Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stop and Cancel an iTunes Download


Cancel and Stop an iTunes Download 

If you want to get rid of a download in iTunes that won't stop or that keeps coming back, try this.

Sometimes large files insist on downloading, and iTunes does not make it easy to stop them permanently. These instructions apply to iTunes 12.2.2 running on a Mac, but I hope they'll be of use to Windows users, too.

One solution is to let the download complete then delete the file. This is not always advisable, particularly for very large files that cause bandwidth or storage problems.

If you haven't managed to stop the downloads at all, the first thing to do is pause them. If you have already done that much, move on to Cancel the Download

Pause the download

The first thing to look for is the download indicator in iTunes itself. This icon appears in the top right of the window and is a downward arrow inside a circle.

Download Icon






Click on the icon to open a list of ongoing or queued downloads. You can then click to pause all downloads.

Download Ongoing










In this example, a download of Modern Combat 5 is ongoing. To pause it, I can click either the small pause button (two vertical parallel lines in a circle) on the right of each listed download, or the larger Pause Downloads button at the bottom.

If you have multiple ongoing downloads, clicking the larger Pause Downloads button will pause all of them.

Download Paused







In this example, the download is now paused. I can resume it by clicking either the small resume button (arrow in a circle) on the right of each listed download, or the larger Resume Downloads button at the bottom.

As with pausing, the individual buttons will resume individual downloads, but the larger Resume Downloads button will restart all of your downloads.

This allows you to pause downloads, but they will stay in your queue and will try to resume any time you relaunch iTunes.

How do you get rid of them?


Cancel the Download

The first step in cancelling the download is to open a Finder window on your Mac and navigate to

~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Downloads

In there, you will find a folder for each ongoing download. There will also be a file called list.plist in the Downloads folder.

(I recommend making a backup of all these files.
As always, proceed with caution,
at your own risk,
no liability accepted,
not my fault if you screw it up, etc.
Regular backups are a good idea anyway.)


Keep a copy of list.plist - copy it onto your Desktop or somewhere like that. You may need it later.

Quit iTunes.

Delete (or move) all the files and folders inside the ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Downloads folder.

When you next launch iTunes it will create a new list.plist file in that folder. If you want to make extra-sure that it doesn't recreate your download list, you can use the back-up you made of that list.plist file to create a blank version of the list.

To do this, open the file list.plist in a text editor such as TextEdit or TextWrangler.

You'll see that it lists the items in your download queue.

Delete those items so that you're left with this:



Save the list.plist file and put this new version into the ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Downloads folder.

Restart iTunes and (fingers crossed) you should find that there are no ongoing downloads.

If you moved rather than deleted the files and folders inside the ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Downloads folder, and you're satisfied that the fix has worked, you can now delete them.