Monday, January 12, 2009

iTunes iPhone Applications menu grayed out?

One of our iPhones had a grayed out iTunes Applications menu.

It would update existing apps during a sync when something else was going to the phone (like music or videos), but if no other sync was occurring apps wouldn't update.

I couldn't tweak any of the settings that limit which apps went to that iPhone.

Our other iPhone was fine.

The answer was here: Apple - Support - Discussions - "Sync Applications" grayed out in iTunes ...

I'd enabled 'Restrictions' on this particular phone, which is now used as an iTouch. I was trying to keep the kids out of trouble. I bet I'd restricted application installation.

Removing restrictions fixed the problem.

This may not be so much a bug as a usability problem. I think iTunes should display a message in addition to graying out the Applications tab.

Update 5/16/09: This really is a usability issue. It happened again, and it puzzled me again. OK, so it's a dementia issue too. Fortunately I have my external memory to search (my blogs).

Update 8/3/09: I just installed iPhone 3.01 and noticed the Disable Restrictions menu has an "installing apps" control. I think that's new in 3.0, maybe even new in 3.01. Glad to see this problem taken care of!


  1. Thanks for posting this - I ran in to this problem too, and it was certainly not obvious!


  3. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. How do you remove restrictions... don't mean to be rude but couldn't you have included that in this post?

  5. I had the same issue, although I was completely stupid! All I needed to do was check the little grey box next to "Sync Apps" and the screen light up and I could move over the application to the Iphone and then hit apply. Voila!

  6. "Remove restrictions is in the iphone not itunes. Go to Settings | General | Restrictions to do this.

  7. I have an ipod touch that I'm having the same problem with... the apps screen on itunes is grayed out and won't let me check or uncheck anything. I've made sure that on the restrictions I left the "installing apps" on. I still can't do anything with my apps on itunes.

  8. Thanks so much for the help! I've subscribed to the feed just so I can see what else I can learn :-)

  9. THANKS Gordon, for such a clear solution to my problem as well.
    The problem even prevents right-clicking on the iPad in iTunes, and selecting "Transfer Purchases" (well it just do anything).
    So I was even afraid to restore my iPad from backup, as I had several new paid apps only on it (and a lot of new unpaid apps, which I liked as well).
    What a usability DISASTER!
    But I guess, I should have Googled before - I though Apple was my new friend... sorry Google, my faith will never waiver again!

  10. Still a goos post, helped me with one of the kid's iPhone 4 that have restrictions turned on.


  11. Worked perfectly - thanks!

  12. Thank you for the help with the grey icons....after clicking on the sync button at the top my icons are now coloured......but they are in a completely different sequence to the way i have them organized on my iphone. If I press the sinc button on the bottom of the page....will my phone stay how I have it or will it look likethe itunes screen? any help will be appreciated....thanks