Life hack

How to disable automatic app updates in android

How to disable automatic app updates in android

  • Play Store has auto-updates on by default
  • It also offers granular control over each app
  • You can turn on auto-updates over mobile data, as well

As the number of apps installed on our phones and tablets continues to grow, it can become quite cumbersome to keep them all up to date. Most times, app developers push out updates for ‘bug fixes’, and that doesn’t really need your attention.

You’ve got better things to do with your life, like spending all the time watching cat videos on YouTube, or binge-watching the next season of your favourite show on Netflix. And there’s this thing called work, too. That’s why on Android, the default instruction for Google Play is to auto-update apps over Wi-Fi networks.

Sometimes though, you don’t want apps to move onto their latest available version, for a number of reasons: it could be a kink that breaks support, or an unfavourable new feature. Unlike the Apple App Store, the Play Store offers much more granular control over what apps are allowed to auto-update, and the ones that aren’t.

How to disable automatic updates for a specific app on Android
If you prefer the ways of auto-update, but would like to prevent certain app(s) from doing so, here are the instructions to disable automatic updates for a specific app:

  1. Open Google Play Store.
  2. Touch the hamburger icon in the top-left, and choose My apps & games. Swipe up to locate the app of your choice.
  3. Alternatively, just hit the search icon, and type in the name of the app.
  4. Once you’re on the app page, hit the three-dot icon in the top-right.
  5. Uncheck Auto-update.

That’s all. From now on, that app won’t update unless you open the Play Store, and instruct it to do so. Other apps will continue to be updated automatically.

How to disable automatic updates for all apps on Android
To stay away from the auto-update feature completely, follow these instructions to disable automatic app updates on Android:

  1. Open Google Play Store.
  2. Touch the hamburger icon in the top-left, swipe up and choose Settings.
  3. Under General, tap Auto-update apps.
  4. Choose the first option: Do not auto-update apps.

Once you do that, not a single app will download and install a newer version unless you explicitly launch Google Play Store and use the Update or Update All option.

If you have an unlimited data plan, you could take automatic updates a step further to enable app updates on cellular data.

How to enable automatic updates on Android
Follow these steps to enable automatic updates on Android:

  1. Open Google Play Store.
  2. Touch the hamburger icon in the top-left, swipe up and choose Settings.
  3. Under General, tap Auto-update apps.
  4. If you want updates over Wi-Fi only, choose the third option: Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.
  5. If you want updates as and when they become available, choose the second option: Auto-update apps at any time.

Remember, as Google informs you with the latter one, app updates will be downloaded over mobile data, which will eat into your cellular plan. Be sure that’s what you want.

Any apps that demand new permissions with their updates will need your permission to update, even if the auto-update option is turned on. That’s a nice touch by Google, as it ensures you know what you’re signing up for, and prevents malicious developers from gaining access to more than what you said yes to in the first place.

Have you faced any problems with automatic app updates on Android? Let us know via the comments below.

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As convenient as it is to have your phone automatically install app updates as they become available, there are some good reasons for wanting to install apps manually. You may want to conserve your data plan usage, for example, or you may simply want to keep tighter control over what gets installed on your Android device. Sometimes the new version of a popular app might be buggy, but there’s no easy way to revert to the old one, for example.

No matter your reasoning, it’s easy enough to toggle this setting and gain more control over the app updating process.

Turn off automatic app updates

Start by opening the Play Store app. Next, tap the slide-out menu button in the upper left corner, as denoted by three horizontal lines, then tap Settings. On the settings screen, tap Auto-update apps.

On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to allow apps to automatically receive updates over Wi-Fi, whether you want to allow apps to update at any time, or whether you want to manually install all updates. For the sake of this how-to, we want to turn off auto-updates altogether, so go ahead and tap “Do not auto-update apps.”

Don’t update those apps!

At this point, the Auto-update apps option picker screen will close, taking you back to the main Google Play Settings screen. Tap your Android device’s back button to return to the Play Store’s home screen (it may be a hardware or onscreen button, depending on your device).

Manually download app updates

To install any app updates. go back to the slide-out menu in the Play Store app, then select My apps from the list. Go to the Installed screen if you aren’t there already, and look for the Updates subheading, which appears when you have apps with available updates.

The “My apps” screen lets you manually update apps on an indivudual basis.

If you want to install updates for all apps, go ahead and tap the green Update all button. If you want to install updates one by one, tap on the app’s name under Updates, then tap the Update button on the next screen that appears. Repeat this process for all apps you want to update.

Nick is a freelance contributor and a former editor for TechHive and PCWorld. He likes puns and the color yellow.