Three ways to reinstall apps on Windows Phone without paying for them again

There might be a situation in which you might have to reinstall apps you’ve already purchased from the Windows Phone Store. Perhaps, you just upgraded to another Window Phone device or you have accidentally deleted an app. You do not have to pay for them again. We’ll show you three ways to reinstall apps or games you've bought without paying for them again.

Reinstall from the Windows Phone Store

The first way to reinstall an app is by simply searching for it at the Windows Phone Store from your device. Don’t worry if there’s a ‘buy’ button. Windows Phone will recognize if you’ve bought it already so you don’t have to pay for it again. After clicking the buy button, you’ll get this message:

You’ve already purchased this app. Would you like to install it again?

We know this could confuse some people, especially new users. We think Microsoft should fix this so that we see “Re-install” instead of “buy” on apps that were already purchased.

Reinstall from your computer

You can reinstall apps from (opens in new tab) on your desktop browser. Sign in and click the ‘Purchase history’ option under the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the screen. Find the app you want to reinstall and click Reinstall.

In order for this to work, your phone must be set up to receive apps from  Go to settings > Find My Phone, and check the box that says “Send apps to phone using push notifications (not SMS)”

Reinstall from App Reinstaller

Another option is to use a third-party application called App Reinstaller. It asks for your Microsoft account, and then lists your download history.

You can select apps one by one or select apps using filters such as full versions, trials, or all. Once your happy with the selection, click the reinstall button. App Reinstaller will open the store for each app you selected. Press the back button after each successful install. App Reinstaller costs 99 cents at the Windows Phone Store.

Which method works best for you? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • Isnt this common sense ?
  • No. And I'll state this again: we don't write just for the hardcore users of Windows Phone but for those looking to get into Windows Phone, have never touched one or just bought a new one. Please think beyond your own knowledge and experience. Thank you.
  • @dan thanks a lot of people assume we all think a like.
    Most of my friends don't even know there is a choice of oss on phone they think you buy galaxy,iPhones whatever
  • It's one reason I started using an iPhone or new Android (Moto X): to understand what it's like to have a new phone and no idea about it.  It's amazing how the refreshes your experience e.g. what is the best twitter app on iOS or Android? How do I sync photos? Even the very basics, like ringers, etc. That same experience transfers over to people who are just getting their first Windows Phone, and we want to be that community for them too. I realize many in audience will roll their eyes. Trust me, it's not easy either to write on such banal topics either, but they're key to growing our community and the Windows Phone base ;)
  • Yep I own an xperia z1s an iPad,and kindle fire hd
    I like to know what I am talking about when people say why do you carry a WP , or why does ios suck , what's wrong with android I can give very valid points no matter what we are discussing.
  • Even a first time user could figure out that you don't have to pay for an app each time you install disrespect, love WPcentral but it's kinda pointless
  • @ pat
    I disagree its simple once you click it , but I think you are given the average user way too much credit
  • I have to disagree with you and agree with Dan on that point.  It's obvious that you SHOULDN'T have to pay for an app again, but threw me off when I saw the "buy" button last time I changed phones.  It's nice to see this pointed out so other can avoid such confusion.
  • Actually its really annoying that I have to pay for all Angry Birds games again because I bought them on my L800 with 7.8 and now I have L925 and when I click reinstall it says its not compatible or something. 
  • Chat with me they will refund you
  • Wrong. I'm on my third, or fourth (I loose count) WP, and that buy button, still gives me pause.
  • I'm in the same boat and it has scared some friends enough to call me and ask if they are going to get charged again.
  • It is very confusing and simply bad design. Not to mention that you might forget you bought some app and it would be nice to know that you already have it when you stumble upon it in the store after couple months.
  • Well, perhaps the project manager for the store will read your article and then decide it's time.  I would like this too. It's just better from a usability standpoint. Sometimes I'm not sure if I purchased an app once before so it would be nice to see that upfront.
  • I disagree that this is a trivial topic.Thanks for the info.Ignore those smart people who think they know everything abt WP.There are a hell lot of hidden things in WP which almost a few people know.These small things matter to me because i keep installing a lot of apps from MyAppFree and until now i tht there was no other way than formatting and restoring ur phone to renistall purchased apps.Actually these little piece of information matter a lot.Thanks again WPcentral!
  • Okeyyy
    Got it :p :)
  • Well, you're not only writing to the windows phone subject either.. Not trying to hate but I would like to have less important app news and PCs separate somehow.
  • Well if you think about with the merge of the stores they are all pretty much the same thing w8,WP rt is dead its WP from here on out
  • I agree with you Daniel sir. WPC helped me alot when I switched from JAVA to WP last year. I learnt many things from the website. Now I am hardcore user and understand the value of these small posts for new users.
  • ANd I appreciate it because had I not searched for how to find all the apps I already bought, I never would have known any of this.  It's the elitist attitude that tore me away from Blackberry and Iphone to come to this platform.  At least on windows phone there aren't people who jump on you if you dislike one little thing about their platform.  Thanks Sir Dan.
  • Mr. Daniel, I am a student and i don't own a credit card, i do have a debit card. Microsoft wallet says i can store debit/credit card information, so when i fill up my debit card information it doesn't accept it, i fail to understand why.  I use the same card for online transactions and orders, it works perfectly fine and i have sufficient funds in my account. If you can guide me through the process of how to use my debit card for buying applications it would be great. Thanks.
  • What u can do also in terms of payment is create a PayPal account and add to your wallet, I'm assuming u r not in the US, hope that helps.
  • The paypal app is not available in my country (India), and i am using an unlocked 720, My carrier doesn't support billing of apps. Any other alternative, i sooo want to buy a few apps, dying to buy Jumpwheel for quite a while.
  • You can simply create PayPal account on PP website. Once it is active you can add it as a payment method and it will be billed automatically as long as there are funds available on the PayPal account. You should be able to have a credit/debit card linked to it (PayPal will make charges on the card) or make a bank transfer to fill up PayPal balance.
  • Don't you have prepaid cards
  • First, we'll need your account # and expiration date. And so I don't have to ask for it later, your ss#. :P
  • You may also be able to use Carrier billing. When you buy an app with Carrier billing, the cost of that app is added to your monthly phone bill. (I'm not sure if this works for pay-as-you-go phones) I'm with TELUS in Canada and Carrier billing was already setup in my phone when I bought it. All I had to do is try to buy an app, and then select TELUS Carrier Billing from the list of payment options. Or just link your bank account to a PayPal account, and then add your PayPal account to your wallet.
  • Dan, being a WP user since WP7 and knowing most of the things I still love posts like these. You should consider writing more of these as I know many users who switch to WP from Android and iOS get confused. Such articles will, for sure, help them enjoy their WP experience.
  • Maybe they could remind every one about the switch from android app.
  • Thanks Daniel because honestly been using WP for awhile now (2+ years) and didn't know about "find my phone" which I simply had never opened yet been frustrated by failure to install apps from PC. Good one.
  • I agree that some people won't know this, especially as the store keeps the button saying 'buy', whereas other stores change to 'install' if you already own it. One thing though, i recently upgraded from a 920 to a 1520, and when i first logged into the phone it just downloaded all the apps I had on my 920, in the same way Win 8.1 and iOS do. Is this new, or has it always done this?
  • New to 8 but it doesn't always reinstall apps
  • As alleged staff for this site, please try to be polite to everyone, even when you disagree with them. BTW, yes it is common sense. This post amounts to the equivalent of telling people how to boil water. At the same time it reenforrces the idea from other quarters that WP users are not as sophisticated as those for other platforms. Oh, it is also a shameless shill for an app. Altogether not exactly something meriting headline coverage.
  • I disagree with you. This post can be quite helpful to a novice user.
  • WRONG,  Mr smartypants, why don't you take your own advice and try being polite. Telling people that because they don't know something they are unsophisticated isn't exactly good manners. Whether you like it or not, it IS confusing when it looks as though you are going to have to pay for an already purchased app. But of course, nothing confuses you!! Aren't you lucky. 
  • They might not have many articles planned for the day .. And hence state some obvious things .... But we still read it even though we know thats the creepy part...
  • Eh, I clicked due to the headline making me think it might have info I didn't know...though technically I thought app reinstaller was dead...but I might be thinking of something similar that I used on wp7.
  • It stopped working when ms did some backend changes at the launch of 8 but it works again
  • No and i work in enterprise IT for many years. The "Buy" button is especially misleading. Also, MS should handle this process better since our devices seem to be backing everything up to the cloud, including "app settings"
  • And even though when you reset a phone it ask if you would like to restore I have found that it simply is buggy as hell at best
  • Common sense or not, this is a good thing. Atleast it syncs well across devices, and you have the peace of mind that you're not going to lose your purchases when you buy that new phone you have an eye out for.
  • People are always confused when they see the buy button when they have purchased an app before and are hesitant to click it again. This is helpful for those, Microsoft needs to update this to not have a buy button when you have purchased it.
  • Hopefully in 8.1 it will say reinstall
  • I hope so
  • I agree this really is common sense. Its just natural that if i want to reinstall an app, i do exactly what i did to install it in the first place..
  • But on all other systems it says purchased etc
  • I would say no to a first time user, first time I went to redownload an app it said buy, I felt daring, clicked buy, then it informed me I already owned it.
  • Hi,   I'm an Android hardcore user trying WP for  the first time.. thx for the much needed tip, although there isn't a known way to purchase apps here in Egypt.
  • Not necessarily. I didn't know about App Reinstaller until I read this article.
  • App Reinstaller doesn't work most of the time tho for me.
  • Try now, update released today.
  • Common sense isn't all that common - to be fair, this could be helpful info to new comers.
  • For the love of God, I wish there was a "sort". Having hundreds of apps to thumb through is time consuming. I know you can switch between paid and another on the commerce section of Outlook, but the WP site doesnt.
  • I would like a grid view option for applications list, along with grouping ala windows 8.1
  • That should be coming in windows phone 8.1
  • Yeah, I can't use the Web version. My purchase history goes back to the launch of WP7 and I have, let's just say, a lot of history of purchases.
  • The Purchase History section on the Windows Phone site is abysmal. They need filters and sorting; and please stop making me click "show more" over and over and over and over.
  • This right there
  • Update App Reinstaller, it has sorting :)
  • I had a purchased teh WPCentral app back in 2010-2011 (Whenever it first came out...:). Last Summer I did a hard reset and was putting my apps back on and when I got to the WPCentral app it made me purchase it again. Althought it was in my purchase history from 2011... I had to contact microsoft about it to fix it. Also had this issue with Angry Birds. Not sure why it happened but thank goodness they showed in purchase history to verify.
  • Yeah, it's a problem with the Store. I had the same issue with Navigon, which is a hella lot more money to worry about. It's a PITA.
  • I have seen instances of people complaining regarding the following : When an app or game gets free and people install it, then once the offer is over, if the app or game is reinstalled the person has to pay for it. Is this true and if yes is there any workaround for this ? I though the article was regarding this matter.
  • That's not true unless the developer takes down the free app and republish an identical but paid app.
  • Illidanx is exactly right.there may be isolated incidents of such problems but it is not a widespread issue,I think. :)
  • I haven't had issues with this. They should try reinstalling from the website to make sure its the same exact app theyre reinstalling..
  • Yeah he's right, you can install it again, no problem. Unless that is a new app republished after taking down the previous one. (updated versions can be installed without paying though)
  • It's not like that. I downloaded Seasons when it was free. Recently I did a hard reset and everything was fine. I had it in my purchase history and I've downloaded it seamlessly, for free even if the offer is now over(It costs about a dollar now).
  • This is not true. If something is free and and you 'buy' it for free, you get a perpetual license. There are errors with this, sometimes related to an app being re-listed, but that's on Microsoft's end. 
  • And when that happens, contacting Microsoft support will get it all resolved for you.  I've had to do this on a couple occasions and they had it sorted out in no time once I showed that I already had the app.
  • Method 1 is the best. You do not need to take some special effort. Search, tap and install. Simple as that.
  • What are the limitations in the trial of app reinstaller??I know of the first 2 ways to download paid apps.i am a hardcore wpuser but never heard about this app reinstaller .
  • Same here. Anyone know of the limits ?
  • Trial version has ads, no other limit.
  • ROFL, just finished reinstalling more than 100 apps on my brand new 925.
  • I saved this to my pocket client for future reference. Thanks.
  • If you turn on App Backup in settings, your currently installed apps should "automagically" be reinstalled once you've signed in again and if your data settings allow it. You could also create a list of your apps on Nokia AppSocial and grab them from there. It would be nice though if the Store on the phone showed an app history, like on the web client
  • That didn't work for me....
  • for me it worked about 10 times, it doesn't work if you downgrade the software
  • Yea, it does work, I just wish it backed up App settings, like game saves and other things for each app...
  • It works sometimes I have yet to get it to work with apps from a restore of a different device say 810/925
  • You may think this is "common sense" until you get 1 star reviews from users for your app, complaining that they needed to re-install and "the app asked them to purchase it again". I'm all in for articles like this!
  • you'll always get 1 star from stupid users, even telling them about this article won't help, they're just too ignorant
  • I just reinstalled all my apps last Friday, because i flashed a finish rom to my 620 , for black, and i just got asked during setup if i wanted to reinstall all the app and it worked perfectly
  • I actually a combination of all methods mentioned but I find the browser method easier
  • I use the first way. Found it out when my first 920 bricked after i tried to reset to factory settings. Looked at an app i used every day and just thought "meh, if i have to pay again then i have to pay again". Thankfully i didn't have to :D
  • Though I learned this on my own a few weeks ago, this is valuable information for even us hardcore people. I've had windows phone since 2011 and I when I saw the "buy" button I was like "Didnt I pay for this already." It may seem stupid to some of you but someone is going to need it one day and it will help them.
  • hey daniel how come have you joined WPCentral in 2006. I mean WMExperts had started in 2009.  Conspiracy Theory may be
  • MAN! I wish you had made this earlier :(. For the first 2 weeks i was basically app-less on my lumia1520, then i succumbed and attempted to buy an app i had already bought, but it came up with the "you've already bought this app" message. I was so happy
  • yeah because you know, having already bought an app, you are prompted with many confirms.... so it's obvious that by clicking only once "buy" you'll get charged 100 licences of that app, I wouldn never try that, NEVER
  • Are there any ways to pay for an app again?
  • no
  • Click buy. If u already bought it it would say u already purchase this download. Done.
  • What about Xbox games? Is there a special way to reinstall them? Or do you go to the Xbox live game store and click on "buy" game? You're right, Microsoft should change "buy" to "reinstall" to make it less confusing.
  • I had an issue with installing apps to my new 925 that I had on my 920 and 810 before it. Something screwy is going on with my account when I log on via my computer... But there was a different way I was able to install apps. I clicked "Reinstall" on my computer and got a message saying I had to reinstall via my Hotmail. So, I checked my messages there, got direct links to the apps in IE on the phone and was able to click "Buy" and not get recharged for those that had a price tag. It was a tad bit time consuming, but at least I got all my apps back.
  • What issue did you have?  I got a 925 this weekend and after I signed in with my Microsoft account it said it would load all my settings, texts, and apps, but it never loaded any of the apps.  All my settings and texts loaded though.  And now, if I go to the store online and click Reinstall in my purchase history I'm told it can't connect to my phone.  I did a hard reset of my 8X about a month ago and all apps redownloaded no problem so I wasn't expecting this!
  • One other way is by QR tags. That's the only way I've been able to reinstall the T-Mobile exclusive free version of Words with Friends.
  • I wish I could reinstall apps that have disappeared from the store. When I got my 1520 I had some apps that I could not reinstall.
  • this is for daniel's first comment... u think after purchasing a wp people would straight head to ie to to read your articles!those who dont know about windows phone would definetely not know about wpcentral!!and even if they really are aware,it would be less than .1%!!if u write for them go ahead and write for those ppl!! correct me if i am wrong guys...why dont u just post an article or conduct a survey asking readers when they first came to know about wpcentral?and do put these two choices.. a)before purchasing wp b)as soon as you purchased
  • Abhishek, with all do respect, you are very wrong. Also, our company (Mobile Nations) knows very well how to cater to SEO and write articles for general audiences, in addition to enthusiast posts. We have studied this topic extensively using site metrics, not bro logic like you're using. For instance, will people know about WPCentral if they just got a new Windows Phone? Maybe. We do have a lot of people who lurk here, reading and researching before committing. We see it all the time. It's the same way when I think about buying a new device, I search around for tips, reviews and how tos. You can even see it in comments with those posting from our Android app. That leads me... Searching. Why does anyone have to know about WPCentral? Let me explain how this "internet" works: people go to Google (or Bing, or Yahoo!) and type in terms on what they are looking for. Some sites sit near the top, while others do not. That is SEO. When someone finds the answer that they are looking for on a site, and they like the content, they may bookmark or at least make a mental note for the next time. I suggest you leave this site's editorial direction and decisions to those with years of experience. Thank you.
  • well the time u dedicate using ur metrics,the same we dedicate reading comments and articles!!and as i said i found few of those ppl posting from android apps but i bet many of them must be having a wp too..well leave all aside coz as u said they lead u,its quite invigorating!!I just sincerely wish ur effort pays...very few can see a gleam of hope amidst darkness..we still have a long way to go..but as they say rome was not build in a day and so wasn't windows!!!
  • I learned about wmexperts way back in the day maybe from crackberry days, webos,or android central mobile nations is well known and no matter what is you use if you like to learn about it you come across these sites and all links always end up back at mobile nations so when you want to give something else a try you go to their sites and learn.
  • you could think about improving your grammar, you write like shit
  • Daniel pls answer this. What if I installed an app when it was free, will I need to buy that app if I uninstalled it before and now I want it back?
  • nopes it wud b free for u alwez
  • I have a few paid apps that show no longer published. What happens now?
  • ask for a refund!!sorry!!!
  • Enjoy them if you still have them installed or contact microsoft chat support and ask for a refund. They normally will do that for you.   I have had to do it a few times when I moved from Windows Phone 7.8 to WIndows Phone a bunch of games and apps I owned would not work on WP 8.... and no, if I can't use it, I SHOULD get a refund for it...
  • Thanks all. I hate that I lost the use of this game. Would be great if I could lift it from my other 920 and install it on my current one.  But oh well.  Again thanks.
  • This is a pain for the WP.  WP store should automatically identify my app purchases and should show me a "install" button. Android and iOS does that already. Hope 8.1 store will be smarter.
  • Yes just a tab un the store for your apps
  • what about an app that's all messed up and needs to be uninstalled? Somehow my Facebook Beta app is stuck updating. It downloads, gets half way through the install phase and reverts back. The uninstall option is greyed out so I can't do that. is there an app or web portal that can uninstall it, or can I do it through the desktop app?
  • Have you tried to reinstall with out uninstalling first?
  • yes, all that does is try to continue the update.
  • I think you will have to reset the phone to factory
  • This worked for the vast majority of my apps when I got my new Icon, unfortunately it has never worked for Cocktail Flow, this is the second phone where I've had to repurchase that app and then contact MS customer service for a refund.  I suppose there are other apps that fall through the cracks as well.
  • Yeah, and for awhile MS made it impossible for third apps to do reinstalls. Still not easy w/o a PC. So grow up.
  • Also when you first set up your phone, it finds your previous phone backups, which backups your apps. :)
  • It's the same way with the XBox 360 - before you can use any of the "free" games included with XBox Live it takes you to a screen to "buy" it for free.  Now you have it on your bought list and if you have to delete a game (or downloaded video) from your hard drive you only need to go back to the my Account section to redownload the game (or you can stream the video).
  • What about free apps with a purchase to remove ads? How does that work?  
  • you get a different license and it is stored in your MS account, when reinstalling you should get the ad-free app automatically
  • Did not see the word "again" at the first place and thought it otherwise :O
  • Well the Problem of the whole app reinstall concept is there is no real offline backup for your software and therefore the settings how you had everything set up and created. and software disappeared from the store can not be reinstalled. Not sure if you can sideload without problems when the xap file already disappeared from the store. I would like to see like a XAP library that checks on the windows phone store and links to this to list all tools and as soon as the link disappeard it has a backup of the link and will provide the information as well as the XAP file. So basically a mirror of the store in case something disappears there or gets updated. Needs to have versioning as well.
  • I found it interesting when I got a new phone that there were a number of apps that didn't reinstall.  One or two of them were still in the store but I guess they had been re-published.  They were free ones at least
  • And how do I reinstall a game I got it in a promotion? I've got Angry Birds for free last year... I think it was in April or May last year when they were offering the game for free (2 weeks promotion). I had problems with Amber firmware and I had to do a hard reset, so all my apps and games were lost... So, no purchase history :) Problem solved :)  Clicking "buy" didn't work but I had the option to reinstall on my Purchase history :)
  • This article is out of date. Going to lands you on a Windows 10 Mobile upgrade page with no drop-downs.