It’s stuff like this, Steve. Stuff like this.

About a month ago, I used my iPhone to purchase a song from the iTunes store. Or, at least I tried to. My phone refused to download the song.

When I tried to download the song, I got a “Download Error. Tap to retry” error. So I did tap to retry. Same error. Tried again. Same error. In fact, I tried for about a MONTH to download the song, but kept getting the “Download Error. Tap to retry” error each time.

None of this stopped Apple from charging my credit card for the download, though. So bully for them.

The most annoying thing about this problem was that iTunes must have been trying to download the song in the background, because every single time I used my phone it popped up a little dialog box asking for my iTunes password. That’s right – EVERY time I used my phone. Using an app? I get the prompt. Trying to make a call? I got the pop-up box prompt.

I searched online for the solution to this problem, and every solution I found involved connecting my iPhone to my PC, downloading the song using the iTunes software on my computer, then manually transferring the song to my iPhone. First, I’d like to note that this doesn’t “solve” the problem of not being able to download songs to your phone – many people have reported using this method to clear the error, but it never fixes the problem. Second, I never tried it. I don’t connect my phone to my computer all that often, and I just never got around to it.

Anyway, I was able to find a way to “clear” the error without connecting my phone to my computer. The fix, from an Apple forums post that’s now over a year old:

I had this problem as well, however I did find one way to get this to download on my iPhone. What I found that worked was to tap to retry the download and as it’s attempting to download it again I hit the pause button (I had to be quick). Once it was paused I hit the button again to resume the download and it successfully completed. I hope this helps some of you out until Apple fix this bug.

I did this and it worked great – the song “completed” downloading, my phone stopped bothering me with popup windows, and the song is now in my music library.

Pro Tip: Tap the “resume” icon, then just keep tapping your finger.

I don’t know if this “fixed” the problem or just cleared the error. And I doubt I’ll ever find out. From now on, I’ll only be using Amazon for my music downloads. It’s only 99 cents per song, and the songs you download come free from cumbersome DRM copyright management restrictions. Maybe it won’t download directly to my phone, but hey, apparently Apple’s iTunes won’t either.