Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Mac App Store Updates Failing on Mojave

Jeff Johnson:

Many macOS Mojave users, including myself, have experienced frequent failures of App Store to update their installed apps. Whenever this occurs, App Store shows the completely unhelpful error message “cancelled”.


One of the most frustrating aspects of being an App Store developer is that whenever users experience a problem with App Store installs and updates, they contact us instead of Apple, even though developers have no control whatsoever over the App Store app. All we developers can do is press the “Release” button in App Store Connect, and then Apple has total control afterward. Even if you’re not running Mojave, I hope you come away from this blog post with the realization that developers are as much at the “mercy” of Apple as users are when it comes to the App Store app, and the only thing we can do to fix these problems is to complain to Apple and hope the company takes mercy on us.


Update (2021-01-01): Greg Hurrell:

Seen this many times since (begrudgingly) updating to Mojave.

Update (2021-02-19): Jeff Johnson:

Wow, I found a solution to App Store apps not installing on Mojave:

When the spinner gets stuck, force quit appstoreagent

Update (2021-03-14): Jeff Johnson (tweet):

It appears that Apple has fixed this problem sometime within the past 24 hours. There was no Mojave software update, so it must have been a server-side change.

See also: Howard Oakley.

23 Comments RSS · Twitter

What happens for me when an update fails is I get an alert saying a purchase (unspecifed) could not be completed.

Which might be a clue as to where the problem lies.

I've encountered this as well, and the fixes I googled (essentially deleting partial downloads) did not work.

What *did* work was to log out of iCloud and log back in.

Rob Griffiths posted a number of steps that worked for him last month:

Fix a “could not complete your purchase” App Store error https://robservatory.com/fix-a-could-not-complete-your-purchase-app-store-error/

Deleting the CommerceRequestCache directory from ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.appstore/ (as suggested by Dan in the comments section) works for me about half the time.

I encounter this problem frequently. I’ve put it down to App Store trouble. I’ll try the fixes described here — thanks.

Another persistent Mojave problem: impossible to open the Finder and select a file for uploading or attaching in Safari 14.0.1 and 14.0.2. Since about mid-November.

When I first started experiencing this, I tried the cache deletion dance and like Miles found it sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. More recently I’ve been doing a variant of what Fazal does: I log out of my account in the App Store app and log back in. Fairly simple and seems to work so far. (Not to excuse this issue, it’s been very frustrating!)

I just experienced this, then disabled a VPN, and the problem disappeared.

I’ve since switched to the “mas” cli utility to update apps on my Mojave Mac Pro. The initial move was the fact that the App Store cannot detect hardware, I upgraded my mid-2012 Pro to a Metal 2 supported graphics card to run Mojave, however Pixelmator would constantly fail because the App Store figured I didn’t have the supported hardware to run it. Issuing “mas upgrade” worked like a charm and Pixelmators support also confirmed this as a workaround.

I’ve experienced this issue on 3 different Mojave computers. I’ve also found that logging out and into my account in the App Store has been the fix that’s worked best.

I’ve had similar App Store issues where I can’t download a purchase I’ve just made, or install apps on a newly setup machine. Sometimes I just have to wait it out, and in the cases I’ve experienced so far, after a few days the issue resolves itself. It’s a frustratingly opaque problem, like most iCloud problems.

@Michael Leddy

I’ve had the same Safari issue (not to mention the MAS update problems described in the post). I’ve taken to using Firefox for uploads & file selection. Real pain in the butt.

Yep. Get this. Bloody annoying. Just retry it a few times--eventually it'll work. But it has forced me to turn off automatic updates of apps and I'll now have to respond to the notification when it appears, but at least it won't kill any processes before failing to update. Simply no credible QA, as per.

I've had the same problem, and last night I was looking for a solution and came upon a post that said updates worked after they changed networks. So I took my router and put it on HS+Area mode which gives a boost in reception, and the update worked immediately.

It seems for me at least that indeed the updates (and purchases) failing have something to do with a poor connection.

As Sebby said, "Just retry it a few times--eventually it'll work."

There's no magical solution. It has nothing to do with a poor connection; my internet connection is totally fine, and App Store is the only problem I ever see. If it was a connection failure, then "cancelled" is not the error message you'd see. This issue is entirely with Apple's software. People have suggested various solutions, but they're all just variations of "Just retry it a few times--eventually it'll work." No causation, simply coincidence.

I've had the issue on both wired and wireless. Initially, it would fix itself by retrying a few times, but in the past several months, no number of retries will fix it, just have to wait for whatever's wrong to sort itself out.

I can confirm that the error simply seems to be random and retrying does indeed help.
Until today I'd only seen it on my MacBook Pro with Mojave. Today however the same problem appeared on my iMac with Catalina.

It appears that Apple finally fixed this particular problem for Mojave users around 29 January 2021.

Experiencing this over the last day when attempting to install an app for first time on clean install. Does not work. Will eventually appear as a purchased app, but never installs. It just keeps spinning. Two clean installs of 10.4.6 on Mac Pro 5,1. Still persists.

I’ve tried multiple things

Log user out of appstore and back in.
Switch users in appstore.
Create new user in appatore.
Restart computer.
Login into appleid.apple.com in hopes of kickstarting things with a new 2FA.
Reinstall OS.

Only way I could get it to work today, was after initial fail, open Activity Monitor and Force Quit appstoreagent. After that app after app installed perfectly.

So I rebooted the computer to see what happens, and its broken again. Killing the appstoreagent lets it come back to life.

Whats going on that its started working for some people after a recent update, yet i have the latest updates and security fixes and mine doesnt work?

Today, I've spent almost two hours on the phone with Apple support, installed and re-installed Mojave several times, nothing helped.

What actually helped was this:

Update (2021-02-19): Jeff Johnson:

Wow, I found a solution to App Store apps not installing on Mojave:

When the spinner gets stuck, force quit appstoreagent

Thanks, much appreciated!

I'm no longer getting error messages when trying to update, but getting infinite spinners instead.


I was having the same issue. The solution was to kill the appstoreagent PID in Activity Monitor while the App Store app was active.

App store update icons just spun. Later they all showed the "download from iCloud" icon, despite all the apps being on the HD.

Tried all sorts, deleting caches, rebooting, logging in and out, withholding trust from the certificate mentioned at the end of this article (bad idea – computer was glacial after a reboot) https://macreports.com/mac-cannot-connect-to-app-store-fix/.

Force-quitting appstoreagent with the App Store open did the trick – thanks Jeff, Brian, Kevin.

Jeff's solution worked for me too:

force quit appstoreagent in Activity Monitor while the App Store app is still active.

Thanks Jeff!

Force quitting appstoreagent does nothing for me, unfortunately. This Appstore problem has now been going on for a week.

Force quitting appstoreagent does nothing for me, unfortunately. This Appstore problem has now been going on for a week.

In the past, I’ve found mas to be more reliable than the App Store UI.

It also offers mas reset, which can fix various weird things with the App Store.

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