PSA: You Don’t Need to Buy an Expensive iPhone with Fortnite Pre-installed

You Can Still Reinstall It from Your Purchase History
Fortnite Credit: Pryimak Anastasiia / Shutterstock
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By now you’re probably well aware that Apple booted Fortnite out of the App Store last week, following a move by Epic Games that was obviously contrived lawsuit-bait, and with the battle continuing to heat up it seems very unlikely that Fortnite will be making a return to the App Store anytime soon.

To be clear, Apple has offered to welcome Fortnite back with open arms if Epic simply complies with the App Store rules and apologizes for its brazen move — and in fact it keeps pointing out that this whole brouhaha is a problem of Epic’s own making, which, technically speaking, is entirely accurate insofar as it’s true that Epic fired the first shot.

On the other hand, however, Epic claims that there’s a far bigger principle at stake here, and it’s shown absolutely no desire to back down from its fight, having decided that giving up 30% of its in-game currency purchases to Apple (and Google) is just something it’s not going to stand for anymore, and neither should its customers.

So what’s a hardcore Fortnite gamer to do while caught in the middle of this war between these two Goliaths? Well, the good news is that — for now at least — Fortnite will continue running just fine on your iPhone or iPad.

And in fact were it not for the #FreeFortnite campaign being loudly waged within the game world itself, many gamers could probably easily ignore the entire fight, as really very little of the Fortnite experience has changed otherwise.

Of course, if you’re buying a new iPhone, it’s naturally not about to come with Fortnite preinstalled, and since it’s no longer available on the App Store, this has led to some concerns that gamers looking to upgrade their iPhone could be stuck outside the camp. Not surprisingly, it’s also led to a huge land grab on eBay and other auction sites as opportunistic scalpers try to cash in by convincing distraught gamers to spend big money to buy iPhones with Fortnite preinstalled.

While most of the listings have attracted relatively few bids — even those that are starting out at less than a hundred bucks — some sellers seem to believe that they could actually get away with asking for insane starting prices of upwards of $12,000.

Don’t fall for it, as chances are it’s completely unnecessary.

You Can Still Reinstall Fortnite

If you’re concerned that upgrading or restoring your iPhone or iPad may cause you to lose Fortnite, you don’t need to be, since as long as you’ve downloaded and installed the game at any point in the past it will remain in your purchase history, which means you can re-download it at any time, onto any of your compatible devices.

In other words, even if you’re buying a brand new iPhone, you’ll still be able to go into your purchase history and reinstall it from there in the same way as any other app.

If you’re part of a Family Sharing group, you’ll even be able to do this if another member of your family has previously installed Fortnite, so even if your kid brother suddenly wants to get in on the game for the first time, they can simply grab it from your purchase history via Family Sharing.

There’s actually nothing special about this when it comes to Fortnite either — it’s simply how the App Store works. When an app is pulled from sale, whether it’s by Apple or by the developer themselves, it remains available in your purchase history ad infinitum, since of course you did originally “buy” it (even if it’s a free download). It will even be automatically reinstalled when restoring your iPhone from a backup.

In fact, if you’ve been using the App Store for long enough, you can scroll back in your purchase history and find apps that have long been discontinued still sitting there from the earliest days of the App Store — these likely won’t run on modern iOS devices purely due to compatibility issues, but they’re still there and available for download, and if you want to dig out your old original iPhone you can still install them and take them for a spin.

How to Reinstall Fortnite

To be clear, this will only work if Fortnite is actually in your own App Store purchase history, or in the purchase history of one of your other family members, but if so, you can easily reinstall it simply by visiting your purchase history. Here’s how:

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on your image in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Purchased.
  4. If you’re part of a Family Sharing group, you’ll see a list of your family members. Tap My Purchases if you’ve previously downloaded Fortnite using your own account, or the name of the family member who has downloaded it before.
  5. In the search box, simply type in “Fortnite.”
  6. Tap the cloud icon to the right of the app to begin downloading it and installing it on your device.

Once the Fortnite app has been reinstalled from the App Store, you’ll be able to open it and continue the rest of the installation process from there, which is otherwise driven by Epic’s servers and has nothing to do with the App Store.

You still won’t get access to the new season of Fortnite when it arrives next week, as Apple is naturally not allowing Epic Games to push out updates to the app — it remains in exactly the form it was in when Apple pulled it from sale — but at least you’ll be able to play the game as it presently exists for now, and the sneaky in-game purchasing system that started the whole fight in the first place is also still there, meaning you’ll be able to save on Fortnite V Bucks too.

Ironically, Apple’s in-app purchasing option continues to work just fine the app too, and although you’ll be paying full price to use it, this may have its advantages, especially if you’re unwilling or unable to supply Epic Games with your credit card details for direct payment with them.

That said, it’s unclear whether this will continue to be possible if Apple makes good on its threat to terminate Epic Games developer agreement next week, so if you have any devices that you want to get Fortnite back onto, we’d suggest doing it sooner rather than later.

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