Who owns which apps you’ve installed in iOS? A better answer

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I recently answered a reader’s question about sorting out which app on his iPhone was prompting him for an account password. This can happen when you use a bypass to install—legitimately!—on your iOS device an app purchased by someone else. You can use that app, but iOS may prompt you to enter the Apple ID password for the account that bought it.

Reader jslove proffered a great solution in the comments that I need to bump out into a full article, because it’s an actual answer. What jslove noted is that in iTunes in OS X, you can select a synced or downloaded app and view the purchaser’s information.

Here’s how to go through apps methodically to see which were purchased by someone else and then remove those from your iOS device. This only works with iOS devices synced to a copy of iTunes, so you either need to set up sync to find this information or use the copy of iTunes you’ve already set up to sync with the device.

mac911 itunes app purchaser info

In iTunes, you can view information about a synced or downloaded app, including the purchaser.

  1. Launch iTunes.
  2. Connect your iOS device and sync it with iTunes.
  3. From the ••• menu at upper left, choose Apps.
  4. From the upper right, where it says Apps, click and select App List. This view is required to step through apps.
  5. Select the first app in the list, and choose File > Get Info (or press Command-I).
  6. In the info dialog, click File. You’ll see an entry for Purchased By that contains the buyer’s details.
  7. Click the right arrow at the bottom to step through every app until you find all the ones that aren’t registered to your Apple ID. Delete each one from iOS as you find them. (This arrow doesn’t appear except in App List view.)

Thanks, jslove!

mac911 itunes app listing

The App List view can reveal a variety of information about apps, and is the mode you need to be in to step through apps from within the Get Info dialog box.

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