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How to Pause an iPad / iPhone App Install (to Let Another One Finish First)

At some point between my two hour Angry Birds marathon today, I happened to be installing some updates when I noticed something interesting—you can pause an application update or install. Here’s how it works.

Note: Since this is something I’ve never noticed before, it might have worked this way all along and I’m the last to know about it, but I’m guessing there’s at least one reader that isn’t aware of this.

Pausing an Application Install

This works most effectively when you’re trying to update a bunch of applications at once, but you don’t really feel like waiting forever for one of them to finish. For example, there’s a huge update for the racing game that I wanted to play, but I’d also triggered an install of some cooking app…

Just hit either of the icons to pause the installation—since I want the racing game to install first, I pushed the cooking icon, and it paused, which let the racing one install.

And naturally, you can reverse it by simply hitting each of the icons until the one that you want is installing.

So was I really the last person to know about this? Let me know how many geek points I’ve lost in the comments.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/23/10

Comments (24)

  1. MK

    Didn’t know this either

  2. Locutus

    Wow. Cool! Never knew this one either!

  3. Schmidt

    Yea this is old news but useful tip none the less.

  4. w2

    Helpful. I just know from here too

  5. Ziggyann

    Didn’t know about it, thanks!

  6. Matthew Guay

    Wow, very cool. Never heard of that trick before…

  7. bassman22

    Didn’t know either. No need to worry about your geek points XD

    Thanks for the tip BTW!

  8. Prashant

    Thanks! I didn’t know this.

  9. theamazingpete

    I had noticed it but as I never read the manuals I just thought it was a feature.

  10. David Levine

    I found this by accident when I first got my iPhone and was installing a bunch of apps. I don’t think it’s documented anywhere.

  11. Manu

    Didn’t know! Thanks ;)

  12. Daniel

    yeah def old news but still good tip to know if you didn’t

  13. Vetri

    definitely old…. I’ve been using it for ages…

  14. domesi

    Honestly. I don’t know nuttin- but I done did know this one.
    Discovered accidently of course, as you can’t learn it from anywhere else.

  15. Jonathan

    Soooo cool… I’ll never believe it could be so easy… thanks!

  16. delukze

    I didn’t know about it but I never install more than one app at a time lol
    hey what’s that racing game called??

  17. Matthew Guay

    @delukze – That would be Real Racing HD for iPad …

  18. hman

    -3k gp

  19. Bunycat

    Excellent, Thx!! :D

  20. Roi

    This feature has been in the iPhone/iTouch/iPad since version the beginning of time.
    Nice to know we’re all finally getting on the same page :D

  21. Roi

    BTW, I think you just lost about 2000 geek points, but I can’t be sure you’d have to go to Geek God to check his scales.

  22. xanhellx

    -Awesome! But what if i want to cancel the update completely and do it later?

  23. Matt

    The tip is great but what I realy want to know is how I find the iThoughtsHD app? It does not come up in an itunes store app search.

  24. Alexi

    Wow!!!! that was helpful thanx

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