Mac App Store – “You have updates available for other accounts” bug

I had a rather major issue with the Mac App Store concerning the updates. In the Purchases tab, I could see the apps I had previously downloaded but when I clicked the Update button for each of them, I would get the error message “You have updates available for other accounts…” inviting me to sign in into the “other” account. The problem is that I only have 1 Apple ID and always used this ID.

After contacting the Apple Support, all I got was a totally useless response about re-installing iTunes and that might fix the problem. Even though I knew iTunes had absolutely nothing to do with the Mac App Store, I still followed their instructions and re-installed iTunes. Guess what, it didn’t fix the issue at all. Thanks for your support Apple…not. A few posts in Apple support forums have suggested deleting the apps and re-install them. While it works, it’s not really convenient.

It turns out the issue is related to Spotlight. Apparently, the Mac App Store use the Spotlight index to find which applications are installed on your Mac. So if for some reasons the spotlight index is empty, corrupted or disabled, the Updates tab will always be empty and you’ll get the error message discussed above every single time you try to update your apps. Depending on what makes your spotlight index buggy, there’s various fixes:

Solution 1 – Spotlight works but the index is incomplete or empty:

1) Open System Preferences > Spotlight
2) Under the Privacy tab. Add your Macintosh HD (or whatever your main hard disk is called) to the list.
3) Close the window. Wait a few seconds. Then go back to Spotlight settings and remove the entry you just added.
4) The spotlight index should now begin to re-index completely. (A dot will fade-in/out inside the Spotlight icon in the taskbar)
5) Wait for it to finish and then launch the Mac App Store. You should now see updates in the Updates tab.

Solution 2 – Spotlight indexing is disabled (frequent on Mac OS X Server)

1) Open a Terminal window.
2) Type the following command: sudo mdutil -i on /
3) A message saying “Indexing enabled.” should appear after a few seconds.
4) Close the Terminal window and the Spotlight indexing should now start automatically. (Again, a dot will appear inside the Spotlight icon during the indexing process)
5) Wait for it to finish and then launch the Mac App Store. You should now see updates in the Updates tab.

It would be a good thing for Apple developers to check if the spotlight index is OK before displaying a completely useless error message to the user…

  • Alireza Banijani

    You’re a hero, man! Same problem here, same story here.
    Apple expert answered some craps which had nothing to do with the problem.

  • R Charles

    Thanks for this helpful post it has also solve my issue.

  • BJ Miller

    Awesome! It worked, this had been making me mad for a while, and I did not want to have to keep uninstalling apps to reinstall them again…like you said, not convenient at all. Thanks for this fix!

  • http://Website Marucins

    Thanks so much!

  • Chris Weiss

    Excellent tip! Worked for me as well. It’s worth noting that it took almost 8 hours to re-index my iMac drive, so this is not exactly a “quick” fix. It did solve a few other Spotlight issues I was having (Spotlighting not finding things I knew were there).

  • Rivanor (web_knows)

    Thumbs up! This tip also solved this very problem I was facing.

  • John

    Thanks a lot, it would have never crossed my mind!

  • iDiabloX

    The thing is – I have disabled Spotlight, Dashboard, Crash Reporter and Finder – Because all together consume a lot of resources, and since all of them have been disabled – my Mac runs more smoothly. I hope Apple is going to fix the updates issues on the App Store – because I, and many others, may prefer to disabled Spotlight for performance issues – Not to mention Spotlight is also a security and privacy concern for many security experts.

  • s k

    hey guys i tried the above and it didn’t work for me, it has only come about since i installed the osx lion update, this is the response i got from apple.
    Thank you for getting back to us with the information requested. (sent them the list of apps in terminal)

    This message is caused, by having Apps on your computer; that were acquired from a different source, other than from the Mac App Store.

    Since the list you provided, is of items all found in your purchase history; my recommendation is to delete all of the Apps from your computer, then re-download them (Mac Apps can be re-downloaded, at no additional charge).
    really……. very dubious about this working
    what do you guys think?

    • Nick

      The above solutions were for Snow Leopard. On Lion, it might be caused by a different issue. Don’t bother contacting Apple support though, they are clueless and provide irrelevant solutions.

  • AR

    Thanks a whole lot man I was scared thought something was wrong with my Mac

  • Oliora

    Thank you man! You save the hours of my life!

  • hymns

    you save my time dude

  • Donovan

    you are a life saver, i can now continue updating my angry birds!!!! Thanks so much!!

  • Jereme

    I confirmed that this works on Lion, though there was a variation on the theme. I had disabled spotlight all together. To get past this bug I…

    1. Run the following command in terminal
    sudo mdutil -a -i on

    2. Add Macintosh HD to Spotlight privacy in the System Prefs

    3. Remove Macintosh HD from Spotlight privacy in System Prefs

    4. Go eat a sandwich or watch a movie

    5. Return to computer and restart App Store

    6. Rejoice that updates are pending!

  • Jean

    Had same issue with 10.6.8. Solution 1 worked for me. I am not a computer expert–just Googled the error and found your solution. Thank you SO much. If you had a donation button, I would have used it!!

  • Anita

    Thank you so so much! You’re my new favourite person ;-)

  • ab

    OSX 10.7.2 – solution #2 worked for me and fixed the problem. I didn’t have to delete any apps. Thank you so much!

    PS. Apple, shame on you – since this is a known problem with a known solution you should be the first to offer it, or better yet to fix it.

  • Chris

    Thank you so much – strange problem, usually microsoft like…

  • Mike

    I tried the Spotlight and the Terminal solutions and both did not work unfortunately. I have this app that I NEVER purchased nor even heard of asking to be updated. It’s also asking me to log into an account I’ve never heard of to be able to update an app I’ve never heard of. Anyone? Anyone? Help??

  • Shelton

    I didn’t work for me. The same message pops out every time I update the apps. How sad!

  • Alex

    Genius !!!!!! Worked awesome .

  • Stephane

    Great help! Thanks a lot!

  • Garuda


    I tried the Spotlight and the Terminal solutions and both did not work unfortunately. I have this app that I NEVER purchased nor even heard of asking to be updated. It’s also asking me to log into an account I’ve never heard of to be able to update an app I’ve never heard of. Anyone? Anyone? Help??

    I got the same problem.

  • Peter

    Thanks for the advice. I am a long time Mac User and a supporter of Apple but the App store is complete and utter pants in this respect. More like microsoft in fact! There seems very little attempt on Apples part to fix this. Given that the App store seems to be increasingly the only way to download software, you would have thought they might be a little more interested. Why oh why do they have to link App operation that other clunky bit of Appleland called Spotlight.

  • Paolo

    Thank’you! I had same problem and with your solution1 now it’s all right!

  • Brandon

    I’ve completely turned off my Spotlight in every way possible, and I can’t seem to get it working (and have no real desire to). Does anyone have any information about getting this working without mds (spotlight)? Maybe some sort of mds stub? Anyway it would be much appreciated if you can post any information.

  • Justin Reyes

    Thank you man, worked great for me!

  • Brian

    This solution did not work for me. Here is what did (from a senior support tech at Apple):

    1. Delete iPhoto but do not empty trash yet.
    2. Reboot.
    3. Open App Store (sign in if not already).
    4. Click ‘Install’ from the ‘Purchases’ tab.
    5. Empty trash.

    Hopefully this saves someone some grief. :-)

  • Renso


    This solution did not work for me. Here is what did (from a senior support tech at Apple):
    1. Delete iPhoto but do not empty trash yet.
    2. Reboot.
    3. Open App Store (sign in if not already).
    4. Click ‘Install’ from the ‘Purchases’ tab.
    5. Empty trash.
    Hopefully this saves someone some grief.

    This is bogus! This only works one time! You would have to keep redoing it over and over again. I have a brand new iMac with Lion and its barebones with nothing on it other than MS Office 2011. What gives!

  • Richard

    freakin’ genius!! thank you!

  • BH Lim

    Thanks Bro. work great for me also !!

  • Renso

    This method unfortunately didn’t work either. I don’t know how iPhoto has anything to do with the APP Store in which it’s telling me to update Angry Birds! I don’t even own Angry Birds! These fixes don’t work on a brand new iMac! Apple sucks!



    This solution did not work for me. Here is what did (from a senior support tech at Apple):
    1. Delete iPhoto but do not empty trash yet.
    2. Reboot.
    3. Open App Store (sign in if not already).
    4. Click ‘Install’ from the ‘Purchases’ tab.
    5. Empty trash.
    Hopefully this saves someone some grief.

    This is bogus! This only works one time! You would have to keep redoing it over and over again. I have a brand new iMac with Lion and its barebones with nothing on it other than MS Office 2011. What gives!

  • Dave

    Did not work for me at all. Stil same message (I’m using Lion).



    I haven't even installed Angry Birds… Why does the App Store ask me to update it with a strange and uknown App Store accont?


      I have this exact same problem

  • Renso

    Same issue with me. No one out there seems to have a real fix to this stupid problem. I found so many possible “fixes” online and I have tried them all without any luck. I also use Lion on a brand new iMac. Apple care is also saying that they are going to charge me to fix this issue. How lame is that?!

    I haven’t even installed Angry Birds… Why does the App Store ask me to update it with a strange and uknown App Store accont?

  • Renso

    I have found the SOLUTION! It takes literally less than a minute to complete!

    Here is what I found out:

    -One of my APPs had an attached file in which the “receipt” had Angry Birds attached to its information.
    -It is not tied to any APPs installed onto your Mac from factory at all!
    -It is an APP that you must have installed after the fact.

    Here is what you do:

    1. Go to
    2. Download “Find Any File” APP (Download link on the right side)
    3. Run the APP to search for “_MASReceipt” on your HD
    4. It will find several APPs with this folder in question.
    5. Narrow down all of the APPs that you had installed that might be potentially a “pirated” APP.
    6. Throw the folder and its contents in the Trash can and kiss your problem goodbye!

    If you want to make sure you are deleting the correct file all you have to do is open the file under the “_MASReceipt” in question and search for the words “Angry Birds” (Or whatever the APP in question) and you will find those words in the file. If you don’t then you need to search the other folders.

    Very easy fix and you won’t have to deal with all of the time consuming and tedious processes posted ANYWHERE!

    • Bocaboy

      Worked perfectly! By deleting this file, the Update button changed to Install, which allowed me to complete the update. The credentials dialog box displayed, asking for my password, and the App Store prompted me for my iTunes password as well. Thanks, Renso, for working this out.

    • cilitie

      very useful ,thank you very much!!

    • Sylvain St-Germain

      It seems you just found a way to hack an application… Renaming the _MASReceipt folder seems to have allowed me to install the bundle that had been previously downloaded by another user…

    • Tony Vukosavljevic

      Thanks a lot! This worked instantly!
      Thank you very much! :)

    • suareasy

      thanks a lot! very useful and easy solution!

  • Freeddy

    Thank you so much!

  • Andy

    YES!!! I got the same stupid “answers” from Apple support TWICE. Your solution worked perfectly. I added my HD to the privacy section of Spotlight, closed the window, waited 1 minute, re-opened the spotlight prefs, removed the HD from privacy and it began re-indexing. I didn’t even have to wait for the indexing to finish, it fixed my problem immediately. Can’t believe that 8 months later this bug still exists and that the App Store support people haven’t been told. My problem was probably caused by the fact that I switched to an SSD and turned off spotlight. Even though I had turned spotlight back on a while ago, I had to follow the above fix to get my purchases. THANK YOU!!!

  • Rob

    Worked for me, to update the twitter app on my macbook, Thank you so much !!!!

  • Megan

    #37 worked for me after getting the runaround from Apple support. THANK YOU!

  • parivesh

    wow, that just worked perfect!!! thanks!!!

  • sansookmaui

    So lucky I stumbled on your post. This is the first time in 2 years that Spotlight is working for me!! And I am waiting anxiously for it to finish before checking if it will now allow me to update all the apps that I bought previously without prompting me for another account login.

  • sansookmaui

    It works! The MAS will now allow me to update. A million thanks!

  • Ken

    Worked for me. Thanks so much. Glad I found this post. I also didn’t have to wait for the the index to finish rebuilding… THANK YOU!

  • Chris

    super. Evernote was not syncing as lower version on macbook, loads of stuff to sync, thought I would loose it if had to delete and reinstall – now all fixed that I have reenabled spotlight – you are a star!

  • Me Myself and I

    Thank you for the excellent tip, it worked (even for a different type of problem).

  • Remy


    Dear users,

    Like most of you, the first thing i’ve tried was solution 1. I was glad to see that this worked but the second time i started up the Mac App Store, the update to (in my case: “Nyan Cat: Lost In Space” was there again as an update). So that solution did’t work for me.

    Solution 2 didn’t do it for me either.

    When I saw post #37 by Renso. I thought i’ll give that a shot. I got a list of 15 hits in which all of these app were downloaded from the Mac App Store (and everywhere I searched on the internet for the solution, they were saying that it must to be a pirated app, downloaded by a torrent or some sort.

    Well here is the fact. I had downloaded the app “Worms Special Edition” from the Mac App Store and when i opened the “_MASReceipt” founded by the solution from Renzo. I read in the Receipt that there was a reference to: Nyan Cat: Lost In Space !!!

    When I deleted the whole app of my Mac and fired up the Mac App Store again: The update was gone!!!!

    Thanks to Renzo for the comment at #37.


  • Renso

    You are all very welcome!

  • GuestAndHost

    @Renso comment #37 : Pure genius. Finally after a while (a year or more?), it definitely fix it.

  • matt5hansen

    Genius.  Thanks for solving this nnoying issue.

  • Paul Filion

    +1 thanks man

  • MAnnJD

    Thank you for posting solutions for this annoying problem.  I am new to Apple and really love my MacBook Pro.  However I have tried Nick’s solutions and also Renso’s to no avail.  The Find Any File app just showed up: Angry Birds Rio, Seasons and Space, Garage Band, iMovie and iPhoto all of which I have or bought,  so I don’t see any potentially “pirated” stuff… Very grateful if you can help…

  • Paul

    I have tried the steps for the first solution and the second I didn’t try because I wasn’t sure if it was disabled it was disabled or not. I have two apps that are saying the same thing and would not update and saying that I have another account. Is there something that Im not doing right?

    • Nick

      You should try the second solution anyway. It won’t break anything even if it’s already enabled.

  • Russ

    Another similar situation that can cause the same message is having another OSX boot drive plugged into a USB enclosure.

    During a spindel to SSD hard drive migration I had the old magnetic drive plugged in the USB enclosure to move files/apps over.  When attempting to install/update via the App Store, it sees the other app installs from the other drive and gives the “You have updates available for other accounts” message.

    I ejected the USB enclosed HD, and the “Update” buttons now read “Install”.  Viola.

  • R

    I had this same issue, but doing the spotlight/disk utility fix didn’t help. Called Apple Support and they are going to fix it from their end (something apparently went wrong with my Apple account)

  • Tiho

    This worked for me fine! Thanks

  • Simon Dvorak

    THANKS! Had this problem after installing Mountain Lion today. This solved the problem.

  • Jess

    I see that your post is from 2010? How has this not been fixed yet? Thank you for stepping up!

  • Richard Tilley

    The “account”, to which the message refers, is NOT your APPLEID account.

    [If you used the wrong applid, you would have no apps to update.]

    It is your USERID on your computer.
    I have 2 userids – ADMIN, and PEON which I normally use.

    Some of my apps were purchased with the admin account.

    These showed up as “update” rather than “installed”

    I logged out of peon, and logged in to admin.

    Now most purchased apps showed up as “install”
    [some were “installed” but none were “update”]

    Install all of them, and Bob’s your uncle :-)

  • Richard Montoya

    If you’ve spent countless of hours (like me) searching for the answer/fix to the Twitter app hanging out on your Mac App Store as an “update required”, well there is hope…

    RENSO’s SOLUTION (search several threads below) WORKED!

    Sir (Renso)… Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this information. I have easily spent 4-hours searching for this fix. You are my “Hero of the Week”.

  • jlnelson19

    Same problem here. None of the solutions listed here work. I can’t update any of my apps. Thanks a lot Apple.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you! I bought a used Macbook Pro that had some app updates on it from the previous owner who had since deleted them. After doing a quick search and reading this, I tried it and those updates are now gone! Yay!

  • Jon

    Awesome post, this saved me a lot of time.

  • mraway

    Today‘s 10.8.1 did not solve the problem…plainly stupid…
    C’mon, some one should file this bug to Radar!

  • KP

    Thank you so much – Option 1 worked.

  • Vlad Zima

    THANK YOU! This resolved a problem I had since 2011!

  • jeremy

    I have this problem after I upgraded to osx mountain lion. the program said i would have to change my apple id to an email address so i did now it shows I have two separate apple id’s one is asking me to still download mountain lion. the other is asking me to upgrade it for a mac mini fix. I dont know what to do

  • Erik Ripley

    worked for me, thanks for the tip!

  • gomi_no_sensei

    Thanks a bunch. I would never have guessed this in a million years.

  • 1ike

    Solution 1 works for me. It really saves me and my mountain lion. I thought I had to reinstall the os before.

  • Joe

    I found that I had 2 installed versions of the same app. I had 1 that I installed before the app was available in the app store. Then I bought the app store version thinking it would replace the other. Then it was stuck in a loop.

  • thekuan

    Perfect. Thank you for a simple, plain English fix.

  • Vincent

    Great help~ Thank you!

  • crizzo

    This fix did not initially work for me. But I figured out why and eventually got it to work. The problem was my hard disk crashed, and I had a friend totally re-install the system. In the root directory of the HDD after the install was complete, there was a file “Install OS X Mountain”. Once I deleted this file and re-did the Spotlight index, the fix worked.

  • TeamVeeVee

    Yes, solution 1 did work for me..Solution provided apple support communities did not work!

  • McKamey

    This is excellent. I’ve struggled with this issue for a long time. Thanks!

  • ebeebarnes

    you’re just the greatest guy RENSO

  • Alvaro Cruz

    it worked for me

  • A Mac User

    Thanks muchly. Went through 5 support cases with Apple:
    296933761 (support case)196040205 (itunes store case)298015068 (support case)298053820 (support case)299240183 (support case)and never had a solution.

    This is clearly a bug in the App Store software that should be fixed (and the developer should have his/her butt kicked for not checking and/or reporting errors properly!).

    Since Spotlight won’t search the _entire_ disk (and there’s no way to get it to do so), as a developer I find it completely useless (I use Find Any File and EasyFind) so I had it turned off except for the Mail directory (since it also needs it).

    I know it takes time to research and document bugs and I sincerely appreciate that you’ve done so. Thanks, again.

  • witzawitz

    The first solution works great for me. I’ve recently upgrade my MacBook with new hard drive and installed new MacOS. I’ve connected my old drive a few times to MacBook so App Store gives me the message about different accounts. After Spotlight re-indexing everything works fine.

  • rob tolliver

    This fix worked great, learned something new today. Thanks!

  • Lauren Turis

    shoot so after doing step 1, my spotlight started reindexing and it says it will take TWO DAYS.. I didn’t need these updates that bad thought it would be relatively quick.. Advice???

  • mbar

    This is the answer!! Thank you so much!

  • Nicolas Embleton

    In the end, it’s all related to a “permission” issue. Just run “Fix Permissions” from either Disk Utility or IceCleaner and it’ll be fixed.

  • frontman

    Worked great! Bonus is, I didnt need to wait for it to complete indexing. I have a time of images so looks like it will take a while, but went into Purchases and tried updates… and worked..

  • daaain

    This solution is much quicker than rebuilding Spotlight index: “_MASReceipt is part of the package contents of the application. You can right-click on any application, including those that you purchased from the App Store, and choose to Show Package Contents. Open the Contents folder and you’ll find the _MASReceipt folder. Deleting it for Fantastical solved my problem. Therefore, if you know the applications name that’s causing the problem, close the Mac App Store, right-click on the application icon, e.g., Angry Birds, choose Show Package Contents, expand the Contents folder and delete the one labeled _MASReceipt. When you restart the Mac App Store, the Update button will have changed to Install and you’ll then be able to complete the update.” via

  • Christian Pappenberger

    Thanks…the second solution worked for me :)

  • Jean-Claude Cottier

    Thank you so much, I couldn’t update Xcode 4.5 -> 4.6. Now it works (from solution 2)

  • mauiisl

    “Solution 1″ worked for me.
    MacBook Pro 17
    OS X 10.8.2

  • Jose Virgilio Paras

    Thanks Renso,your solution worked perfectly

  • Mark Hassed

    Thank you so much. Excellent solution to a very annoying problem.

  • Spencer Ingraham

    Thank you so much, this is the first time in a year I’ve seen my apps update!

  • Lucas Harrison

    none of these methods worked for me

  • Max Godz

    didnt work for me :(

  • Brian McGuire

    Thanks for this info, I had some real problems with trying to update apps because I had switched off spotlight ages ago, until I come across this site I really didnt know why updates were knackered..

  • David Bartley

    Thanks! Worked for me. I was too impatient to wait for Spotlight to finish indexing, and it still fixed the problem.

  • Halonk

    Yesss, this one did the trick :-). The horrible “You have updates available for other accounts. To update this application, sign in to the account you used to purchase it.” gone and updates downloading without hitch.
    As I write I can hear the HDD working away. New indexing will probably take a while, but that’s a minor issue compared to the one fixed :-).

    Thank you :-)

  • Craig Cooper

    This page should be permanently linked from Apple’s Support page. I have had to come here twice now, to fix this ridiculous issue. Great work!

  • Dave

    Awesome! I had this issue forever and nothing fixed it, but finally your tip has. Legend.

  • mcauser

    I migrated to a new hdd using carbon copy cloner and received this error when trying to update xcode.
    Solution 1 worked for me.
    I’m running osx 10.7.5 on an old 2007 mac mini.

  • flojo79

    doesn’t work for me… have the exact same issue though!! I tried everything, I’m stuck. good for you guys though.

  • Giuseppe Scialla

    in maverick doesnt work…I’ve just one app :( and i have the other version of same app purchased helpppp

  • Hemn Apple

    ok man thank verry much

  • unixfool

    This fix didn’t help me, but I did scrub a bunch of apps that my daughter installed…after that, this bug was resolved.

  • MontejosMontage

    So annoying. My MacBook Pro was given to me by a family member when they spilled coffee into keyboard. I restored it by letting it sit in rice to dry up. Works fine. Removed his Apple ID but now I get update notifications popping up about an update under his user ID which I don’t have access to. How can I remove the app in question and/or his user info completely from the machine? Thanks!

  • Len Pritchard

    NGP you’re a star – been bugging me for ages and the System Preference method worked first time – thank you!

  • Michael Scott

    “3) A message saying “Indexing enabled.” should appear after a few seconds.”
    Wrong: I get a warning saying “improper use of the sudo command…..etc. To proceed, enter your password, or type Ctrl-C to abort.

    • Nick

      You must be administrator on the machine to perform these actions.

      • Michael Scott

        I was logged on as admin

        • Nick

          Do you have a password on your account? Sounds like your account has no password set to login and thus giving you a warning about being unable to sudo. Set a password first, then try the commands. You may then remove the password again.

          • Michael Scott

            1. It’s my wife’s computer
            2. I was using her login, which, YES, has a login WITH password.
            3. The original “You have updates for other accounts…” warning included the advice to log is as “”.
            4. I deleted the old version of Facetime
            5. Quit iTunes
            6. Shut down the Mac
            7. Rebooted
            8. Logged in as my wife…..using her system admin bootup password
            9. Logged in to Apple ID using my “other” account (which I suspect….but am not positive…was the one I originally may have bought Facetime 1.0.2 with
            10. Went to Facetime 1.0.5 and clicked on BUY
            11. Whaddayaknow……….our “intuitive…….ya, right” little Macbook finally figured out we wanted to update Facetime (although I think we’ve paid for it twice now)…….and let us have it.
            12. It worked!

  • Michael Scott

    Tried it again…… nothing but a stationary cursor. (Curses!)
    Now what?

  • ham

    thank you!!!!!