“You can not update this software since you have not owned the major version of this software”

A year ago, I asked: when will the App Store learn to count? This question came from me getting App Store update notifications in iTunes and on updating ‘everything’ discovering that updates were still available. In the end, I tracked this down to there being multiple accounts on my machine—in order to see the updates for each account, I had to sign into the account, select Applications from the Library sidebar, and click ‘Check for updates’ at the foot of the Applications page.

For Apple, this is a pretty cumbersome process, but then a lot of things relating to iPhone and iPod touch sync are utterly dire from a UI standpoint (not least the dreadful Applications and Films tabs when you’re managing content on your device). However, I should have kept my mouth shut, because things just got a whole lot worse.

As of iTunes 9.0.3 (at least in my case), all ‘free updates’ for apps are now listed on a single page, but iTunes isn’t intelligent enough to figure out which accounts the apps come from. Therefore, ‘Download All Free Updates’ now cheerfully tells you ‘You can not update this software since you have not owned the major version of this software’ (nice copywriting, Apple). iTunes doesn’t bother saying which apps the dialog relates to, and so you have to click ‘Get Update’ on each individual app, to see if iTunes will enable you to download an update.

Presumably, Apple’s made this change to discourage multiple iTunes accounts on single machines. In my case, I have a US App Store account to redeem promotion codes so I can review apps and therefore promote them and the App Store. For reasons unknown, Apple has yet to realise that people outside of the US might like to have access to promo codes. However, plenty of other people use one Mac with several accounts, and so this change will trip them up, too.

So: well done, Apple. I’m hoping this is a bug, rather than a deliberate decision, but given Apple’s recent history on bizarre decisions relating to the App Store, it probably isn’t.

iTunes dialog

Thanks, Apple, for not noting which of my dozens of app updates I’ve ‘not owned the major version’ of. Also: sack your copywriter and whoever made this dialog.