Auto App Updates Are Great. Until They Aren’t.

Sections: Cellphones, Communications, Mobile, Smartphones, Software / Applications

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I love auto app updates. They’re one of my favorite features in Android, and when iOS 7 added them, I was thrilled. I hated the badge count on my App Store app, and now I never see it.

However, until I went away last weekend, I never thought about the downsides. We were staying at a rural inn and had no easy access to WiFi. I’d brought my Walmart hotspot in case we needed a quick check of email. (Before you criticize me for not unplugging, we had an ill family member and needed access to updates on her condition.)

Odd side note. Our iPhones had little to no connection all weekend. My husband’s iPhone 5 had one bar, sometimes, and he forgot to put it in Airplane mode the first night. We woke up to a drained iPhone. The hotspot, though? Great connection the entire time. Go figure.

Anyway, I turned it on the first evening to check email. I have an app that allows me to monitor bandwidth usage, and I was alarmed to watch the megabyte counter at over 20MBs and continuing, after less than 10 minutes of connection (checking only email — okay, and a tiny bit of Facebook). Huh?

I disconnected and connected again at dinner (there was free WiFi in the restaurant), and discovered what had happened. The Android 4.4.2 update had downloaded. (Good thing it was small.)

We spent the rest of the weekend worrying whenever we connected, hoping apps wouldn’t update. It wasn’t until I got home that I thought about turning off auto app update.

In case you’re also wondering about that, here’s how to do it on Android and iOS.

In Android, it’s quite simple. Open the Google Play App. Tap the three dots on the upper right side of the screen to bring up app Settings.

auto app update android
Tap Auto-update apps, and select “Don’t update.”

In iOS, navigate to Settings –> iTunes & App Store

auto app updates ios

Turn off Apps, and you’re set. Just remember to turn them back on when you’re back on your home WiFi.

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