Home » Apple » Fix Mac App Store Download Issue While Transferring Apps from One Mac Machine to Another

Mac App Store Download is an appealing aspect for many of the Mac users, because it brings the ease of transferring purchased software from an old machine to new machines. Although, it’s simple to transfer a purchased app from your primary Mac device to the secondary one, but sometimes it becomes tough to do so. Moreover, it doesn’t show the reason of the problem.

You issue gets complicated if you have deleted the app and app store shows it as installed. It creates frustration if you have deleted the app intentionally and still get the notifications to update it, even though you have removed it from your computer.  Unfortunately, it seems difficult to detect the root cause of this issue because Apple doesn’t even send you an error message.

The same issue was noticed when you share your iMac with others and you delete some apps. The app store will show those deleted apps installed even to the others who share your iMac. They’ll receive alert messages to update the deleted apps because of some errors, even if the install was removed from the account and if you open the App Store window, the list of updates will be empty.

In this case the problem may belong to the operating system. It includes the OS and it uses Spotlight, to determine in what way what apps you have installed. In this case, the system created an incorrect index and thinks that an app is installed. This error may be fixed just by simply as re-indexing.

This document belongs to the solution of troubleshooting this issue; you just need to follow the step by step instruction:

1. Click on the Apple icon and select System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy tab.

mac-12. Click on the + and selecting the HD to add the Macintosh HD (or whatever you might have renamed your primary HD) to this list then close the System Preferences window. This will convey the OS X to stop indexing this drive. While doing so, no files will be deleted; it’ll just reset the index which the system uses to quickly identify files for searches.


Next, open the Privacy tab.

3. It’ll be enough to close the System Preferences window should be enough, but verify that OS X stops indexing. To be sure, it’ll be better to logout of your account and log back in. In the top left of the menubar, click on the Apple logo and choose Log Out. Then Log back in.

4. Navigate again the Privacy tab of the Spotlight pane in System Preferences, choose your Macintosh HD and click the – sign to remove it. Now close the System Preferences window. The computer will start to re-index everything on your HD.

You can verify that is this happening in the top right of the menubar by looking at the magnifying glass, which will temporarily display a dot in the center. This might consume some time that varies according to the size of your drive. If the process gets rather intensive on the processor, you may hear the sound of the fans spin ups. Wait till the time the dot has disappears from the magnifying glass icon before proceeding further and continuing to use your system.

5. Open up the Mac App Store and click on the Updates tab to verify that the missing apps are no longer asking for updates on other user accounts.

Apps Incorrectly Appears as Installed

You might experience an issue where the Mac App Store incorrectly displays that a particular app is currently installed so you’re not allow you to download it. There may be numerous reasons why this might happen.


The Mac App Store may say that an app is installed, even if it actually isn’t.

First, make sure that the app isn’t installed on an external drive or other partition. In case you have another drive plugged in, the Mac App Store will distinguish that you keep it already and are not allowed to download it again. If this is the case, relocate the apps by dragging and dropping them onto your primary drive. Now eject and unplug the external drive, then permanently remove the app by trashing the app and deleting the trash also. Now re-open the Mac App Store and explore the app’s page.

The root of the problem may be a bit deeper, if you don’t have the app lurking elsewhere. To fix the issue, reset some caches and property lists (also known as “plists”). To perform this task, you need to trash a few folders and let OS X rebuild them.

You can either use a few simple Terminal commands or navigate to the folders. To save time, it’ll be better to use Terminal commands.

  • Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  • First reset three plists. Copy the first line, paste it into your Terminal window, and press enter. Repeat the same for the remaining lines, (again, separately).
  • mac-4Next, reset two caches. To do so, again copy and paste each line separately into Terminal, and press enter after each terminal command.



Keep in mind to enter each line separately, followed by the Return key.

  • Comply the above mentioned instructional steps, regarding to reset the Spotlight index.
  • Restart your Mac machine. Explore the Mac App Store to find and download the desired app.

You may have come across these problems separately, but their solution is provided in an easy way to troubleshoot this common problem with Mac App Store. Both problems are rooted in errors in how OS X detects what apps are installed. To fix these issues, you can simply use Terminal to reset the files because the operating system makes the use of those files to determine the deleted downloaded file.