Apple has added a new feature to the App Store which lets you see a list of all the apps you’ve already “purchased,” whether or not they’re currently on your device. Previously you had to go to iTunes on your PC or Mac to see this list. Now you just need to fire up the App Store on your mobile device and click the new “Purchased” tab at the top.
The default view shows all apps you’ve purchased — and don’t let the word “purchase” fool you. This includes any app you’ve ever download from the App Store, including free apps. If the app isn’t currently on your device, you’ll see a little icon with a cloud and a down arrow. You can tap the icon to download the app and install it on your device.
You can also click the “Not on this iPod” (or iPhone or iPad) button to see a list of device that aren’t currently installed.
Apple announced that this functionality would be part of the new iCloud service — but the fact that it’s available today is a bit of a surprise. The full iCloud service with device backup, calendar synchronization, and other features won’t be available until iOS 5.0 is released this fall. But Apple did open the doors to the iTunes in the Cloud portion of the service today, allowing users to backup their music online and synchronize their music between devices.