Apr 18

The iTunes Password Prompt on the Apple iPad On the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, you’re frequently prompted for your Apple account password in the iTunes and App Store applications; this annoys me, but it’s a feature designed to keep unauthorized miscreants (thieves, furloughed inmates, members of Congress) from spending the account owner’s cash. 

But several days ago my iPad (or as I often call it, myPad) began prompting me for the iTunes password at random times, even when nowhere near iTunes or the App Store. I’d be in Safari, for example, learning the true meaning of fear and – ahem – iTunes password prompt.  It popped up often and seemingly without reason and was very distracting.

I assumed it was a bug and, so, added calling Apple support to my long list of to-dos.

Then yesterday I downloaded a podcast in iTunes and noticed a forgotten video, the first episode of V, timed-out and taciturn in my iPad’s download queue. Could this video attempting to complete its transfer from Cupertino to chip be the cause of the chaos? 

To test the theory, I allowed the large 1.2GB file to finish downloading.  After completion, no more password requests.

To test the theory that my first theory was correct, I began reading through the Apple support forums (which I should have done in the first place).  User philipkd also reached the conclusion that an incomplete download was the cause of the random password prompt. 

The findings of one tech writer and one departed sci-fi author, however, do not constitute facts, so if you’re experiencing the phantom password problem and you don’t have an incomplete download in iTunes or the App Store, please let me know in the comments.

Matthew Nichols, Products Editor

21 Responses to “iTunes Password Prompt Keeps Popping Up While Using iPad… Resolved?”

  1. john Says:

    Problem: iPad constantly prompting me for iTunes password

    Response: Not having any idea what the issue is, I google the symptom and find this page

    Result: I look in my download queue and am surprised to find a movie trying (and failing) to download. I let it finish. No more password prompt.

    A little scientific method, anyone? :) Thanks!

  2. JD Says:


  3. Brent Says:

    Same as above. Fine for 2 weeks then start getting prompted frequently and searched, found this page, looked and found uncompleted download in iTunes. Sounds definitive to me!

  4. Dennis Says:

    This problem has been annoying me for weeks. Sure enough… incomplete download. Thanks homey.

  5. Woody Says:

    I too have that unfinished download of V (though the SD version at only 552 MB). How funny is that? Lesson learned: download big videos on the Mac and sync later.

  6. Anna Says:

    OMG. Genius.

  7. Mike Says:

    I had this issue too…found this page…didn’t have any downloads in iTunes! However before I found this page I saw someone recommending signing out of your itunes account (settings->store->sign out) and a power cycle. tried that and immediately after starting back up, the darn thing asked for a password. So I went back to settings->store and this time clicked “view account” When I did that it prompted for my password AGAIN but this time loaded all my account info…Now it hasn’t happened since. So no downloads but signing out/in from your account my fix it too. Good luck!

  8. Justyn Says:

    Awesome…that solved my problem!!! I thought my phone was messing up big time!! Thanks!!

  9. Patti Says:

    That will teach all y’all fools for being impatient. You can’t quite do multitasking – yet. Bravo for figuring it out and posting it!

  10. Erkadius Says:

    I logged out of AppStore via Setting –> General, and then logged back in. Thanks, it stoppoed bugging eme

  11. Bob Says:

    I still have the glitch even after resigning in my account. It is still an incomplete download. I did not stop it at all. It has been an error for over a week now and the password keeps popping up.

  12. windul Says:

    I don’t have an unfinished download and the pop up comes up almost every 5 minutes. Any other ideas

  13. Argh Says:

    Argh! Why couldn’t the iPad just figure this out by itself. Come on, it’s charging all night with nothing to do than download and fix itself. Apple is slipping! This is so not like them. Imagine all the problems and questions.

    This problem has been driving me nuts. I understand why, but it’s stupid!

  14. Sarah Says:

    Same problem… no download. Have signed out and back in and hopefully it will fix itself. thanks :)

  15. Cliffie Says:

    Cheers Mike, that worked for me on my ipod touch.

  16. Paul Says:

    I clicked on “settings,” “store,” and “signed out.” That fixed it. Thanks!

    P.S. I painstakingly checked all Apps for an incomplete download. It took forever, and it didn’t work. I would try “signing out” first. It’s quicker. If that fails, try the app download thing.

  17. Lisa Thomas Says:

    I have an Iphone and an Ipad.
    My Itunes password will work with my Iphone, but NOT with my Ipad.
    Why is that?

  18. Brooke Says:

    I’m having this problem, but the thing is the incomplete download won’t complete, it keeps saying “Error downloading”, any suggestions? I can’t cancel it because it was in an album, and the rest of the album is on my iPod already.

  19. Brooke Says:

    Correction, it’s says “Download Error. Tap to retry”
    (I’ve retried nearly 50 times now but it’s still not downloading)

  20. Rick Says:

    Mike, BRILLIANT! The logout trick worked! I had tried everything else and nothing worked. Wish I had thought to
    Logging out and logging back in weeks ago.

  21. Josh Says:

    I have GTA 3 with a paused download, was updating it to 1.0 to 1.0.1, or something. I’m going to try and delete it now, because I am getting prompts from iTunes, randomly.

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