If the App Store isn’t working on your Mac, possible solutions include: force quitting, disabling any running VPN, restarting your Mac, using Safe Boot mode, updating macOS, signing out, verifying the linked Apple ID, and resetting the default keychains. It is also possible that Apple’s Mac App Store servers are down.
Some apps can only be found in the Apple Store, which makes it even more frustrating when the App Store isn’t working on your Mac, and it’s not clear why. Here are some fixes you can try to get the Mac App Store working again.
Force close the Mac App Store
Sometimes quitting an app isn’t enough. macOS tends to hang around and wait for the app to finish what it’s doing (like saving a document) before closing. If the App Store app crashed and doesn’t work, it may never close with a simple “Exit” command. In this case, you need to take matters into your own hands.
Right-click the Mac App Store icon on its dock, then hold down the “Option” key on your keyboard. You will see “Quit” change to “Force Quit” which you can use to close the app immediately. You can also force apps to close using Activity Monitor if they don’t work.
Once the application has been closed (you will no longer see a dot next to its dock icon to indicate that it is still running, and it will no longer appear in the process list in Activity Monitor), try opening it again. If it was a simple crash that caused the problem, the Mac App Store should be up and running again.
Disable your VPN
A VPN routes your traffic through an end-to-end encrypted “tunnel” to hide your browsing activity from your ISP, hide your IP address, and other privacy-related things. Sometimes a VPN can cause problems, so try turning off your VPN completely if the Mac App Store seems to be having connectivity issues.
Some VPN clients even allow you to make exceptions for some apps, where the traffic is not encrypted. This depends on the VPN service and client you’re running on your Mac, but if turning off your VPN fixes the problem, you might want to consider it in the future.
Restart your Mac
Restarting your computer fixes all sorts of problems, and a dodgy Mac App Store may be just one of them. Background processes sometimes stop working or become unresponsive, causing problems for apps or services that depend on them. Cold booting macOS restarts all of these processes, so it’s always worth a try.
Click the “Apple” logo, then choose “Restart” and wait to restart your Mac.
Try Secure Boot instead
Restarting your Mac in safe mode forces macOS to search for (and potentially fix) any pending issues. It also prevents software, such as startup items, from starting as they normally would. It may take a bit longer than a standard boot, but it’s worth doing if you run into unexplained problems that nothing else seems to fix.
The process to start your Mac in safe mode differs slightly, depending on which model you have. Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen, then choose “About This Mac” and pay attention to the “Chip” description.
if you have a Apple Silicone Mac with an M1 or later (models produced after 2020):
- Use Apple > Shut Down to completely shut down your Mac.
- Once your computer is turned off, press and hold the power button (Touch ID button) until “Loading startup options” appears.
- Select your startup volume, then press and hold the Shift key.
- Click “Continue in Safe Mode” to proceed with a Safe Boot.
if you have a Intel-based Mac (produced in 2020 or earlier):
- Use Apple > Shut Down to completely shut down your Mac.
- Once your computer is turned off, press the power button (Touch ID button) and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
- Sign in normally (you may need to sign in twice).
You can confirm that you are in safe mode by clicking the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen, then holding down the “Option” button on your keyboard and selecting “System Information” from the list. Click the “Software” heading in the sidebar, then look for “Safe” next to “Boot Mode.” (If you see “Normal”, you are still in standard boot mode; try again.)
Once you’ve booted into safe mode, restart your Mac as usual and try opening the Mac App Store again.
Update macOS to the latest version
Updating your Mac software can fix all sorts of problems with the App Store and other things not working on macOS. (Updates can occasionally introduce new issues as well.) You can do this in System Settings > General > Software Update in macOS 13 Ventura, or System Preferences > Software Update in earlier versions of macOS.
Here you can find two types of upgrades. There’s the standard “patch” that incrementally fixes bugs and improves system performance (for example, macOS 13.0.2), or you might see a much larger system update that upgrades your Mac to the latest version of macOS ( for example, macOS 13 Ventura ).
Sign out and then sign back in
Sometimes the problem is with your account and not with the underlying software. This may fix your problem if the App Store keeps asking for a password.
With the Mac App Store app open and in focus, click Store at the top of the screen, then choose “Sign Out” at the bottom of the list. Now sign in again using the Store > Sign In option.
The specific app won’t update? Check the linked Apple ID
Did you know that it’s possible to sign in to someone else’s Apple ID by going to Store > Sign Out/Sign In, download an app you’ve purchased, and then sign back into your own account? While this may seem like a solid way to share purchases with friends and family, it does present problems when it comes to updating apps.
This can cause the Mac App Store to constantly ask for a password to update an app that is linked to someone else’s Apple ID. If you don’t know the password, the app can’t update and the incessant requests continue. You will need to know the password associated with the account or simply remove the app from your Applications folder.
Check the status of Apple servers
Sometimes the problem is not on your end, but rather caused by a service interruption. Before proceeding to the next step, double check Apple’s System Status page to make sure the Mac App Store or associated services aren’t having a problem. If so, consider waiting before continuing.
Restore Default Keychains
There is some evidence (such as this Reddit post) to suggest that an unresponsive Mac App Store can be resolved by resetting the default local and iCloud keychains. In addition to the original poster, many other commenters confirm that the fix worked. This is a drastic move as you will lose all stored passwords and will need to log into the entire system again.
Another Reddit user describes removing all fingerprints associated with Touch ID and saved passwords, stopping the Messages app and disabling text message forwarding on a linked iPhone, disabling transfer, deleting Safari extensions and contacts appearing as “Unknown” in FaceTime. Over time, these issues have been resolved (and the associated settings can be re-enabled).
To continue, launch Keychain Access (search it with Spotlight or find it in Applications > Utilities) and then click Keychain Access at the top of the screen followed by Settings (or Preferences). Now press “Reset Default Keychains…” to continue.
Other ways to install software
The Mac App Store is just one of the many ways you can install and update apps on your Mac. Some apps are available both from the App Store and directly from the developer, and others can be easily installed using a service like Homebrew.