that meet strict criteria, which we discovered thanks to Gizmodo:

  • I didn’t receive this application.
  • I inadvertently purchased this application.
  • This application does not function as expected.
  • This application is not compatible with my device.
  • I have another purchase or download-relation question.

To start the refund process, you’ll need to open your account in iTunes and then check your purchase history by clicking See All under Purchase History. Then, to report your specific type of problem, scroll down to find the button that says Report a Problem and then click on it. You’ll then choose the app for which you want a refund, and then select the problem you’re having from the list above. You’ll also need to explain the problem, so be sure you have a legitimate reason for requesting a refund and for selecting this specific reason.

Keep in mind, however, that if your real problem is fraud, this is not the way to report a problem. Fellow LockerGnome writer Matt Ryan has been fighting an uphill battle with fraudulent activity occurring with his iTunes account for several months after someone hacked his iTunes account and made hundreds of dollars in fraudulent app purchases. In this case, Matt says:

“In the case of fraud, Apple actually has a support line set up to deal with that issue. Though iTunes itself doesn’t have phone support (you usually have to submit a ticket via email on the support site), you can get resolution for fraud cases fairly quickly. At the very least, you can report the incident so Apple can have record of it if it comes to prosecution.”

These two processes are the best ways to get a refund from the App Store. Have you ever downloaded an app in error from the App Store and tried to get a refund? If so, were you successful? Feel free to share your stories in the comments.

Pokemon image via Kotaku.

Article Written by

Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.

  • Mike Bednarsky

    Apple’s refund policy has treated me well several times.  One time, I purchased an app that syncs photos from a folder on your computer with your iOS device (this was before Photo Stream).  The image previews of the app showed the pictures sorted in albums.  However, the actual app did not have support for albums; it simply threw all of your pictures together (which I hated because I had a million pictures).  I emailed the developer and they said that the app had album support once, but they took it out in a recent update.  I then submitted a refund claim and told Apple that the images are misleading.  Apple had no problem refunding the purchase.

  • Christine Leiser Schroeder

    I’ve used it twice I think – they refunded my money without any issues. 

  • Joshua Noyce

    this is very useful

  • Iosiffff

    good to know

  • Frederickrmarch

    cool I did not know that

  • Rcarteret

    I have gotten refunds in the past, but forgot how to do it. This is very useful. Thanks!

  • Rcarteret


  • MacGuru15


  • Bryan Miner

    I will be putting this to use next time i get an app that is trash

  • Monsoonmalabar

    When you choose ‘this application does not function as expected’, you just get a message telling you to contact the developer as it’s not Apple’s responsibility. You then can’t get your money back because you can only report a problem once! How do I get my money back if the app doesn’t functions as expected? I thought the whole point of the article was to answer this question!

  • Jonathan Wakeman

    This will be useful.

  • Curtis Coburn

    I don’t usually buy any apps. I’m a bit cheep there, but if I were to buy one, then I will read the reviews before I buy. If there are no reviews, then chances are, I won’t buy it.

  • David Boyd

    Does this work for songs bought in iTunes? Because when I opened my account in iTunes and then checked my purchase history I clicking See All under Purchase History. Then, when trying to report my specific type of problem, I scrolled down to find the button that says Report a Problem and then clicked on it. Then …. nothing happens. I wasn’t able to choose the song for which I wanted a refund.

  • Michael Murphy

    iTunes wrongly charged me without my consent and/or knowledge. In any State in the US that constitutes fraud and theft, does’t it? I plan to file in Small Claims because there is no valid reason for the denial, especially given the video I have that proves my request. Please check it out and let me know what you think.