How do you unlock the App Store?

Quick Answers

The App Store may become locked or require you to sign in for several reasons:

  • You need to sign in with your Apple ID and password
  • Your Apple ID is locked for security reasons
  • Parental controls are restricting access to the App Store
  • There are payment issues with your Apple ID
  • Your internet connection is lost

To unlock the App Store, first make sure you are connected to the internet. Then try signing out and back in with your Apple ID. You can also check parental controls settings, update payment info, or contact Apple Support to regain access.

The App Store is the official marketplace for downloading apps on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. It provides safe and easy access to millions of apps to enhance your device. However, at times the App Store may become locked or require you to sign in again before accessing it. This can prevent you from browsing, searching for, downloading or updating apps.

There are a few common reasons why you may need to unlock the App Store on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:

  • You need to sign in with your Apple ID and password – If you were signed out or your session timed out, you will need to enter your Apple ID and password again to use the App Store.
  • Your Apple ID is locked for security reasons – Apple may lock your Apple ID if there were too many failed sign in attempts or if suspicious activity was detected. You will need to go through their unlocking process.
  • Parental controls are restricting access – If you have parental controls set up, the App Store may be restricted. You will need to disable restrictions to gain full access.
  • There are payment issues with your Apple ID – Outdated payment info or unpaid balances can restrict access until resolved.
  • Your internet connection is lost – The App Store requires an internet connection, so a lost connection will lead to lost access.

The good news is that in most cases, the App Store lock is temporary and easily fixable. This guide will walk through the common reasons the App Store is locked and show you step-by-step how to unlock it so you can once again download apps with ease.

Method 1: Sign In to the App Store with Your Apple ID

The most common reason for the App Store becoming locked is that your Apple ID signed out or your session timed out. The App Store requires you to be signed in with a valid Apple ID in order to access it.

Here is how to sign back in to unlock the App Store:

  1. Open the App Store app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
  2. You will see a prompt to “Sign In to the App Store”. Tap on this.
  3. On the sign in screen, enter your Apple ID and password.
  4. Tap “Sign In”.

This will sign you back in to your Apple account and should unlock the App Store. If you run into an error or can’t recall your Apple ID credentials, move on to the next methods for additional troubleshooting.

Reset Forgotten Apple ID Password

If you cannot remember your Apple ID password, tap “Forgot Password?” on the App Store sign in screen. You can then go through the process to reset your password.

Apple will verify your identity and send you a reset link by email or text to set a new password. Once changed, sign in with your new password to unlock the App Store.

Two-Factor Authentication

If you have two-factor authentication enabled on your Apple ID, you may be prompted for your password as well as the generated verification code.

The verification code can come via text, email, phone call or be generated in the two-factor authentication app linked to your account. Enter both your password and latest verification code to sign in.

Enabling two-factor provides an extra layer of security for your account and prevents unauthorized access.

Method 2: Unlock a Locked Apple ID

In some cases, Apple may lock your Apple ID due to suspicious activity or if there were too many failed sign in attempts. A locked Apple ID prevents any access to Apple services including the App Store.

Here is how to unlock a locked Apple ID:

  1. Go to from a web browser.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and complete the captcha verification.
  3. Select that you cannot access your account.
  4. Apple will walk you through the steps to verify your identity and unlock your account.

The exact process depends on your security settings, but may include confirming trusted phone numbers or email addresses, answering security questions, providing photo ID, or contacting Apple Support directly.

Once your Apple ID is unlocked, you will be able to sign in to the App Store again and resume using it normally. Enable two-factor authentication if you have not already to add an extra layer of security.

Method 3: Check Restrictions and Parental Controls

If you have restrictions (also known as parental controls) enabled on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, access to the App Store may be limited or blocked entirely.

Restrictions allow parents to control which apps, content and services are allowed on their child’s device. This can include disabling the App Store app, requiring a password to make purchases, or restricting access to certain app ratings and ages.

Here’s how to check if restrictions are causing your App Store lock, and how to remove them:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions on your iOS device.
  2. Enter your restrictions passcode if prompted.
  3. Review the enabled restrictions. Look for options that control the App Store usage and purchases.
  4. To remove restrictions, toggle off the enabled options or tap Disable Restrictions at the bottom.

Once restrictions are disabled, the App Store should become unlocked on that device. You can then re-enable certain restrictions if desired, while leaving access to the App Store and app downloads.

The restrictions passcode is different than the device passcode used to unlock the screen. If you forgot the restrictions passcode, you will need to reset it on that device.

Method 4: Update Payment Method for App Store Purchases

If your App Store access is restricted due to payment issues, you will need to update your payment method or pay any outstanding balances.

Here is how to check and update payment details for your Apple ID:

  1. Open Settings and tap your Apple ID banner at the top.
  2. Tap Payment & Shipping.
  3. Check if there are any unpaid balances. Tap to pay any amount due.
  4. Tap your payment method and make sure the details are correct.
  5. To update, tap Edit and enter a valid new payment method.

Once your payment details are up to date with no balances due, your Apple ID regains access to the App Store. You should then be able to search, download, and update both free and paid apps as normal.

If your payment method was declined, check with your card issuer to enable the transactions or add an accepted form of payment to your Apple ID. Debit and credit cards, PayPal, and gift cards can be used.

Method 5: Check Internet Connection

The App Store requires an active internet connection in order to function. Check that your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is connected to either Wi-Fi or cellular data so that you can access the App Store.

Here are some steps for verifying and reconnecting:

  • Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and ensure Wi-Fi is turned on and connected to a network.
  • Alternatively, turn on cellular data by going to Settings > Cellular and make sure Cellular Data is enabled.
  • Try loading a website in Safari to confirm your internet access is working normally.
  • If disconnected, turn Airplane Mode on then off to reset the connections.
  • Move closer to your Wi-Fi router or try switching between Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Once you regain internet connectivity by Wi-Fi or cellular data, you should be able to load the App Store. Make sure to pay attention to any error messages while trying to sign in, as they may point to an account issue rather than network connection.

Contact Apple Support

If you are still unable to unlock the App Store after trying the above steps, you may need assistance directly from Apple. Contact Apple Support via:

  • App Store app – Tap your profile icon > Help > Contact Us
  • – Sign in and click Apple ID > Get Support
  • Apple Support app – Available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
  • Call 1-800-APL-CARE (1-800-275-2273) – 24/7 phone support
  • Find a Apple Store – Set up Genius Bar appointment for in-person help

Provide details on your issue accessing the App Store and any troubleshooting steps already attempted. Apple can perform deeper diagnostics on your account and device to fix any underlying problems.


The App Store locking or requiring sign in for access is usually an easy fix. In most cases, simply signing out and back in with your Apple ID will resolve the issue and unlock access within seconds.

For other troubleshooting, double check that restrictions or parental controls are not blocking the App Store. Update your payment details if you have unpaid balances. Restore your internet connection via Wi-Fi or cellular data. Or contact Apple Support if the problem persists.

With millions of great apps to explore, getting unlocked from the App Store quickly is key. Following this guide will help you troubleshoot and regain access so you can continue enjoying apps on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.


In conclusion, here are some tips to summarize how to unlock the App Store:

  • Sign in with your Apple ID and password
  • Reset password if forgotten
  • Unlock locked Apple ID account
  • Disable restrictions and parental controls
  • Update payment method for purchases
  • Ensure stable internet connection
  • Contact Apple Support if needed

Following this guide, you should now understand the most common reasons for the App Store becoming locked or requiring sign in. Just work through each troubleshooting step until you regain access.

With the App Store unlocked, enjoy exploring over 2 million apps and games to find your perfect downloads for productivity, entertainment, creativity and more. It provides the best app experience across all your Apple devices.

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