Aug 2, 2012

iTunes movies and shows failing to download:

As stated in my GetSatisfaction post about iTunes download failures, below is a back-and-forth between myself and a couple of technical support agents at iTunes concerning iTunes continuing to abort movie and TV downloads despite having plenty of bandwidth and storage.

As it turns out, Apple and iTunes knew why I was continuing to be frustrated (for months) with an inability to reliably rent or download movies or shows: they just didn't feel like sharing "why" with their high-volume customers!

I've learned that Apple continues to allow high-volume users like myself to slam right into the same technical support problem-wall: where downloads stop completing as a result of hitting some internal limit of movies and/or TV shows in my download queue.

Those are movies and shows that I don't want to download (I have over 440 shows and movies that I'd rather download ONLY if I want to watch them ever again vs. Apple probably wanting me to pay to hold those downloads in my memory storage instead of entirely available on demand as their "Purchased" button on the iTunes homepage allows) but apparently only iTunes agents have the power to actually delete a download queue, we're not allowed to delete our own!

Here are my most recent emails to-and-from Apple support:

Hello [Apple agent], 

Thank you for your attempts at resolving this matter.  On my side, unfortunately, I've been confounded and for the most part paralyzed by your request that I do the following (the second request):

- your permission to remove all 441 items from your pending downloads
- the order numbers and titles of the items you have been unable to download

To the first request, "yes", you have permission to delete all 441 (I only see "362") items from my download queue.  A point of note that might be interesting for you guys to know: Yesterday night I called in and spent nearly an hour being coached by an agent in Apple Macbook Air support on how to delete my download queue; your agents at Apple aren't aware (he's the second agent I had a similar experience with) that the option to delete a customer queue isn't the option of the customer, that it has to be done by an agent at iTunes.

With respect to the second request however, frankly I was hoping that you at iTunes would be able to at least identify the countless number of aborted and prematurely failed downloads of various media and to refund that.  The idea that I should pour over purchase receipts, and with each piece of media first ask the question: "did it download as it should have?", and then second, assuming I suspect it didn't, I have to thne remember the context in which I purchased the media in order to ascertain whether or not the download did in fact complete.  

That's a sad state of affairs at Apple if my assumptions are in fact correct, and iTunes is burden-shifting a basic reconciliation of iTunes' ability to work to its beleaguered users.

Please let me know if I did read your requests correctly, and I suppose we'll take it from there.



Hi Christian,

My name is [Apple agent], I am a senior advisor for the iTunes Store Customer Support and I have taken over this request to ensure your issue is handled in a timely manner.

To acquaint myself with the situation, I have reviewed all previous correspondences with [other Apple agent], and I understand that Xx_Issue_xX (<-----I THINK APPLE FORGOT TO FILL-IN THIS PART OF THE TEMPLATE!  LOL!). I can certainly appreciate your desire to resolve this issue and I will be more than happy to continue to assist you where [other Apple agent] left off.

First and most importantly, I would like to extend a thank you for your patience and understanding while we try to resolve the issue you have encountered, Christian.

In reviewing your account I noticed that there are 441 items awaiting download. Some of these items date back to 08/07/2009.

On occasion, if there are items that are located in the download queue of an account that have been removed, this can prevent you from downloading your recent purchases. With that said, I would like to have your permission to remove all of the items that are in your pending downloads.

Once I have done this, I will then repost a new copy of the items that you have been having an issue with downloading. In order for me to do this, I will need you to reply back with the following:

- your permission to remove all 441 items from your pending downloads
- the order numbers and titles of the items you have been unable to download

You can find the order numbers on your email receipts or in your Purchase History (this is the best place to look if you do not keep your purchase receipts). iTunes Store order numbers begin with the letter "M". If you need to review your Purchase History, follow the steps in this article:

I look forward to hearing back from you with the requested information. Once I receive your reply I will promptly resume working towards resolving the issue you reported. I will have your request flagged for higher priority over the next few days to ensure I receive any replies from you.

You are a valued iTunes Store customer, I appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter. I wish you the best and hope you have an excellent day, Christian!


[Apple agent]
Senior Advisor
iTunes Store/Mac App Store Customer Support

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

First Name : Christian
Last Name : Hunter
Email :
Lang_Country : en_US
Product : iTunes Store
Support Subject : Connecting & Downloading
Sub Issue : Downloads from iTunes store incomplete or interrupted
GCRM Case ID : 329847164
See additional info below
What device did you use to connect to the store?  Mac computer
Which operating system is installed?  Mac OS X v10.7.x
What version of iTunes is installed on your computer?  iTunes 10.6
Choose the iTunes Store or App Store for your country:  United States
Describe the alert message you received:  "There was a problem downloading "Movie name". An unknown error occurred (-50).    I'm completely fed up with these incessant problems on both my Macbook Air and Pro!  I've had dozens of aborted media downloads that I'd try downloading in multiple media formats (such as SD vs. HD) and am really annoyed that I have to play technician on Apple's cheap quasi-self-help system when I'm buying $4,000+ in media every year, and failing to run it on multiple versions of your own platforms!  What gives?
I spend $4,000+ every year on your media and have for years. I think you should know that I'm completely pissed off and plan on letting others know that Apple can't run their media on their own new platforms.

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