Unable to Launch SideStore? Try These 5 Easy Fixes! [2024]

Key Takeaways
  • SideStore is a third-party app store for sideloading apps on iOS devices, bypassing Apple’s App Store restrictions.
  • It uses Apple's Developer Enterprise Program to sign and install apps via a temporary VPN, bypassing App Store verification.
  • If SideStore isn't opening, try closing and reopening the app, restarting your device, offloading the app to free up space, ensuring you followed the installation steps correctly, or manually refreshing it.

Apple’s feuds with regulatory bodies over introducing sideloading on its mobile devices are far from over. The company introduced “alternate app marketplaces” in a limited number of countries within the European Union earlier this year. For the average user elsewhere, this means they’ll still be tied to Apple’s own App Store and its ‘gatekeeping’ practices for which the company is notorious.

Fortunately, users outside of the EU could actually sideload apps onto their iOS and iPadOS devices, though at the expense of a bit of security, via SideStore. However, as with most loopholes on Apple devices, they become popular and are soon patched.

This guide will go over the potential reasons why this service may fail to work on your device and the recommended solutions to implement, not just to restore functionality, but also to ensure that your device remains safe.

What is SideStore?

SideStore, as the name suggests, is a third-party, untethered alternate app marketplace or “App Store” that allows you to sideload apps onto your iPhone or iPad. The service essentially allows you to circumvent certain restrictions and app distribution limitations set by Apple’s Developer Program.

SideStore’s Official Website

Contrary to popular opinion, these services are not to be taken with a negative connotation. Sometimes, they include beta versions, tweaked apps, or those that are limited to serving a specific purpose for a very niche audience. The SideStore, in particular, is a fork of the more popular AltStore and is generally preferred by an average user since it saves the hassle of refreshing the app each week via PC.

↪ How Does SideStore Work?

It’s no secret that Apple flaunts its device security and, in fact, uses this as an argument to oppose loosening its restrictions for sideloading. However, iOS’ seedy underbelly, with services like SideStore and AltStore, leverages the company’s policies to bypass App Store’s sideloading restrictions. In fact, part of how SideStore works is linked to Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program.

Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program

This program or its provisioning profile system is meant for developers to test apps. These apps then use a personal developer account to sign and install them on the device using Apple’s official methods.

Apple also uses certain services to verify app authenticity. To bypass these, SideStore uses a temporary third-party VPN to establish an alternate connection to route the installation process for external apps outside the standard App Store’s verification flow.

READ MORE: How to Sideload Apps on Google TV & Android TV ➜

Potential Issues with SideStore

SideStore, with the way it works, isn’t the perfect sideloading solution. It is criticized for a lot of stability issues, mainly due to the way it operates. Most of these issues stem from the need to refresh sideloaded apps weekly.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more common issues assosiated with the service:

  1. Crashes During Weekly App Refresh: SideStore must refresh third-party apps’ signatures with new, valid certificates. Most of the time, however, the service crashes before it can refresh itself. There is a dedicated GitHub discussion forum that addresses this issue.
  2. Can’t Refresh Apps via Shortcuts: The “Refresh all Apps” functionality within the Shortcuts app may sometimes fail to work. This is because the service can’t find a “pairing file” that is to be stored locally on your phone. There is a dedicated GitHub discussion forum that addresses this issue.
  3. Unable to Launch SideStore: The app sometimes crashes after a fresh install before the expiry period ends. This issue is discussed in detail below.

READ MORE: How to Sideload Android Apps on Windows 11? ➜

How to Fix Issues with Launching SideStore?

This section will list all possible steps to take to identify and subsequently resolve the issue with SideStore not launching. Make sure that you proceed stepwise and follow all possible recommendations until the app opens without crashing.

Unable to Launch SideStore Error on iOS

1) Close and Reopen SideStore

If any app on your iPhone is buggy, laggy, unresponsive, or starts crashing altogether, try closing it from your recent apps. In the context of SideStore, particularly if you’ve correctly installed the app and have been using it for a long time, it’s more than likely that the issue lies within your device.

To close any app on your iPhone,

  1. Swipe up to the Home Screen.
  2. From the Home Screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, pausing in the middle this time.
  3. Swipe right or left and find SideStore within your recent apps (even if it crashes, you’ll still see the app in your Recents).
  4. Swipe up on the preview (which most likely would be a blank screen) to close the app.
Close an app on iPhone

2) Restart Your iPhone

If SideStore isn’t responding or fails to open altogether, try restarting your iPhone. This method should be used as a basic troubleshooting step for all issues, as it can sometimes solve issues that are otherwise hard to explain.

To restart your iPhone,

  1. Press and hold either of the two volume buttons on the left side and the power button on the right side.
  2. When the power-off slider appears, release these buttons and drag the slider to the right to power off your device.
  3. If your iPhone is completely unresponsive, force restart it by pressing and releasing the volume up and then volume down buttons, followed by holding the power button on the right side.
  4. To power your device back on, hold the power button on the right side till the Apple logo appears.
Restarting Your iPhone

READ MORE: iPhone Force Restart Not Working? Try These 9 Easy Fixes ➜

Since SideStore is used to sideload apps from within the app, it can easily eat up a huge chunk of your device’s storage—sometimes even more than 10GB. This can reduce the free storage space on your iPhone to the bare minimum. As this happens, the phone will try to compensate and will slow down.

To solve this issue, it’s advisable to offload (not uninstall) SideStore. The reason for doing this is that iOS and iPadOS don’t have a dedicated option to clear app data like Android does. Offloading the app keeps the app data but removes the app itself. You can then reinstall the app, which will be comparatively lighter and consume fewer resources than before.

It is important to note that while this will free up a bit of storage space, you may need to sideload some of the already installed apps again on your device. To offload an app on iOS,

  1. Open your phone’s Settings.
  2. Go to General > iPhone Storage.
  3. Scroll down and tap on SideStore or the app you want to offload (we’ll be using WhatsApp as an example for this guide).
  4. Tap “Offload App.”
Offload an app on iOS

READ MORE: What are Haptics on iPhone? Taptic Engine Explained ➜

4) Check for Proper Installation Procedures

Users who have recently installed SideStore are aware that the service itself has to be sideloaded onto their device via an external PC. The process can be a bit tedious, especially for Windows users, which is why it is possible that the correct installation procedures aren’t followed.

SideStore Installation Guidelines | GitHub

One such error relevant to the situation is that SideStore does not refresh right after installation. While the app does show a 7-day expiry period, a bug causing early expiry will prevent you from opening the app altogether. This happens because SideStore itself is operating on a temporary license certificate that needs to be refreshed periodically.

To fix this, refresh the app immediately after installing SideStore. The developers have mentioned plans for a future update that will automatically update and refresh the app, but this must be done manually for now.

5) Manually Refresh SideStore

If SideStore fails to launch or crashes, the most reliable solution is to refresh the app itself. You will generally find the option to do this within the app. However, for most users, all apps except SideStore refresh normally.

The solution to this issue is to find a newer version of SideStore in the .ipa format. You can usually do this by joining the company’s Discord server. From there, install the IPA file as you would for any other app, and voilà, SideStore will refresh itself.

↪ What if it Doesn’t Work?

In a lot of scenarios, SideStore might fail to update. More often than not, the issue here is tied to the app’s pairing file, which needs to be refreshed.

SideStore’s Refresh Log, Pairing File Failure

To refresh the pairing file:

  1. Open SideStore and go to Settings.
  2. Under the Debug section, look for the option of “Reset pairing file.
  3. Download Jitterbug from GitHub onto your PC.
  4. Connect your iPhone or iPad to the PC and run jitterbug.exe. A prompt will pop up on the phone asking for trust permissions.
  5. Re-run jitterbug.exe, and it will create a new pairing file.

READ MORE: iOS 16 Jailbreak – Current Status & Everything to Know [2024] ➜


SideStore is riddled with all sorts of bugs and glitches, which can start to surface as new versions of iOS or iPadOS are released. Nevertheless, the issues with using it require a bit of technical know-how to troubleshoot. This guide has listed all the necessary steps to be taken to ensure that the issues with the app not launching are identified and subsequently resolved.


Why does SideStore crash when I install an IPA file?

Some users have reported that they’re experiencing frequent crashes when installing a new file. This can mainly be because you’ve reached the expiry period for your apps or have hit the limit for the maximum number of apps that can be installed on your device.

What happens when SideStore fails to update itself?

At times, SideStore will fail to refresh itself and, after the expiry period, will periodically crash. The app signature would’ve expired at that point, and your iPhone won’t allow the app to run from the software side. To bypass this, you’d need to update the app with new digital signatures.

How do you manually update SideStore from within itself?

To update SideStore, you’d need its IPA file, which can be accessed from either the website, or SideStore’s official Discord server.


Muhammad Qasim

Qasim's deep love for technology and gaming drives him to not only stay up-to-date on the latest developments but also to share his informed perspectives with others through his writing. Whether through this or other endeavors, he is committed to sharing his expertise and making a meaningful contribution to the world of tech and gaming.