App Store spirals out of control, reports fake updates

Chicago (IL) – Apple’s App Store application for iPhone has been showing lots of updates lately for
applications which are already installed. Many iPhone
users, including this author, have noticed the update-notify system has been behaving erratically over the past few
days. It reports updates as being available, even though they’ve already been installed. It also reports updates to old versions that have since been supplanted by newer ones. Users have flocked to Apple’s discussion
forum for a fix, through Apple remains mum on the matter. And while the issue does
not affect the handset in a major way, it’s an annoyance and one
which could eat into your monthly data allowance if you access and install the updates over the cellular network.

The issue with these fake application update notifications has seen no fix from Apple, though it is apparently
something wrong with the updates list maintained on the iPhone following the iPhone 2.2.1 firmware update. For instance, the App Store has been
constantly harassing me in past few days with anywhere between a few to
couple of dozen application updates. What’s even more peculiar is how all of the
updates reported are not even the latest ones, but sometimes for versions
previous to the latest installed versions. Having said that, I can report there is
no benefit to the user by re-installing these fake updates as they do nothing to stop the annoying messages.

App Store updates offered can be done individually or all at once by hitting
the Update All button in the Updates tab of the App Store on your
iPhone. Removing affected applications directly on
the handset or via iTunes on your desktop and them re-installing them
won’t help either as App Store continues reporting
outdated updates in random pattern. Hitting the Updates tab again in
the App Store application on your iPhone may remove the extraneous set of
old applications versions from the list, but they re-appear at a whim.
Similarly, re-booting the gadget doesn’t help either. While fake
application updates appear on the iPhone, desktop iTunes application
does not show them when you check for application updates.

appears that iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod touch have all been affected
with this issue, though it looks like only users who installed iPhone 2.2.1
firmware are reporting it. It is likely that the problem stems from a versioning information database on iTunes’ servers, meaning Apple
may fix it anytime soon without releasing a new firmware update. However, it
may also be an issue with the local App Store application on the handset,
in which case a firmware fix will be mandatory.

One user on Apple’s discussion forum
offered a solution that seems to work for some affected
users. If you are experiencing the same issue, try the following steps:

  • Make
    sure the iPhone is not connected to your computer. Restart the handset
    and make sure you don’t access the App Store application until the end
    of this procedure.
  • In the desktop’s iTunes, go to Preferences and click on the Devices tab to put a checkmark by the Disable automatic syncing for iPhones and iPods option. Click OK.
  • Go back to the Devices tab and click Reset Sync History.
  • Deauthorize your computer from the Store menu.
  • Quit iTunes and the re-launch the program.
  • Authorize your computer from the Store menu.
  • Go to preferences and click the Reset Sync History under the Devices tab.
  • Click
    on the Applications section in iTunes sidebar (if you can’t see
    the Applications section in the sidebar, turn it on in Preferences) and
    click on Check for updates at the bottom of the list of applications.
  • Now Connect your iPhone and wait for it to appear in the iTunes sidebar.
  • Check
    your syncing preferences in tabs shown when you click the iPhone in
    iTunes sidebar and set them to your liking, sync step #3 erased your
    syncing preferences.
  • Sync your iPhone.

This fix has worked for some users, though not all. And if you have any additional fixes, please post them here.