Fix iTunes Store -50 Error Issues

Last night, the iTunes Store was down for me for a while. I was in the middle of downloading something (the 8-hour version of Max Richter’s Sleep), and I saw that the downloads had stopped, with one file showing “Processing File.”

I couldn’t access the iTunes Store, Apple Music, or my iCloud email account for about a half hour, and when these services were available again, I found that I couldn’t restart the downloads; that I kept getting a message saying “”There was an error downloading your purchased music. An unknown error (-50) occurred.”

Interestingly, the error wasn’t unknown, and there’s a simple fix for it, but the dialog would be a lot more helpful if it explained what to do, or linked to this Apple support document.

The error was caused, it seems, at least in my case, by a bad download. If the connection times out, and the download hasn’t correctly finished, it gets corrupted. All you need to do is delete any files in the Downloads folder that’s in your iTunes Media folder. If you haven’t set this folder to be on an external drive, it will me here:

  • OS X: ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Downloads (The tilde (~) refers to your Home directory.)
  • Windows Vista: \Users\username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Downloads\
  • Windows 7 and Windows 8: \Users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Downloads\
  • Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Downloads\

Just go to that folder and delete everything it contains. Quit iTunes and relaunch it, and then choose Store > Check for Downloads. Things should work again.