How to fix the Apple ‘a server with the specified hostname’ error

You might not be the only one dealing with this.

iphone 13 specs
Image via Apple

It is rare, but Apple device users can run into widespread issues when it comes to downloading, updating, or using apps if the App Store or some other related server is experiencing an outage. 

And when specifically dealing with the App Store on iPhone or iPad, running into the “a server with the specified hostname could not be found” error message gives you a pretty big clue as to what you are dealing with. 

The specified hostname error does not tie back to one specific app but rather shows that there is a wider problem with the App Store. This means it can appear when you are trying to download or update any software directly from the App Store on any Apple device or macOS. 

The full error message should be something like “Cannot install from App Store. A server with the specified hostname could not be found.”

Occasionally, this can appear as a glitch due to a poor internet connection. But the most likely cause of this error popping up is either Apple’s servers or your internet experiencing widespread outages, which unfortunately means fixes are few and far between. 

Methods to fix the Apple “A server with the specified hostname” error

The first thing you will want to do is check Apple’s system status page, which outlines the areas of Apple’s first-party software, servers, and other offerings that are experiencing outages. You can even click on each service to see a more detailed breakdown as needed. 

If you don’t see anything actively affecting the App Store or whatever program you are having issues with, you should try restarting your device. This might not fix the error, but it will force all of your active and passive apps to close, giving you a chance to see if it was simply a one-time error upon relaunching them. You might also want to update your device if it is running an outdated version of its OS. 

If the device isn’t the problem, make sure your own internet is working as intended and isn’t experiencing any interruptions. 

Outside of these methods, you might just have to wait for Apple to fix the server-side issues and update its users.