UPDATE (5/8/2012): Apple has finally fixed this bug in the latest version of iOS (5.1.1). If you are seeing any of these symptoms, you may want to either follow the steps below or do a restore before installing the latest iOS update. Just to make sure that your device is clean.
Earlier I reported that I was having some serious issues with my iPad as well as my iPhone freezing for a short period of time after being woken up (power button or pressing Home button).
It appears that a solution has been found. Or at least a “fix”.
Doing a search for “Unable to Purchase” in Google, I was able to find a thread in Apple’s support forums that talked about this issue. Actually, the thread never mentioned any freezing issues, but it did mention grey icons as well as this “Unable to Purchase” dialog box popping up.
The full symptoms to this problem are:
- Device freezes soon after being awoken
- Some app icons would grey (with space for progress bar and title changed to “Waiting”), then the icon image would appear followed by the icons being fully restored one by one in quick succession (screen shot #1)
- After installing a Universal app from a different device or iTunes, I would be prompted for my AppleID password (screen shot #2)
These symptoms started up around January of 2012.
The solution or fix seems to be to remove a file “downloads.28.sqlitedb” from a folder on the device. There is an app called iExplorer (formally iPhone Explorer) that allows you to see your devices folder structure without having to Jailbreak the device.
Locate the folder “Media”, open it and locate the folder “Downloads” and open it. Inside the folder “Downloads” you will see several folders with what appears to be random numbers (I had well over 50) as well as a file called “downloads.28.sqlitedb”.
If you Jailbroke your device like I have for my iPhone. I found a package called iFile ($4.00) that allowed me to dig into my iPhone’s folders.
The above screen shot from “iFile” shows the “…/Media/Downloads” folder after deleting the many “numbered” folders as well as the downloads.28.sqlitedb” file. The sqlitedb file was recreated and is now much smaller than the nearly 780KB file it was.
I deleted all the folders in the “Downloads” folder along with the “downloads.28.sqlitedb” file. I turned off my device, then restarted it.
It’s been over 12 hours now since I deleted the sqlitedb file and I haven’t seen any freezing when waking my iPhone or iPad. I also have not seen any icons greying out.
I installed a couple of Universal apps and was not asked for my AppleID password and the apps appears on both devices.
So it appears that this sqlitedb file must have been corrupted. Folks in the forum feel that this corruption occurred when attempting to install an app and something happens to stop the download from successfully downloading. At that point, they feel that they started seeing the “Unable to Purchase” dialog.
I don’t know what caused this corruption, but I have had times when an App Store purchase started downloading but didn’t finish or I had to reboot the device due to the download freezing. (or at least appearing to freeze)
If you are having any of the above symptoms, check out the forum and see if your symptoms match what they were seeing. Then try the iExplorer solution/fix. I think you will find that it works for you too.