iTunes want: Send apps from the desktop store straight to a specific iOS device

There's a feature I would love to have from iTunes over and above everything else: the ability to send apps I buy on the desktop straight to a specific iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. What iTunes offers right now, automatic all-or-nothing downloads controlled on the device and not selectable via the desktop, doesn't suit me very well. Here's the difference:

On the Google Play Store, which is on the web, you can browse away to your hearts content just the same as you can in the iTunes Store on your Windows or Mac PC. When you hit the download button, all your Play Store connected devices show up in a list – the compatible ones do, anyway – and you select which one you want to send the too. That's great because sometimes I want it on a phone, other times on a tablet, and I can choose exactly which one it goes to.

Automatic downloads on iTunes doesn't let you do that. If you have it turned on on all of your devices, all of your devices get the app. There's no way to target a specific device from the desktop. (Also, buying on the desktop and waiting for an iOS device to automatically download the new purchase – for me, at least – seems woefully slow.)

The primary reason I want this feature is because I spend more time looking through iTunes on the desktop for apps than I do the App Store of my iOS devices. That's partly because I spend all day in front of a Mac, but also because iTunes on the desktop lets me see iPhone and iPad apps at the same time, in far larger quantities, and makes it easy to jump into the other content areas. And honestly, now that iTunes in the Cloud exists, I don't have any reason for downloading iOS apps to my Mac anymore, ever.

It's 2013. If I see an iOS app on iTunes on the desktop - or iTunes preview on the web! - I should be able to one-click buy it, and tell iTunes in the Cloud exactly which iPhone, iPad, or iPod to send it to, right?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

More Posts



← Previously

Apps of the week: Breach and Clear, IFTTT, Xscope and more!

Next up →

Sid Meier's Civilization V for Mac now 75% off in the Steam summer sale!

Reader comments

iTunes want: Send apps from the desktop store straight to a specific iOS device


On seeing the headline, I said to myself, "but you already CAN. There's a setting on the device to allow automatic downloads."

So what you really want is the option to send specific apps to a specific device. The headline needs to be clearer.

I agree with you on that one Richard. It would be nice to have that kind of control. Let's hope they don't take a year and a day to figure this one out.

Sent from the iMore App

I want to take it one step further. I want the ability to buy an app from my iPhone and send it to my iPad. I want to be able to browse iPad apps on my iPhone. I want to be able to purchase a kids app from my iPad and send it to the family iPad. I know I would probably spend a lot more if we had more flexibility.


There are a lot of times I'm browsing imore or similar sites on my iPhone, read an article on an iPad app, and be unable to see it in the store.