Offloaded App removed from App Store?

What happens if I offload an app but then it gets removed from the App Store? Would I be able to reinstall the app? Or is it lost forever?

I have the Interact App from Agile Tortoise that is no longer in active development. It is still useful for a couple things for me. It has also been removed from the App Store.

Would it also be possible to backup the app to get reinstalled later?

Go in to the App Store and tap on your profile picture in the top tight corner and then tap on Purchased. All the apps that you have previously purchased/downloaded are in there and available for download (if they are still compatible with your current i*OS version), whether or not they are still on the App Store for new purchase .

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You jogged my memory about another app.

Just tested by looking for wallaby. Unfortunately, it does not show up in purchased history.

I tested my use case:

  • Does NOT show up in purchased history on device where it was deleted or offloaded
  • on iphone where it was offloaded, I am NOT able to re-load it. I get this message:

offloaded wallaby

Hmm, looks like I won’t be offloading apps for now.

Would it also be possible to backup the app to get reinstalled later?

Did you save your email receipt?

You can back up apps to your Mac with utilities like iMazing, but even that app would not help you in this case, as it appears that the service the app requires is dead and gone, and the website walla.by resolve now to ThePointsGuy (owned by BankRate). Wallaby got bought out several years ago by BankRate, which doesn’t have its own apps, but ThePointsGuy is promising an app later this year.

It Depends.™

Sometimes an app can be “removed from sale” from the app store but still be available for re-download via the app store, usually via your “Purchases” section.

Sometimes things get removed even from your “Purchases”. Apple does this with older versions of macOS, for example.

You can still download Interact. I just verified this myself.

Unfortunately Apple doesn’t make it all that easy to search your purchase history¹ so I find it most useful to use a tool called “mas” in situations like this, because mas will let you install apps if you know their App ID number.

How do you find the App ID number? Well, if you can find an old link to the app, you can get it from there. For example, the URL for Interact Contact Scratchpad was

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/interact-contact-scratchpad/id1199660222?mt=12

See the very last part there? id1199660222?mt=12? That’s the part you want, minus the id and the ?mt=12 which leaves you with just 1199660222.

To install it via mas you would enter mas install 1199660222 in Terminal, which would go something like this:

	% mas install 1199660222
	==> Downloading Interact Contact Scratchpad
	==> Installed Interact Contact Scratchpad

Voilà! Now you have the app installed again.

This works on macOS.

On iOS it is much more difficult because Apple now wants you to download apps right from the App Store. Even if you have the .ipa file, installing it will be a challenge. The previously-mentioned iMazing would be my suggestion if you want to do that.

I have a script that looks at all of my installed apps from the Mac App Store and backs them up. The only downside is that it means I have to have a Mac where I can download/install the latest versions of all of the apps I own. It checks to see if there is a backup of the current version, and skips it if there is; if there isn’t, it makes a new backup.


¹ I really miss the old “Purchased” tab from the older Mac App Store. Not only did I find a list easier to scan than the “rows of icons” in the newer version of the Mac App Store app, but it also had the option to export the HTML of your purchases.

Fortunately I have an old Mac running El Capitan, which still uses that version of the Mac App Store.app. When I export the HTML from the “Purchases” page, I have another script which generates this web page: https://mas.luo.ma that includes the ID numbers for “dead” apps, and links to available apps. Plus I can use ⌘F to find apps by name.

When I am setting up a new Mac, I use that page and mas to reinstall all of the apps I want from the Mac App Store.

I just hope that Apple supports El Capitan’s access to the Mac App Store for a long time, because there’s no way to do this with newer versions of the app store. :disappointed:

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